Hello Houston, We Have a Cat Problem
“Starlink is designed and tested to handle a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions including snow, hail, sleet, heavy rain, and extreme heat. Starlink is not designed to handle hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, meteors, dinosaurs, or other extreme forces of nature.”From Starlink website, describing conditions that may interfere with customers unable to receive high-speed, low-latency broadband internet via their company supplied satellite dish.
Starlink is a division of SpaceX, two companies founded by Elon Musk. Starlink’s mission is to provide internet service to underserved communities, mainly in rural and remote regions. To accomplish this, SpaceX launches rockets into space loaded with Starlink mini-satellites that are arrayed around the earth in low orbit. Customers purchase small receiving dishes to acquire the signals from those satellites.
Aaron Taylor lives in rural Bashaw, Alberta, Canada and has a Starlink dish. Located between Calgary and Edmonton, Taylor sees plenty of snow each winter. He recently tweeted that the “equipment works great,” except…
As noted above, the company warns their patrons that there are some risks to obtaining a useable signal, including dinosaurs. That’s important for Taylor, who lives in one of the most dinosaur rich fossil sites in the world. If there’s some Jurassic Park mad scientist out there looking to bring back a Tyrannosaurus Rex or Velociraptor, Alberta is the place to go and make that happen.
What Starlink didn’t mention; cats.
“Starlink also has the ability to melt snow!”From Starlink website, description of how their satellite dish performs in snowy conditions.
To melt snow, you need heat. With average January temperatures ranging from 25° Fahrenheit during the day and 3° at night, the heater in the dish is going to be on quite a bit. So, if you’re an outdoor cat, the satellite dish is a very attractive place to go to, and that’s what Taylor discovered when his signal wasn’t as strong as it should be.
Taylor’s cats turned his dish into a kitty community center, taking up almost the entire surface area of the unit.
“This is what surprises me the most,” Taylor later tweeted. “They have a heated cat house, with water and food, but -25°C (-13°F) and they decide to sit on the Starlink dish. When the sun goes down, they head back to their house.”
The cats took advantage of Taylor’s dish being at ground level, so he plans to raise it to a higher location. Of course, cats know how to climb and it remains to be seen if the boosting of the satellite equipment will solve the cat problem.
I mentioned this situation to our do-nothing cat, Chester, who gave it some thought.
“This guy Taylor should buy a second Starlink dish for the cats’ house,” Chester postulated. “That way they’ll keep warm without interfering with his signal, and they get their own internet. It’s a win, win result. I bet those Canuck kitties would love that. “
“And my fellow furry friends could order anything they want from Amazon or watch their favorite cat shows,” Chester said excitedly, as if he had just discovered electricity.
“How nice of you to tell other people how they should spend their money,” I retorted.
“It’s either that or the cats find their way into this guy’s home and sneak onto his computer to order the dish thing themselves. And so long as it’s not my money, I’ll suggest as I please,” Chester countered.
“Don’t you think they would have done that already,” I stupidly asked.
“They will, after he moves the dish thing to a higher spot,” Chester wisely responded.
I started to worry about my cognitive thinking as I was being out reasoned by a cat, so I steered the conversation to a more technical nature, just to get back on top of our discussion.
“If you’re wondering, Taylor uses a Cat 5 ethernet connection. If the cats get their own dish for their house, should they do the same,” I asked, expecting a blank stare from the tabby.
“First of all, that’s the best name for a product ever. Second, a Cat 5 cable is more than sufficient since it can handle up to 1000 Mbps and Starlink is only providing download speeds of 84.55 Mbps in Canada according to speedtest.net, which I peruse on occasion,” Chester said in the most scholarly manner. “Of course, those speeds should improve but not anywhere close to 1000 Mbps.”
Now I almost coughed up a fur ball at Chester’s mic drop of a summation to my question.
“That was my thought too,” I said weakly, hoping no one was secretly recording our conversation.
“Good talk,” I said.
“My pleasure,” Chester replied in earnest. “And if you need any help researching streaming services, I’ve been reading up on that as well,” my Elon Musk of a cat concluded as he walked out of the room with his tail straight up and purring.
O Canada, O Cat Comeback
Speaking about cats of the Great White North, a two-year-old tabby ran away from her home back in 2010, only to be reunited with her owner almost 12 years later.
So, it was story time again for Chester.
“You ready for another good tale from Canada,” I asked our cat.
“Let’s hear it,” Chester said.
“There is a woman named Christine De Castro, who was living at the time just outside of Toronto in 2009 and adopted a one-year-old cat she named Loli,” I began, sounding more like I was reading a bed time story to one of my daughters.
“A year later, Loli decided to explore the outside world and didn’t come back home,” I continued.
