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Question for any programmer and cat lover working from his home office. So many times my keyboard is taken over violently by my two cats who think it's the right place for a sleep - and almost every time when they do this i'm was in this precious 100% concentration phases before i get interrupted.

I tried it with a burning anti- mosquito coil under the desk but they got used to the smell pretty fast.

EDIT: And no i don't want to keep them completey away from my room.

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 22 '09 at 18:42

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Just curious, how are they a motivating factor? –  Troggy Aug 22 '09 at 19:24
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so... cat < keyboard > floor? (all together now: groan) –  David Z Aug 23 '09 at 8:05
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I use a laptop computer most of the time, and I keep it closed whenever I'm not using it. :) –  Anderson Green Feb 5 '13 at 23:49

13 Answers 13

Everytime my cat sat on my computer desk in front of the monitor, or went near the keyboard I picked him up, dropped him on the floor (gently) and if he did it again in a short space of time I'd squirt water at him from a spray misting bottle.

It didn't take long for him to catch on to the idea that he can sit on my knees, on the chair with me, or behind the monitor - but never on the keyboard or in front of the screen.

Maybe he does that when I'm not around, but he knows not to do it in front of me!

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+1. Water works great for conditioning cats. –  Kibbee Aug 22 '09 at 18:31
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Spraying water near the keyboard/monitor is not my first preference. I use canned air instead to shoo away the cat. She runs just from the sound and even has learned to move when I pick up the can. –  Chris Nava Aug 23 '09 at 5:23
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He probably poops on your power bar when you're not around :P –  Daniel Huckstep Aug 23 '09 at 5:48

I think you need PawSense.

Cat on keyboard

Cat like typing

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11  
this is hilarious :) –  Molly7244 Aug 22 '09 at 21:46

Never used it myself, so I can't attest to how well it works, but you might want to try Pawsense. It's made specifically for this purpose.

However, that software is really only meant to work when you are away from the computer. If you are on the computer, and can't get the cats to stay away, you have bigger problems. The reason the cat goes on the keyboard, is because that's where your hands are, and it want's attention. Short of locking the cat's out of the room, or putting a wall (floor to ceiling, cat's like to jump and climb) of chicken wire between you and the cats, isn't going to do much. Also, the barrier will cause incessant meowing, which can only be stopped by you giving the cats some attention. I suggest you get a less needy pet, like a fish.

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4  
Yeah. Think like a cat--you're petting the keyboard, they want some of that attention for themselves! –  Loren Pechtel Aug 22 '09 at 21:19
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I guess your cat was the one who typed all those extra apostrophes, eh? ;-) –  Dennis Williamson Aug 24 '09 at 17:54
    
@LorenPechtel Think like a cat +1 for grabbing the problem at the right spot! –  naxa Jan 3 '13 at 22:02

Build a shelf (U-shaped piece of wood) over the real keyboard and put a fake keyboard on top. Then reach under the shelf to type.

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Give your cats their own keyboards in a comfortable and attractive location. Try sprinkling a little catnip on them.

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10  
Obviously you don't have a lot of experience with cats. They never pick the place you want them to. You can buy keyboards made of gold or catnip or whatever, they won't even consider looking at it. –  Tamas Czinege Aug 22 '09 at 23:26
    
Unless you make them believe, that you'd really hate these keyboards to be full of cat hair. –  Tomáš Zato Jun 18 at 16:54

The solution,I believe, is to move the mouse away from the keyboard.Maybe that will take your cat's attention at something else other than keyboard(usually placed next to mouse).

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Punny ! –  Dennis Williamson Aug 24 '09 at 17:54

I think the best way to do this is to teach him it's not good to stay on your keyboard.

With a child you would say "You can't do this" and he would understand. But animals doesn't understand portuguese english (I'm Brazilian XD), so that tatic of sprinkling some water on it is good.
Everytime he manages to do this, sprinkle water and take him out. Your cat will get upset and after some tries he will link the bad idea of "water in my face" with "keyboard", and that going on it is a bad idea; they won't try to do this anymore.

You can do this also with direct flashing light (2 flashes at most, please) and some simple words, like "No you can't". The words will get linked too, and after sometime you can try only to say "No you can't", and they will obbey.

I don't think that giving food or toys will help. They don't want food or toys, they want to sleep on that confortable thing that your keyboard is. And you need to tell them they shouldn't.
Of course that if you aren't giving them enough attention or food, they want food and attention, so you should be right it's not the problem, first of all.

After that... good luck =D

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Use a Kitty Keyboard Cover.

The Kitty Keyboard Cover, or as we like to call it, "Kitty Keyboard Kover", is a simple and elegant solution to your cat(s) walking all over your computer keyboard.

Made from very strong 1/4" acrylic (plexiglas), the cover easily supports a 16 lb (quite large) cat.

It also, to a certain extent, helps keep all the kitty hair and dust and dirt out of the keyboard. There's plenty of room for a deeper keyboard, even the ones with the built-in touchpads and media buttons.

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+1 deserves a much higher ranking if only for the name, or let alone the cute page or even for the thing's actual existence! One problem though: out of stock! :( –  naxa Jan 3 '13 at 22:21

The water bottle is the best way I have found to keep my cat away from anything. Once they get misted a few times they learn what it is for. Now all I have to do is have one sitting near whatever it is I want them to stay away from. If they come near the keyboard when I am working, all I need to do is pick up the bottle and they get down off the desk immediately. It doesn't hurt them and it is a very inexpensive solution!

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cats don't like the smell of oranges (or other citrus fruits), so you could try cleaning your keyboard or the desk with one of those orange-oil based cleaning products.

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2  
note: this probably won't stop them interrupting your concentration. cats have claws, and you have legs. my cats figured out long ago that standing up on their back legs and "accidentally" digging their claws into my leg will get my attention if i have been rudely ignoring them for too long. –  cas Aug 23 '09 at 4:43
    
cats have claws, and you have legs an appropriate appetizer [for what is coming next] –  naxa Jan 3 '13 at 22:17

Conditioning your cat to keep away from your keyboard is the most practical fix for this problem. If you're leery of using water in close proximity to your computer equipment, you can construct a useful cat-training tool with just a few items from around your house:

  • 1 empty soda can (washed)
  • 1 or more pop tabs from used soda can(s)
  • tape

Put the pop tabs in the can and tape the lid shut. If the cat is doing something it shouldn't, shake the can or toss it toward the cat. (If you do the latter, try not to hit it--but the can should be light enough that if you accidentally do, neither the cat nor your keyboard should be hurt.) Cats generally don't like the resulting clatter, and I've never had one that didn't stop the offending behavior after I started using the can.

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  1. Keep the cat in the lap keeps him away from keyboard.
  2. Some plastic bottles near the keyboard -- when empty bottles drop from table, the noise might teach him stay away.
  3. Have some cat toys nearby - cat seeks attention, so throwing some string or such keeps him entertained.

(In truth my cat still manages to squeeze over the laptop keyboard even when the laptop is on my lap, so... )

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+1. throwing a little ping-pong ball often works with one of our cats, so it works (to some extent) for cats who like ball toys. She will serving it back soon, though. :) –  naxa Jan 3 '13 at 22:28

Unplug your wired keyboard and use a wireless keyboard. Keep that on the bookshelf like a book when you aren't using it.

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protected by Mokubai Sep 3 at 6:15

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