A clever use of modern computer software can improve the way cat caretakers look after their cats if they live alone and work. An example of how this can be achieved is demonstrated by Marc who lives in Switzerland.
All you need is a couple of laptop computers and a subscription to Skype. Modern laptops are cheap. You can get a decent computer in one of the most expensive places on earth, London, UK for about £300. And it will be good.
Skype is free subscription software that you can download to your computer from the internet. It allows you to phone locally and internationally for free using your computer and the internet as a connection. It also allows you to see the person you are talking to by using the laptop’s built in webcam, which is situated above the computer’s screen facing the operator.
Marc leaves his computers in various rooms of his home and turned on. He programs Skype to receive phone calls and to turn on when the call is received. When the program is turned on the webcam is activated and it focuses on whatever is in front of it. If one of his cats is there Marc can see her on his computer at work or on his mobile phone if travelling. His cats can also see him. Remember these are video images transmitted live.
Not only can Marc and his cats see each other, he can also talk to them. They can hear his voice. This is reassuring for his cats and Marc. An extremely neat solution.
These are Marc’s words:
“….I have Skype on auto answer at home so when I’m at work I can call in and see what’s going on. I have a couple of laptops in the right spots so I can call into any one and see where they are. This morning I turned my cam on so they could see me, and I un-muted (turned the sound on) and I called Gigi my youngest cat. She was looking at me for ages looking very confused. I took a few screenshots – attached. I look like a bit of a dork 🙂 My older cat Lilly is used to Skype and won’t ever look no matter what.”
Marc goes on to say..
I create a few different Skype profiles and open one on each laptop. So, for example, the laptop in the living room has Skype open as Marc1 (one of my Skype profile usernames) and it is set to automatically answer calls and automatically turn on the webcam. Then I have another laptop in the bedroom with my “MarcBedroom” Skype profile.
So from work I can call “MarcBedroom” and see my bedroom and talk to the cats or just be able to see and hear them or whatever. Usually I mute and close my cam so I am just watching silently but I can turn the volume on my laptop to hear them if I want.
Its quite simple really and works very well. I use it when I go to France or England too – I can totally check in on them and see that they are OK.
When Red used to go out for ages and I left to work before he got home it was great having this system. Sometimes I would be very relieved to see him arrive home on the camera. And now, especially when I am gone a long time, for example after work, I can even call in with my phone and see them on my phone if I am out and about. Pretty simple and easy – anybody can set it up you just need a computer at home with a cam and that’s it.
Has anyone else done something like this and how did it work for you? If you are a concerned cat caretaker and out a lot and have the funding available I would recommend it. I have used Skype myself and it works really well. The service is free so watching your cat at home from work does not cost you anything. Just don’t get caught!