Video: Shock Free! How to Avoid Static Shocks When Petting Your Cat
April 24, 2020
Petting your cat is one of the most common causes of static shocks in everyday life. In this video, we tell you why static is a problem and give you pointers on how to pet your cat without you or Kitty getting zapped by a nasty static shock.
Why do you get a shock from petting your cat?
When she rolls on the sofa, why does her hair stand on end?
Cat fur is highly susceptible to static electricity. Meaning, it’s easily charged. Any material that’s easily charged will transfer the charge to you. When two objects rub against each other, the outer electrons form an attachment, called an electrostatic bond. When they separate, friction strips electrons from one leaving it positively charged and leaves in excess on the other, creating a negative charge. This triboelectric–or static–charge is what causes Kitty’s hair to stand up. When you pet her, the charge transfers from her fur to your hand, or vice-versa. Though comparatively infinitesimal, this discharge is like a bolt of lightning. That’s a static shock.
So what can you do about it?
As we know, static is worse in cold weather or dry climates. That’s because dry air is an insulator. Insulators prevent the flow of electricity. When the air is dry, a static charge on your body–or your cats–has nowhere to go. It stays on the surface until you touch something. Then zap. You hear the sizzle and feel the annoying or painful static shock.
Water conducts electricity. In humid weather, the moisture absorbs electrical charges, including static and allows them to flow or dissipate through the air. To prevent static shocks you could squirt your cat with a water spray… Kidding! I’m kidding! We would never suggest that but if you have a humidifier, use it to put moisture in the air.
You could also rub moisturizing lotion onto your hands. Or run your hands under water. The moisture will neutralize static on your hands and her fur, preventing shocks.
After playing with your cat try to get in the habit of touching nearby objects with the side of your hand as opposed to your fingertips. With its larger contact area and relatively few nerve endings, a discharge from the side of your hand is barely noticeable.
Whatever you do, on a dry day do not comb your hair and then touch Kitty’s nose…or you’ll both be sorry.
StaticWorx produces static-control flooring products that protect sensitive electronic components from harm caused by electrostatic discharge ESD.
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