206

This is a common scenario when typing:

When the family assembled for Sunday dinner,
With their minds made up that they wouldn't get thinner
On Argentine joint, potato^DR&FTGYB`kuhadrggoy867rt98wouth4bfgdhjlkhdsfghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhf

This happens because my cat likes to sit on my keyboard. Is there any way to prevent this from happening? I enjoy my cat's company while working, so would rather not shut him out.

13 Answers 13

237
+550

enter image description here

Place a box near your keyboard that is the right size for the cat to sit in. If possible, place it on something warm.

Cats like two things: warmth and security. It likes being on your keyboard because it's warm. Provided a warm and secure place to sit and it'll prefer that.

  • 43
    I suppose you have a laptop. Because my keyboard usually isn't warm... – Alex Oct 6 '15 at 17:00
  • 30
    @Alex It would be warm if your cat was sitting on it! – David Richerby Oct 6 '15 at 20:27
  • 23
    @DavidRicherby O rly? I also would have a cat if I had a cat. – Alex Oct 6 '15 at 20:29
  • 13
    @Alex Well, that explains why your keyboard isn't warm! *rimshot* – David Richerby Oct 6 '15 at 21:04
  • 22
    I couldn't have made this post without a picture of a cat fitting perfectly in a teacup/box/shoes with the caption "If I fits, I sits". Tom, I Applaud you for resisting that temptation. – Sidney Oct 6 '15 at 21:41
92

This happens because my cat likes to sit on my keyboard. Is there any way to prevent this from happening? I enjoy my cat's company while working, so would rather not shut him out.

Since this is Lifehacks, I figure it's fine to offer an alternative solution:

Install a cat typing detector on your computer.

This is software that detects when the keyboard is being operated in a non-humanlike manner (presumably, e.g. with clusters of nearby keys being pressed simultaneously), and locks the keyboard when that happens.

                                    PawSense screenshot
                                    (Source)

Some can also be configured to emit a loud noise when they detect a cat on the keyboard, hopefully annoying the cat enough to keep them away even if you're not around to move them off. Or you can disable that feature and just let your cat lounge on your keyboard as much as she likes, secure in the knowledge that it won't harm your computer (except maybe by getting the fans full of cat hair, but that'll happen anyway).

The one I've personally used, and can testify to the effectiveness of, is PawSense, which the screenshot above comes from. Alas, it's Windows-only, and somewhat pricey too, but my parents own a license and have been quite satisfied with it. And it's even won an IgNobel prize! ;-)

Apparently, there's a program called CatNip that does the same for OS X. Alas, I'm not yet aware of equivalent software for Linux. Apparently, in this particular respect, open source is (so far) inferior! ;-)

Ps. See also this related question on Super User.

  • 41
    First I thought that cat detecting program was a joke. :) – Mike Oct 7 '15 at 17:12
  • 16
    Skype actually detects cat-like typing and displays an icon when it is seen. – Dewi Morgan Oct 9 '15 at 7:18
  • 2
    Or you could just, you know... lock you computer? – mathgenius Nov 9 '16 at 6:48
82

I remember this from /r/funny a while back - a decoy keyboard!

Kitty Fooled!

enter image description here

  • 2
    I've heard this actually works too! I have a friend who swears by it – DLeh Oct 7 '15 at 20:09
  • 25
    But you seem to have a decoy keyboard for yourself as well. Why not use the laptop keyboard? – Arturo Torres Sánchez Oct 7 '15 at 20:23
  • 9
    @ArturoTorresSánchez Because, as far as keyboards go, laptop keyboards tend to be somewhere in the 'acceptable' to 'godawful' range. You can buy significantly better ones (with more sensible layouts, not constrained by the tiny laptop surface area) starting at $30. – Cubic Oct 7 '15 at 21:22
  • 12
    Wants an app to detect which keyboard the cat is on, deactivating that one and enabling the other. Or for N cats, N+1 keyboards... – Dronz Oct 8 '15 at 18:29
  • 10
    @Dronz That only works when N is a finite cardinal. Otherwise you get hilberts hotel for cats. – PyRulez Oct 9 '15 at 1:01
40

Animals need boundaries. The only way to prevent that from happening is to set boundaries with him.

If he steps on the keyboard, remove him from the desk and place him on the ground. You will need to REPEATEDLY do this EVERY TIME. He will very quickly learn that as soon as he steps on the keyboard, that means he is going to be removed from the desk.

It may take him 30 minutes of continually doing this, it may take 2 hours of continually doing this, but as long as you are consistent, he will learn quickly.

This method I am providing you is a common way to train both dogs and cats. You need to stay firm with your boundaries and do not alter them.

For instance, if one day you feel that him stepping on your keyboard does not bother you, and you do not take action and place him on the ground, you will now need to RETEACH him the whole process and spend another 2 hours doing so.

I hope this helps and good luck!

