Dear Lifehacker, I have a couple of pets, and it seems like they're always chewing on my cables, the dog's fur gets in my computer case, and the cat's always scratching my brand new office chair. Is there anything I can do to protect my gadgets? Sincerely, Muttley Crüe
Dear BM, We're no strangers to the perils of pet ownership. Like tiny, hairy children with teeth, pets are capable of destroying your expensive gadgets in a matter of seconds. While you can buy all sorts of expensive pet-proofing gear at the pet shop, most of it can be made on your own. Here are a few tips to keep your stuff safe and save some money.
Protect Your Cables and Chargers
Any owner of a new puppy or kitten knows that the first thing they usually go for is cables. For whatever reason, young animals tend to love to chew on cables. That not only means they might end up electrocuting themselves, but they're destroying your gadgets in the process.
Unfortunately, the solution to stopping your animals from chewing on cords is a bit of trial and error. All animals are different, so it's best to just try a few cheap solutions. One trick is to wrap the cords in cheap split loom tubing so they can't get to it. Since it's not as thin and small, some animals may not find it as fun to eat through.
Otherwise, you can try covering your cables in something gross tasting for a couple of weeks until your pets quit trying to kill themselves. Suggestions include hot sauce, deodorant or vinegar. Basically, cover your cables in a nasty-tasting liquid for a couple of weeks until the animal gets used to not chewing on it. Over the years, I've had mixed results with each of the above methods depending on the animal, and while there's no magic-bullet solution, one is bound to work.
Get Hair Out of Your Gadgets
The grossest part about pet ownership is the amount of hair that accumulates over time. This is multiplied tenfold in warmer weather, and it seems like a nonstop war.
Unless you want to shave your pet, there's not much you can do to prevent hair from getting into your gadgets, so you want to come up with a cleaning schedule to make sure computers, game consoles and anything else with an open case and fan doesn't get ruined. Personally, I sweep, mop, dust and attempt to collect pet hair around my gadgets about once a week.
Brushing your pet's hair often is helpful too, and keeping a lint roller around will at least keep things from getting out of hand. Otherwise, it's all about vacuuming or sweeping up that hair as often as you can.
Likewise, you want to clean out the inside of your computer as well. Canned air is the usual go-to solution. If you have hairy animals, it's good to use it every six months to a year. Otherwise, the inside of your gadgets will be incredibly gross and might prevent your hardware from working.
Keep Pets Off Desks
Finally, you're going to want to keep your pets off any desks, counters or anywhere else you're keeping your tech. This is easy with dogs, but cats are a different story.
The most common method to keep animals off your stuff is with double-sided tape. Simply put, cats (and dogs for that matter) don't like getting their paws stuck on things, so if you cover your desk corners, couches or anywhere else with double-sided tape, they won't want to scratch it or sit on it. It's annoying for you a while, but it's about training them not to be interested so you don't need to do it for long. It also happens to be the only trick that's ever actually worked for the pets I've had.
It's not a fun process guarding your gadgets from you pets, but it's doable. It's also not hard, and when you're done with the initial setup, you'll be good to go for a long time.
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