Kevin M Lawson

Technology and Nonsense

Category: Experiments

Automated Undercover Mouse Postmortem

Last year I automated a cat toy and attached a Fitbit to my pudgy housecat in order to see if I could lower her weight. Eventually that cat did slim down to a normal weight, but it was ultimately due to low-tech methods; we got a new cat to chase her around and changed her […]

How Much Exercise Does an Indoor Cat Get?: Week Six

I now understand why Snickers loves this toy so much and yet this love fails to translate into higher activity numbers: Laziness. Zip Speaking of laziness, I grew tired of having to track down the cat, remove her collar, un-tape the Fitbit Classic tracker, charge it for a few hours, and repeat the process in reverse […]

How Much Exercise Does an Indoor Cat Get?: Week Five

So, did the ridiculously elaborate automated Undercover Mouse setup that I built produce measurable results? Nope.     Observations: Weekend warrior: Snickers racked up 7,739 “steps” on Saturday, crushing her previous record of 5,477. Interestingly, Jennie and I were asleep or out of the house during most of Saturday, so it is possible that Snickers may play […]

How Much Exercise Does an Indoor Cat Get?: Week Four

Heh. Cat videos: the currency of the Internet. Anyway…     Notes: I topped off the battery on Tuesday (1 Jan, 9:30-10:30 P.M.) after seeing a low battery warning. I must have failed to properly seat the tracker on the charger during the normal Monday charge window. Undercover Mouse: How Is That Going? Anecdotally: Awesome. […]

Can You Light a Blowtorch with a Wimshurst Machine?


How Much Exercise Does an Indoor Cat Get?: Week Three

This is the boring/awesome engineering post.  But first, data:     Observations: Sunday (30 Dec) was Snickers’ most active day yet, with 5477 “steps.” Not much to report this week, data-wise. Notes: Mondays remain the charge-the-Fitbit day, usually from 7 or 8 until 10 P.M. Modifying An Undercover Mouse As I said last week, I would […]

How Much Exercise Does an Indoor Cat Get?: Week Two

   Another week of baseline data and the first tests of a new toy.     Observations: Several people who looked at last week’s data have pointed out that Snickers seems to go nuts from about midnight to 3 A.M. The same pattern continues this week. This definitely matches up with our anecdotal experience. Thursday’s […]

How Much Exercise Does an Indoor Cat Get?: Week One

It has been one week since I attached a Fitbit tracker to my cat. Let’s look at the data.     A few observations: Looking at the daily breakdowns, the general pattern would best be described as: “Sleep for an hour or two, goof off for a bit, repeat.” Sounds about right. Some cats can […]

How Much Exercise Does an Indoor Cat Get?

I’ve been wearing a Fitbit Tracker for about two and a half years now. Recently I replaced my original “Classic” tracker with a newer model, which has freed up the old one for use in answering a question I’ve had from day one: What would happen if I attached this to a cat? How much […]