  • 35
    Needs more lifehackiness – Sterno Oct 6 '15 at 15:46
  • 41
    I can just imagine the cat instead learning that it will be touched whenever it steps on the keyboard. So when the cat wants to be touched... – Justin Oct 6 '15 at 18:56
  • 14
    This strikes me as using dog training techniques on a cat. Consider that cats also train humans, as per Justin's comment. This "may take 2 hours of continually doing this" because the cat wants 2 hours of your attention and touch. After that, cat is not so much trained, as bored and has found something it wants to do more. – Dronz Oct 8 '15 at 18:27
  • 3
    @Dronz I consider it a mutual training. My cat has me trained so that I give him attention when he tries to get on the keyboard. I have him trained that to get that attention, he will be relocated to my lap - repeatably trying to get on the keyboard means he is moved to the floor, which is an unhappier state than the lap - so he tends to stay on my lap. However, I've noticed that becomes much more difficult if he starts trying to catch my mouse moving across the screen - (since he's not looking for attention anymore) – DoubleDouble Oct 8 '15 at 20:10
  • 5
    I'm on year 2 of this method. It's not working. – Pharap Jun 22 '16 at 21:41
13

The floating judgement box should work - I guess you could double decoy by putting an old keyboard in the box. Got to be irresistible to any cat ;)

enter image description here

10

Providing something that the cat prefers is the only way to solve this problem. My experience is that cats need a boundary that fits them. For example, my cat will sit on my keyboard and stare me down in a challenge if I try to remove her. But if I provide a nice warm box near the computer, she is perfectly happy to have that instead. With all cats, your mileage may vary.

7

I agree that they do it for warmth. I also got a box (although I took it one step further and placed a heating pad under the blanket inside the box at first... the room really was very chilly.)

But they also love attention. Complete, undivided attention. So when O'Toole would stretch out over my keyboard, he knew that (a) I would have to stop whatever I was doing, and (b) That he would receive attention (good or bad, he didn't care; he's a cat.)

I pretty much did the "pick him up and place him elsewhere" routine and was 100% consistent with it. However, when I put him in his box, I'd talk to him and pet him a while so he'd be complacent and not jump right back on the keyboard. He found that it was more rewarding to just go to his box (and I made sure that when he did, I'd fuss over him in a good way) than to get on the keyboard. Of course, he enjoyed that more than me going, "Oh my God O'Toole, really?" and unceremoniously putting him on the floor.

  • 3
    Sure, this is really useful cat psychology, but mostly, upvoted for naming your cat "O'Toole" – underscore_d Oct 11 '15 at 16:06
4

My cats do the same to me when I'm working. I just pick the cat up and place on my lap, then slide my chair back underneath the desk and carry on working. If they don't want to stay there, I'll fetch a shoe box (or a box just a little bit too small for the cat to sit in fully) and put that on my desk.

4

Does your cat have spot-on flea/worm prevention (or other unpleasant medication, ideally given more frequently)? If so, keep it in a box next to the keyboard, for application when scheduled. You may reach into the box a make the medication make its noise when the cat jumps onto the desk and it will soon leave the room. (I have to get the flea prevention out of the foil when the cat is out of the house, otherwise she recognises the noise and is out through the catflap in an instant).

3

If its just a keyboard and not a laptop, find any box the right shape and size which will leave a gap between the bottom (once inverted) and the keyboard, keep it in the room. When you leave the room, invert it over the keyboard - you might find the cat sitting on the box when you return, but at least he won't be typing for you while you're absent.

In my experience, whilst a cat might choose to occupy a box you've provided for them to sit in, with a comfy cushion or not, they don't continue to occupy it, it's just a five minute wonder, so blocking access to the keyboard is better.

1

Over the years my desk cats seem to want two things: a "frame" and attention – they seem to like warmth too, but since the last of my CRTs is long gone the heat from my laptop doesn't seem to be as big a draw as the other too. My current cat likes to lie between my arms, so he doesn't do much typing…

But, I've had luck with other cats with putting a placemat just beyond my keyboard. The cat has a frame and can feel my attention (or so I think). If I put the placemat off to the side the cat doesn't seem to like it as much.

1

Fashion a box over the keyboard in the manner of the kind used when learning how to touch type. That is, you reach the keys through the open side but your view is blocked.

Then, either make the box sturdy enough so the can can sit atop that, joining you while you work without interfering; or Put sticky-side-up painter's tape on top to disuade the cat from parking there.

  • 2
    In addition to being an investment of labour in return for inconvenience, this excludes cat-cohabitors who haven't mastered touch-typing. Besides, it only solves for literal definitions of on; I imagine many consider {a cat on a keyboard} functionally equivalent to {a cat on a box on a keyboard}. – underscore_d Oct 11 '15 at 16:10
  • 1
    Unless you also intend to use screenreader software for the blind, it will be impossible to work if the cat is sitting on the box as the cat will be obscuring the view of the monitor. – Micheal Johnson Oct 11 '15 at 20:50
  • 1
    That depends on the details of the geometry. The keyboard should be lower or the screen higher. – JDługosz Oct 11 '15 at 22:51
1

Turn the keyboard upside down when not in use.

protected by michaelpri Oct 7 '15 at 23:02

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.