We've now got four cats and two turtles in the house. One of the cats is merely on loan, as we're caring for him as his human works out some housing woes, but he counts in this scenario. See, although I feel privileged to care for these fine creatures and receive their trust and affection in return (well, at least in the case of the cats - the turtles are cute but skeptical of our motives), I've always thought it would be nice to get something more... tangibly rewarding out of the deal, just to make up for all the kibble, litter, electricity and various filter parts they consume. Is that so wrong?
Nobody's up for acting or modeling, so that's right out. Maya, our queen bitch cat, did have her own advice column for a while, but that was non-profit and is on hiatus. I've come up with a few ideas here or there, but making them wear Swiffer skirts seems too labour-intensive and possibly death-defying to bother (not to mention they don't ever cover the same range as a Roomba - we'd have narrow dust-free tracks between the beds, litter trays and food bowls), and a lot of people seemed grossed out by my proposal for cat-fur clothing (which - don't most of us cat caretakers end up in veritable sweaters of it, anyway?). Besides, 1.) where do you buy a spinning wheel nowadays? And 2.) I got beat to the punch.
Well, I think I might have the answer. It turns out that San Francisco, that shining hippie haven, is actually planning an experiment to harvest local pet poo in order to generate electricity.
It's actually not a bad idea: many farms use methane digesters to process manure into energy and compost, and think how much unrefined shit gets dropped on city streets or into landfills via pooper-scooper laws and cat litter cleaning each day. If they can find a cost-effective, environmentally friendly way to use this natural resource to help power the grid, I'm all for it. But, most importantly, and I think what all of us are wondering here, is, what's in it for Da Nator?
Well, I'll tell you. If someone can just devise a methane digester the size of, say, your average ottoman, I could transform our daily scooping chores into pure power. Maybe not an amount sufficient to sell back to ConEd, or anything, but I bet I could get at least enough juice out of these animals to recharge our iPods once in awhile. I even have a name for the product: Felectricity™. Now, if only I knew something about basic science, construction and patents, I'd be all set.
And they say Edison was a genius.