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Buttonstc's avatar

Can the static electricity generated by my cat kill my new LCD TV screen ?

Asked by Buttonstc (27557points) October 24th, 2011 from iPhone

A friend of mine was warning me about not allowing my cat to repeatedly brush against my TV screen because the static electricity she generates could short out the LCD screen.

I know that it’s necessary to discharge excess static prior to working on the insides of a computer or risk serious damage to it. But I’ve never heard that about LCD monitors or TV screens.

I tried Google to see what that would produce and aside from one humorous blog post about cats, LCDs, reading glasses and winter, didn’t see anything else of significance.

But perhaps I’m using the wrong search terms.

Where is this idea of his coming from ? There must be some foundation to it, right?

I know I can count on the Fluther techies to set me straight. How much am I risking serious damage from Smoochie hanging around the TV? She’s used to even sleeping right on the former old analog TV occupying that spot atop the dresser so she’s quite attracted to that area. It’s her window shopping spot as well.

How freaked out about this should I be ? Please set me straight, oh Jelly Techs. Thanks.

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11 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Wow…I have no idea, but, I am interested.

I can’t believe that a cat could short circuit a TV, but, the truth is stranger than fiction sometimes. lol

Maybe try snopes.com

WestRiverrat's avatar

If your TV is properly grounded I don’t see the cat’s static as a problem. In fact many screens have a degause button, some drop the button and do the degause automatically to safely discharge the static the screen builds up by itself.

Buttonstc's avatar

Thanks, WRR

How do I determine if it does/does not have the auto degause ?

How do I determine if it’s sufficiently grounded. It’s currently plugged into a power strip which (presumably) protects it from power surges but not sure to what degree.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I think a cat could not generate enough static electricity to effect your LCD. What of people with carpet? It is not like the circuitry in an LCD is as sensitive as the circuity of a motherboard or CPU. I am sure the voltage in a LCD TV is much higher and the casing absorbs a lot.

Buttonstc's avatar

@HC

That’s kind of what I thought but when I questioned him further about it, he just sounded so sure about it. He’s a pretty sensible, smart guy and I’ve benefitted from his advice on numerous issues.

This one has me really puzzled.

Buttonstc's avatar

@Coloma

Nothing on Snopes using search terms like cats, LCD TV, static etc.

But all that means is that there are no false urban myths in circulation related to those terms. If it’s true, however…..?

But I did learn that it’s extremely unwise to be talking on one’s cell while pumping gas…....for realz :)

Raven_Rising's avatar

I find it hard to believe that the static electricity/cat combination would affect your LCD like that. However, I just sent your question to my favorite electrician/science expert/computer geek for a definitive answer :)

jerv's avatar

Do you still have the case on it, or did you remove the housing to leave the bare circuitry exposed?

While ESD (Electro-Static Discharge) can kill an unprotected microchip, the ESD-sensitive components of a TV are pretty well protected, at least from that sort of thing. The worst that a little cat static will do is make the TV attract a little more dust, if even that.

There is so little power involved that the surge protector won’t care, nor does it need to. Yes, static is high voltage, but the amperage involved is somewhere between miniscule and negligible as is, and outright irrelevant if you have a three-prong cord and properly grounded outlets.

As for the gas thing, regular gasoline requires a pretty high concentration of vapors to become dangerous. Also, static electricity is more dangerous than cellphones at a gas station. What do you think your spark plugs are? They take electricity to make a spark to ignite fuel vapors. That said, there is nothing on a cellphone that can really make a spark… but dragging your butt across a car seat can charge you up enough to make one!

Buttonstc's avatar

Yes, the case is on it. I’ve done nothing to modify the TV at all.

I have absolutely no idea from whence my friend got this idea but he is firmly convinced of it.

But if it were that easy I’m thinking there would have been other incidents on record since there are people with far more cats than I whose felines delight in crawling all over their computer setups.

Try to convince a cat not to….

Ha ha and good luck with that one. Smoochie is annoyed enough that I’ve eliminated one of her principal napping spots (right on top of the old analog, nice and warm)

She’s not going to easily surrender her picture window next to it as well.

That window is HER personal TV (featuring birds, squirrels, assorted wildlife, etc.)

:D

jerv's avatar

We have windowsills. Our cats couldn’t care less about our flatscreen TV.

Buttonstc's avatar

Unfortunately the sill on this window is blocked by the AC window unit. So the TV sits on the top of the dresser with the window at right angles right next to it.

To get to see out the window, she hops onto the dresser and past the TV to reach her vantage point.

With the old TV. she just sat or lay on top of it. Apparently not enough room on the narrower LCD. So she’s peeved to begin with :)

Imagine me trying to keep her off or away from the area altogether ? As if…...

:D

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