I'll start by saying that my wife and I are the "owners" (slaves might be more like it) of one cat, but we have two cats living in our house, and have had since March of this year. That's because my sister-in-law is also a cat-owner, but encountered profound medical problems in March that did not allow her to care for her cat. So we acquired a long-term guest cat. Ours is an upper-middle-aged male named Tybalt:
|Yes, Tybalt's name was stolen from Shakespeare.|
|Meet Eleanor, or Ellie as her friends call her. No idea where that name came from.|
Cats have individual bathroom habits and practices, and when Ellie arrived, we found that her litterbox style differed substantially from Tybalt's. Ellie is quite energetic and enthusiastic about burying her waste. Indeed, she buries it so wholeheartedly that the litter tends to be launched from the box. She's a thrower. At first, I attempted to mitigate this tendency by spreading newspapers under her box. It quickly became clear that, in order to be effective, this approach would require half the room to be carpeted in newspaper: unsatisfactory. So I put on my engineer hat and dreamed up a solution: the Litter Retention Superstructure, or LRS. Here we see the prototype. As you can tell, I'm a better engineer than I am a craftsman. Most things that I build look as though they were constructed by unusually-clumsy orcs.
|LRS prototype, as implemented by the Fighting Uruk-Hai.|
|Hey, Grizhnak made himself a cat's-paw stencil! Cute.|
Actually, two engineering lessons are available:
- Never assume that your customer wants a particular design feature just because it seems desirable to you.
- Sometimes, you have to incorporate a feature in order to discover what its true function really is. Solzhenitsyn said, "Things know their place;" I will venture to add, "things know their function, too."