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Sneak attack from feline friend wipes US government server with cat-astrophic impact — human technician cat-egorically denies involvement

Working from home has its perils, but spare a thought for a technician at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri, whose cat allegedly deleted an entire server cluster – leading to a four-hour outage last month.

The outage apparently happened while the technician was reviewing how a server cluster was configured, according to the Register.

What they assumed was their feline friend turned foe, leaping onto the keyboard – unprompted – and accidentally wiping out the server, according to the agency’s CIO, Kurt DelBene, telling participants in a video conferencing call.

Shroedinger’s cat-astrophe

“This is why I have a dog,” DelBene, who is also assistant secretary for information and technology, was reported as saying.

There hasn’t yet been any official confirmation that a cat, indeed, had caused the outage – but the government did confirm an outage had happened.

“On September 13, 2023 the Kansas City VAMC [Veterans Affairs Medical Center] experienced an issue with image transfer within Vista due to an inadvertent deletion of server profiles,” the agency said, according to the publication. 

“The issue was quickly identified and the system restored within four hours. There have been no further issues or direct impacts to veterans from this incident.”

When the Register pushed back, asking the Department of Veteran Affairs’ press secretary to confirm whether or not the cat was involved, they declined to comment. 

While this is certainly a bizarre outage, the technician in question will, hopefully, get some respite from knowing he’s not alone. 

This isn’t the first cat-related IT incident, after all, and is simply the latest in a string of bizarre outages recorded over the years. Level 3 Communications, for example, once attributed 17% of its fiber cuts to squirrels.   

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