Pets destroying electronic gadgets

By Elisa Black-Taylor

“The dog ate my homework” was a frequent excuse students told teachers back in the day before cell phones, iPads and computers became the norm. Now electronic gadgets are being destroyed by pets, and this all comes at a price. Both in vet bills as well as replacing what curious cats and dogs manage to tear up.

Cats destroying electronic gadgets

According to insurance provider SquareTrade, pets are damaging more than eight million tech devices each year, with a cost of three billion dollars. To make matters worst, most warranties don’t cover physical damage done by your furry friend. So if you have a mischief seeking pet, be sure to look for an extended warranty that covers your electronic device.

This doesn’t take into account vet visits caused when a pet decides to eat the chargers, electrical cords and batteries powering these devices. Cords can cause electric shocks, and batteries can burn the mouth and stomach. The number of deaths caused when a curious pet tangles with what the pet considers a toy is on the increase.

As for your cell phones and computers, remember it only takes a bit of saliva to ruin your device. Pet hair is also a problem with many of today’s necessary gadgets. I read one report recently that suggests cleaning out your keyboards at least once every six weeks if you have a pet. Hair can build up and ruin a computer fan.

There are quite a few videos available on YouTube that show how to clean your electronics. There are also a lot of videos showing the damage a pet can do to a device.

Does your cat like to stay close to you when you’re online on your computer? This can spell disaster if you have a drink sitting nearby. Countless computers (especially laptops) have been ruined by cats knocking over a nearby beverage, where the majority of it ends up seeping down between the keys. NOT a good combination!

Here are some suggestions for keeping your pet safe:

  • Have real toys on hand so pets aren’t as tempted to go after your electronics
  • Warn people who visit your home to keep their cell phones where a pet won’t be tempted
  • Exercise your dog-a tired dog isn’t as likely to get into trouble
  • Always be aware of where drinks are and whether your pet could cause a liquid accident

Many manufacturers of electronic gadgets are working on ways to make their merchandise more pet proof. Cell phone makers are making scratch resistant screens, and some are using a Kevlar backing or making their phones water resistant.

Have any of you had a problem with your cat or dog being responsible for an accident involving your favorite gadget? My personal experience is having to clean under the keyboard of my laptop and to blow dust away from the cooling fan. It’s not difficult to do at home (away from your cats), but if you don’t feel at ease doing this, have a computer shop perform this maintenance.


Facebook Discussion


Pets destroying electronic gadgets — 10 Comments

  1. Jasper, Mandy and Sammy were our very first rescue back in November 2010. They loved laying on the computer. All the cats are too big now to do that. I keep it out of their reach.

  2. This is our FIV+ boy Brinkley. At 16 pounds, he’s our largest cat. Who decided one night to jump on top of the DVD player. Guess what happens when a 16 pound cat jumps on top of a DVD player? It breaks the laser inside it and you have to trash it and get another one!

  3. I am going to buck the trend and state that my cat has never damaged a gadget of mine. Yes, hairs are a feature of my computer. I am constantly brushing them off. But that is it and I love to have Charlie (a popular cat name that my mother gave him), next to me, near the computer when I work in bed. Actually he tends to want to lie where the computer goes so there is competition.

    I think I have been lucky. That stated I don’t really have many electronic gadgets. I am a bit old fashioned that way.

    • Yes, you are a very cute kitty in this picture and the computer you are sitting on is going bonkers trying to figure out which button is being pressed. I love you though…your godfather.

  4. Thank you Marc! I didn’t realize the powering on situation. Which proves my point that I should never get off the computer 🙂 One of my friends told me the mistake a lot of people make is powering on a device to see if a spill ruined it. That you should get everything dry before turning it on. OK lets see more kitty on the keyboard photos.

  5. Welcome to my situation. Mine sit on my laptops and knock drinks over – the lot. There is cat hair in the keys. I once bought a computer from a guy on Craigslist and I took out the keyboard and found tons of hair under it and sent him an email asking him if he had cat and he replied he did. The hairs get everywhere.

    My cats have not yet destroyed their Samsung Galaxy Note tablet which I got them – and they attack that thing like there’s not tomorrow so it’s pretty sturdy I think. Actually they have glass screens so cat claws can’t damage them. It’s more if they drop it on a hard surface that it’s bad. Shocks also deplete battery capacity and magnetic strength – thereby rendering your phone or pad/tablet with short battery life and weak reception and general slowness. Now that we have solid state hard drives our data is much safer. However it is not 100% safe because although you can drop them etc – like a USB key, what kills them is powering them on. Everytime you power up solid state memory it kills it a little bit. After the 10,000th time or whatever it won’t work anymore. On is fine, off is fine, but the moment where the power initially activates the chip is what causes it a tiny bit of damage each time. In other words it’s pet free damage 🙂 – unless of course your cat or dog chews your microSD card or USB Key. Laptops are getrting more liquid proof. IF you spill on your laptop power it off immediately – pull out the power cord and flip it upside down so gravity doesn’t send the liquid down furthers and then soak it out with toilet paper and then afterward blow very hard in all the seams and points where liquid could enter and it should be fine. Nowadays they glaze entire circuit boards so they are kind of waterproof anyway. A bigger problem can be sugar which renders everything sticky once dry – you actually have to wash it away with water and then dry that after.

    May the statistics of pets destroying gadgets have gone up simply because there are so many more gadgets. Or at least more portable gadgets. Here is a picture of My Gigi in Canada years ago lying between me and my laptop 🙂

  6. My laptop survived numerous cat sittings on its closed cover.Computers are quite sturdy but get damaged easily in the presence of moisture or water.Ultimately my cat didn’t ruin my laptop but a error in cleaning the keyboard with a moist cloth resulted in permanent damage.Luckily my laptop had served its “Electronic life-span” having been in my service for almost 7 years and hence i didn’t feel the monetary pinch and have now switched over to a “Office Desktop” computer.This computer is sturdy and of a different design and till date my cats have avoided sitting on the keyboard since its a different image compared to the laptop.
    My housekeepers cell-phone got destroyed due to my cat urinating on it.
    Yes, pets can destroy expensive electronic equipment and hence be careful as to the location of storing your expensive electronic items in the house. Keep it away from the reach of your pets.

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