My feral kitty (isn't feral anymore), Shorty, loves to sit in front of my gigantic old beast of a laptop for the heat and to keep an eye on my cursor. But when I'm not looking or want to hear music he'll stealthily cross my keyboard to slap down that little arrow or cursor. A decoy keyboard doesn't work even with a heating pad on low under the decoy. Is there a way to just turn off my keyboard without shutting down my computer? If not, why? It seems like it would be such a asset to all laptop users.
Most operating systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) have some means of manually locking the screen. This will engage the screen saver (if you have one set) and require password entry before the system will respond to other inputs.
I don't know a way to make the screen saver ignore keyboard input, but I can't swear there isn't a setting for that -- try looking in the screen saver settings.
An alternative for laptops is that you could set your power management to "do nothing" when the lid is closed, and just close the lid when you walk away. Shorty will still have his warm spot, but the keyboard will be protected.
BabySmash was created to allow a baby to smash away at a keyboard without doing any harm to the computer. It also draws nice patterns to keep baby amused. It may not amuse your cat but it should protect your computer. Have a look at BabySmash.com. Note: this is a Windows solution.
On Linux, Ctrl+Alt+F2 to switch to a text console is pretty bulletproof. Only way back to the VC where you're logged in is Ctrl+Alt+F1 or F7, or alt+←/→.
Or if your cat knows your password and can log in and run
sudo chvt :P
But beware that Ctrl+Alt+Del will trigger a (safe) reboot with no prompt for confirmation, like
shutdown -r now. Alt+SysRQ+B will hard-reboot instantly, but this still works when X is running. You can disable the magic sysrq key with /proc settings. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_SysRq_key. (Many distros configure things so only S, U, and B work (for rebooting when the kernel locks up), disabling the info-dump or kill-all-processes keys.)
You might want to retitle the question to be specific to laptops, because the keyboard I'm currently using is a logitech wireless which has an on/off slider switch. (Like most wireless mice).
- Open up a program like MS Paint.
- Maximize that window to take up the whole screen.
Now those randomly pressed keys will just be ignored. If Shorty uses the track pad to move the cursor-pointer, there is VERY VERY VERY little chance of anything damaging getting clicked (though some abstract art might get drawn).
This answer may be specific to Windows, but the keyboard will have a driver in the Device Manager, probably listed under 'Keyboards', if the device driver registered itself properly. Find the driver and disable it, and the keyboard will no longer work. Of course, the fun part is reenabling it--especially if your screen locks and you have to sign in again (the built-in Windows keyboard can help, unless you have to press CTRL-ALT-Delete to unlock your computer).
Use an external keyboard and disable the one on your laptop.
I haven't tried this solution myself but users on this tomsguide forum post their steps.
Option 1, shoot the cat. Then it won't mess with your keyboard anymore.
A slightly less violent option 2, shoot the keyboard. Then it won't matter as much if the cat plays with it.
A "fine I won't shoot anything" solution, using linux disable the device using xinput Something like
xinput float 10 should do the trick. Of course you need to get the id number of your keyboard, which you can do with
xinput list. And you will want a way to re-enable the keyboard.
See this question for better instructions. https://askubuntu.com/questions/160945/is-there-a-way-to-disable-a-laptops-internal-keyboard
Also, this is why Linux people like Linux. A little tinkering and anything is possible. (and there is less shooting of cats or keyboards)
p.s. Rather you choose to shoot the keyboard or the cat, when using the first two options, make sure to separate them first.
Use an external keyboard. It won't be warm, so the cat isn't as likely to sit on it. If you leave for a longer time, you can simply unplug it. Then cover laptop keyboard with something, as in @Alexandre Aubrey's answer.
An additional benefit - indeed, the reason I do it even though I don't currently have a cat - is that it's a lot easier to work with a full-sized keyboard than a laptop one. And then you can plug a 21" or so display into the laptop's external video port....
You can create an AutoHotKey script to ignore keypresses until you toggle Scroll Lock off for example, or turn on all 3 (Num Lock, Caps Lock, Scroll Lock) if you need extra procattion.
Or just run this script:
up:: down:: left:: right::
You can toggle it off and back on by clicking the H icon in tray, but if you want more convenience, you'll have to look up how to incorporate a check like
#If GetKeyState("ScrollLock", "T") into that.
Cover your keyboard with a thin cutting board, like the one below (sold here among other places).
or use some other form of thin, rigid sheet to cover the keys. Heat will still go through, keys will be protected from being pressed and from fur getting stuck in them.
With windows you have the ability to temporarily disable the keyboard using device manager. There is the option for a on screen keyboard using the accessibility settings that are used for people with disabilities. You type using the mouse. The cat can do back flips on the regular keyboard without messing anything up. When the cat is sleeping elsewhere you can reactivate the keyboard and continue as usual.