“Sounds like Loli had one heck of a Rumspringa,” Chester said.
“Where did you learn that word,” I asked.
“All cats do the Rumspringa gig, some last longer than others,” Chester began. “Loli took hers to an extreme length of time. As for where I ‘learned’ the term, it’s a cat phrase. For us, it means going on the prowl and sowing your kibble, so to speak. The Amish took the word from us and never gave us credit.”
“And did you Rumspringa,” I asked.
“Of course,” Chester replied in a scornful manner. “Didn’t you hear what I just said, all cats Rumspringa.”
“I’m afraid to ask, but I will,” I said in trepidation. “What did you do during your Rumspringa?”
“For Cats, the first rule of Rumspringa is: don’t talk about Rumspringa,” Chester lectured me.
“Come on, tell me,” I begged, sounding like a child on the playground waiting for some juicy gossip. “Besides, you’re stuck in this house and I’m not telling any other cats, so your secret is safe with me.”
“Okay, okay, I’ll tell you,” Chester responded, more like a parent than our pet cat
“I was pretty young, so I didn’t do the sowing your kibble part,” Chester said woefully. “But I did that burglary in Catskill, New York, that landed me eight months in the big cat house. Then I wound up in New Haven and was in pretty bad shape thanks to a synthetic catnip binge I went on. Next thing you know, I’m in the Mew Haven Cat Cafe biding my time until a human came in that I sensed was worth going home with. That’s where I met your daughter Lily and sold her on being my owner, hook, line and sinker.”
“That’s an interesting story, except I know all that. There’s nothing else you did during your Rumspringa,” I asked, hoping to get something new out of our suddenly reticent cat.
“I was only a kit looking for trouble, that’s all,” Chester said forlornly. “I just got out of my kitten year. What type of salacious garbage are you looking for anyway,” Chester now said in a raised voice.
I felt like my mother had caught me with porn.
“Sorry,” I said in a soft voice. “You want me to continue with the story about Loli?”
“Sure,” Chester said apathetically.
Clearly, I had steered story time into a wall and now needed to do some damage control.
“So, De Castro couldn’t find Loli and gave up looking for her and moved out of the Toronto area,” I said, refocusing on the Canadian kitty.
“Let me guess,” Chester said with a sneer. “She moved to the North Pole and became one of Santa’s sex slave elves and adopted a reindeer for a pet.”
“No, she went to the North Pole and had a Rumspringa with Santa and Mrs. Claus,” I said sarcastically, waiting to see if Chester would take the bait or just leave.
“I get it, that was a joke, right,” Chester stated as he began to lick one of his paws with the claw extended. A clear signal for me to keep to the facts.
“The lady relocated to the Kitchner/Waterloo area, about 50 miles away from where she previously lived,” I said, keeping my eye on the paw with the extended claw. But Chester had made his point and retracted his instrument of destruction.
“And guess what happened,” I asked my perturbed cat.
“The De Castro lady had Santa’s love child,” Chester shot back, pleased with his quick wit.
“Touché, I said in deference to my snappy tabby; though I had lost control of the situation, but continued on.
“No, twelve years later she got a phone call on New Year’s Day from an animal services organization near Toronto saying they found Loli,” I said excitedly, hoping to bring Chester around from his displeasure about my probing about his Rumspringa youth. “The animal service people knew it was Loli from the microchip she has.
“You know you have a microchip in you as well.”
“Does that mean I can run away too,” Chester asked.
“No, you’re too scared to venture out in the world,” I said.
“While Loli was away, De Castro added two dogs and a cat to her home,” I added.
“How did Loli react to those other pets,” Chester asked.
“For now, Loli is being kept away from them until she settles in,” I answered.
“Is there a picture of Loli since her return” Chester asked. “I’m curious how she held up over the years.”
I showed the Connecticut cat a photo of the Canadian cat.
“Wow,” Chester exclaimed. “She looks like her Rumspringa was hard core. Look at the gray on her sour puss.”
“And,” Chester followed up.
“And what” I countered.
“And what happened during Loli’s 12-year Rumspringa,” Chester said, now sounding like me when I asked him for more details about his youthful Odessey.
“That’s it. Happy ending. End of story,” I said.
“That’s it,” Chester yelled.
“No titillating details of debauchery? No juicy gossip that Loli had an affair with Kesha’s cat, Mr. Peeps? How can you say ‘end of story’, there’s got to be more to it than, ‘that’s it,” Chester cried in dismay.
“What type of salacious garbage are you looking for anyway,” I asked.
I repeated the question.
“You want to go on a Rumspringa again,” I inquired.
“Not now, I’m sleepy,” said the tired tabby.
“That’s it. Happy ending. End of story,” I concluded.