Friday, June 24, 2011

Cats and Kindles: A Hairy Situation

by Sara N.

This is not a recommended Kindle holder.
Here at Stellar Four, we've brought a number of important matters to your attention. We've discussed the male-centric atmosphere of science fiction, sexist authors, pointless squabbling about the geek girl community, idiocy about YA fiction and a transferring of the male gaze to a female audience.

But today, I bring you perhaps the most perplexing problem we have ever tackled: How to keep cat hair out of the rim of your Kindle.

You see, the Kindle is an impressive product. I've had mine for about a month, and it still delights and entrances me when I pick it up. (Hands-free reading! Hundreds of books at my fingertips! Text to speech! Changing font sizes!) But man, I cannot keep cat hair from getting caught in the miniscule space between the rim and the screen. Observe:

Fur, not fear, is the mind killer.
Does the cat hair keep me from being able to read? No. But man, is it annoying! It's just hanging out there, marring the otherwise pristine reading surface.

"But Sara," you say. "How hard can it be to get a few strands of cat fur out of the frame? You're getting upset over nothing!"

You'd think that, but let me walk you through the cat hair removal process:

You start by trying to blow on it to dislodge the stray fur. That never works. Then you try to grab it between your fingers, but you can't get a hold of it. Next, you gingerly try to slide it out with your finger, as lightly as possible so you don't smudge the screen. Then when that doesn't work, you give up worrying about smudges and press harder, but that still doesn't work.

So you mutter and you curse and you haul yourself up off the couch to get a specialty tool that's been precision-engineered for the job: any piece of paper. Yes, sliding a piece of paper between the screen and the frame usually dislodges the offending cat hair.

So, OK, it's an easy fix. But now that I have an e-reader, I no longer need to use slips of paper as bookmarks. How ironic that I still need to keep them on hand to de-fur my Kindle!

Archie: found en route to the gym.  Zoe: found near my husband's office.

The main problem, of course, is that many, many readers have cats. In fact, I have a theory that once you reach a certain threshold of books ordered on Amazon, their crack Feline Delivery Team releases a stray cat near your home or work, guaranteeing you'll take pity on the kitty and adopt her. My husband and I have ordered so much and so often from Amazon that we've taken in two stray cats that we found on the road over the last few years. (Good work, Amazon Feline Delivery Team!) Cats and books, man. They go together. But cats and Kindles? Not with all the fur they throw off, especially in the hot summer months.

I'm not giving up my cats, of course. But I'm not willing to give up my Kindle, either. I guess my reading experience will just be a little hairy from here on out.

P.S. Cat haters: I'm betting dog fur is just as bad. Plus, every house has a little detritus floating around. Does anyone else have trouble keeping their Kindle debris-free?
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  1. Get one of the covers, they tend to keep random detritus off the screen, and the built in light makes reading in bed much easier.

  2. We've got a cover that helps but doesn't eliminate the problem. I just prefer a naked Kindle! So light, so sleek.

  3. Maybe you need a naked cat, instead?

  4. A big, fluffy blush makeup brush will sweep them out of the way and not look silly hanging out in a special cup next to the couch.

  5. I love that idea! However, my cats stalk makeup brushes as if they were especially delicious prey, so the special cup would instead have to be a secure drawer.

    And Laurie, naked cats give me the wiggins.