Here’s a question: Can you chew through a 240 volt lead with the power on and get away with it?

It would seem the answer is yes… but I would venture to suggest that this answer is only correct if you have a properly set up fuse-box with a full set of circuit breakers and earth leakage protectors installed. We all know the rule about respecting live power lines of every kind: Messing with 240 volts can be a fatal game.

The situation with this chewed lead story arose when we recently had a pet cat hospitalised overnight at the clinic with an intravenous drip line in and an infusion pump running. Tiger (the cat) was tucked in comfortably for the night and feeling too miserable to do anything other than just rest up and take it steady – no problems – business as usual. It wasn’t till first thing next morning when a full set of the power circuits dropped out in the treatment area of the clinic that we had to track down where the fault had occurred.

It is sometimes said that “curiosity killed the cat” and this little fellow must have been looking to see if there was any truth in that. Tiger had cheered up so much with his overnight infusion treatment that just kipping out quietly was no longer an adequate way for him to greet the new day. Everyone was very surprised indeed when the exposed copper that had caused the black-out was located just a bit way along the power flex to Tiger’s infusion pump. The flex was in fact holding together just by the outer insulation with the rest chewed right through.

The little monkey must have reached right out through the narrow grill of his treatment cage door, located the cord leading to his infusion pump, hauled it right in and then gnawed on it a bit for something to do. And there he was, large as life – absolutely none the worse for wear despite what could have been a very shocking experience. In thirty years I have never had that happen before at the clinic.

The moral of the story is: Check your fuse box at home now – today. While you might not have somebody at your home with an infusion pump hooked up right now, you will nevertheless still probably have a whole range of other electric appliances with live power on throughout your home. Those circuit breakers work good! Well, ours did anyway. There is young Tiger still with a full set of nine lives up his sleeve to prove it.