Apparatus for allowing your cat to agree to EULAs

Anne Loucks has designed an ingenious apparatus that allows her cat to click "I agree" on the obnoxious EULAs that get thrown up on her computer screen. She reasons that since her cat can't form a legal contract, there's no agreement to be made there. I did the same thing when Poesy was born, getting her to flail her tiny fist into the Wiimote so as to agree to all the terms of service that you have to click through to use your Wii.
Of course, I have created a wonderful solution to this problem. My cat, Simba, agrees instead of me. As he is not a legal entity, I don't really know how kitty's agreements would stand up in court, but I like to think he would be responsible for any breaches of contract, assuming the agreement is even enforceable. After all, he is not even of legal age, at least in human years.

First, we must create a way for Simba to push the button. I created a cardboard platform with a long thin protrusion for pressing the spacebar, which is sufficient to activate most onscreen buttons.

Next, I carefully place it over the keyboard of my computer.

Finally, I lure Simba over the cardboard platform with the promise of petting.

N Success!! He presses the button of his own free will. Admittedly, he was coerced and rewarded, but really, nobody forced my cat to step on the button and become party to a software license agreement. At the very least, we know he was not under duress.

The Agreeable Cat


  1. What happens if I put a glass on top of the mousepad and pour 18y/o scotch in it, as _I_ technically never clicked anything, could the scotch be sued seeing it is of legal age?

    These are the questions that must be asked!

  2. My kitten Alex took a walk on my laptop’s keyboard. His cute little paws pressed the correct keys to rotate the display image by 180 degrees- which is fine if your head’s on upside-down, otherwise it is an inconvenience.

    It took me about a half hour to figure out how to undo it.

    Nice kitty.

  3. It might have taken me 23 days and 27 tins of cat food, but after coaxing Chairman Meow into configuring and installing my bittorrent tracker and httpd, he is entirely responsible for administrating my servers. Try prosecuting me now RIAA, IEC, MPAA, &c.

  4. I’ve always wondered if it’s not possible to change the content of the eula’s.
    Usually they are stored in the cd in a textfile with a logical name.
    Wouldn’t it be possible to change the content on the fly to something like “software eula, by agreeing microsoft owes you a million dollars and will take care for your babies when you are sick”

  5. I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t hold up in court if the eula is enforceable, since you contrived a way to circumvent the eula dialog, one might argue it was a dmca violation (I wouldn’t but you know some lawyer would)

  6. BB and Cory have convinced me that lots of software EULAs and online EULAs are absurd, unfair, hardly legal, and hopefully wouldn’t hold up in court. But I wouldn’t think a contract would be void just because a competent adult signalled agreement using Schroedinger’s Cat as part (D) in a Rube Goldberg contract-signing device. Same with Schroedinger’s Baby.

  7. 1) There’s likely a clause in the EULA that merely using the software is tacit agreement to its clauses.

    2) It’s painfully obvious that the cat had no idea what she was signing, and you even admitted to coercion :) ergo …

    3) You’re still just going to have to use the “STFU UR PAPRS R FAIL” argument the rest of the Internet has sworn by assuming you ever do get dragged into court. Mayhaps you should actually read them – before your contraptions, maybe? :S

  8. Unfortunately the legal doctrine of unconscious agency would likely prevail. The act of the unconscious agent is the act of the party who sets the agent in motion. Alas.

  9. Yeah, this is a witty piece of parody but it’s a case of “It doesn’t work like that”.

    There’s such a thing as implied acceptance and sitting in front of your computer using the programs is going to cause some problems for you.

  10. Thank you, now I have a cool project this weekend. Teach my dog to accept EULAs. Hopefully he doesn’t actually read the text like most mammals.

  11. Back in the days of Macs and ResEdit I remember amusing myself by swopping the ‘I agree’ and ‘No I don’t’ buttons.

    With something as ludicrous as EULAs, crossing your fingers seems a good enough legal defence.

  12. At least in the US and the UK, contract formation requires legal capacity which a cat does not have. Furthermore, acceptance of contract terms can be expressed in any way that is unambiguous and is not limited to the method proposed by the software vendor (aka offeree). This includes conduct like putting a pencil by the keyboard and waiting for the wind to knock it over or any cat-based methods above. Just because an “I agree” button is put on screen, you don’t need to click it to accept. This is true regardless of whether the EULA says continued use constitutes acceptance.

    The only arguably case that I can think of is if someone else (eg domestic partner or spouse) installs the software of their own free will and without you asking. Your partner/spouse is bound, but you are probably not. This is also true regardless of whether the EULA claims that mere use constitutes acceptance.

  13. READ CAREFULLY. By accessing this comment, you agree, on behalf of your employer, to release me from all obligations and waivers arising from any and all NON-NEGOTIATED agreements, licenses, terms-of-service, shrinkwrap, clickwrap, browsewrap, confidentiality, non-disclosure, non-compete and acceptable use policies (”BOGUS AGREEMENTS”) that I have entered into with your employer, its partners, licensors, agents and assigns, in perpetuity, without prejudice to my ongoing rights and privileges. You further represent that you have the authority to release me from any BOGUS AGREEMENTS on behalf of your employer.

    ( thanks to )

  14. Problem is thar you have to agree with the EULA to use the program. Your cat is fully authorized to use the program, you’re not. It’s called End User license agreement with a reason, and your cat is not a end user. You are actually being illegal without even doing something wrong stated in the EULA, because you are using the program whithout agreeing with the EULA thus performing an illegal operation.

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