08 January 2009

Harnessing Our Domesticated Energy Resources

As rank-and-file Americans confront the worsening realities of a global economic crisis, it behooves us to think creatively in order to find solutions for our daily needs. Every household wants to save money on energy — yet how many of us have thought about harnessing our housecats?

“Properly stroked, even a very young kitten can generate enough static electricity to light up a single-Watt bulb for 20 seconds,” Dr. Morris Chaton, of the Finick Institute, told me. “We estimate that a herd of 300 cats or more, per household, could reduce monthly energy bills by up to $10. In today’s economy, that’s real savings.”

Additional measures, such as wearing wool sweaters, can yield even better results, Dr. Chaton said. Angering a cat, so that its fur stands on end and it makes those electrical “ffft-ffft” noises, can also produce energy.

“For generations, housecats have been considered inefficient energy sources,” Prof. Tybalt Katzenberg said last month, in an interview at Grimalkin University. “However, that’s primarily because the old-fashioned methods — throwing a cat or two in the fireplace and lighting them — were inherently inefficient. At best, a cat might burn for a couple of hours, and you’d end up with a little tallow, suitable for a few candles. And in the end, you’d have to generate another cat-source.”

“That may have been good enough for our ancestors, but it won’t meet the energy needs of modern America,” agreed Felix Carrabas, president of Pussipower, a start-up energy firm. “But a cat’s static electricity is a constantly renewable resource. So before you set fire to your cat, try petting it. You’ll be glad you did.”

NOTE: This blog entry is dedicated to Mittens, whose new-found habit of rubbing up against my laptop threatens a short-circuit that will wipe out not only my laptop but most of the power grid for the Eastern Seaboard.

4 comments:

Girl From Texas said...

those cats are cute - but not as cute as phoebe !

William V. Madison said...

Interested readers will want to know that the Phoebe in question is not a housecat but a poodle -- that is, a cat in a severe identity crisis.

Jennifer in Raleigh said...

I think that a household of 300 cats might incur financial obligations far outweighing any potential savings on an electric bill. Just think of the cost of litter! Of course, if you also had a poodle or two around, (no offense Phoebe) you might be able to skip the litter. I have had enough poodles and cats in my lifetime to be able to say this with much assurance.

William V. Madison said...

And presumably this is what puts the "poo" in "poodle"? Honestly, I'm not sure I want to know any more.