An Alarming Experience

Late last week our neighbours had a burglar alarm installed. Understandable really as they have suffered a burglary in the recent past. We too have had the attentions of a nefarious person twice a couple of years back but on both occasions they failed to get through our door. The door did have to be replaced though for the cosmetic damage caused and I was glad of the insurance I’d taken out with the double-glazing company at £60 per year when we had it fitted around 10 years back – the replacement cost would have been over £1200!

Today I heard the alarm go off at 10:35 in the morning – just after my normal morning conference call. A quick check revealed nothing untoward going on and I thought no more about it. Then at 14:35 the alarm went off again. Another check revealed that there was nothing suspicious. 15:35 and once more the alarm clamoured for attention! You may notice a pattern emerging here? At this point I asked Alasdair if the alarm had gone off during lunchtime when I was out. Yes it had though he hadn’t noted the time and wasn’t sure if it had gone off once or twice. So something was setting it off and the evidence suggested that it was something inside the house.

Not having my neighbour’s number I called the company that had installed the alarm and told them my story. They agreed that it was most odd and couldn’t understand what could be setting it off at such regular intervals. They were adamant that it couldn’t be a fault with the actual alarm and as someone with years of experience as a telephone engineer I had to agree with them. My money was on some sort of electrical interference. The nice lady on their reception promised to call my neighbour and tell him about the issue. Just about the time when the next alarm would have occurred he arrived home and ten minutes later was on my doorstep apologising for the inconvenience.

I would have lost my bet regards electrical interference – My neighbour’s cats were the problem! When the alarm was fitted, the installation was tested with the cats present and adjusted so they wouldn’t cause it to go off. There were no problems at all over the weekend when my neighbours were around. So now it raises a question… what is it that the cats do once an hour on the 35th minute that they don’t do when their owners are there? Answers on a postcard please 🙂

ps – the engineers will be visiting to readjust the alarm tomorrow.



  1. They must be climbing where they should be climbing 🙂

    • Yes Colline – I suspect they have a patrol that they only do when left to their own devices which includes climbing a high piece of furniture 🙂

  2. Martin, I wouldn’t have a clue!

  3. That is a great story. I only hope the solution appears, and soon.

  4. A feline mystery! When you find out, let us know….I’m curious as a cat!

    • I don’t think we will know the full story Elisa as it seems that the cats have a different routine when their owners are out. But it seems one of them was getting close enough to a passive infra-red sensor to set off the alarm. They’re usually set near the ceiling of a room so climbing a high piece of furniture seems the most likely answer.

  5. how intriguing! I had no idea cats could be so regular in their activities … and no idea a cat could trigger a burglar alarm!

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