JustAnswer PixelPaws and Effect

A cat pops up between a computer keyboard and a user.

Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

Keeping kitties off the counter is good advice. But how does your Mama keep you off her keyboard when she’s on the computer?

~ Mary

Bella: The answer is, she doesn’t! Tee hee hee!

Thomas: Now, Bella, you know that’s not quite true. She does have her darn opposable-thumbed ways of keeping us out of the way. But that’s not to say that we comply with her because, especially when we’re writing this blog, we need to be there to supervise her.

Tara: Thomas and Bella tell me that Mama really needs to be micromanaged when she helps us write, which you’d think wouldn’t be true after more than 10 years of writing this blog!

Thomas: Anyway, Mary, the truth is that there are some things you can do to help keep your kitties off your keyboard when you’re trying to do your computer work.

Bella: The first thing is to understand that when we’re all over you while you’re trying to write, the reason is that we want to be close to you, so if you make a space where your cat can be near you but not on top of you, that can help.

Tara: Like here, in this photo, Thomas is on the desk but not in Mama’s face, because there’s enough space for him to just enjoy her company without being on top of her while she’s trying to write.

A cat next to a computer screen.

Make space near your computer for your cat to hang out and enjoy your company.

Thomas: To be honest, this wasn’t quite enough space, so I’m sitting on the butt warmer instead.

Bella: Mama refers to the butt warmer as her external hard disk drive, whatever that means.

Tara: Oh, I remember those. I bet Mama has lots of pictures and stuff in there, so you’d better not sit on it too long or it might overheat!

Thomas: Does that mean Mama might lose all the lovely photos of me?

Tara: Yes, and Bella and me, too. And maybe even photos of Siouxsie and Dahlia!

Thomas: Oh, I don’t want to lose photos of my Dahlia!

Bella: There’s actually a company that makes shelves for cats that you can attach to your desk, if your desk is too small to accommodate a cat.

Tara: Another tactic is to put your cat on the floor every time he gets on your desk.

Thomas: You’re going to have to be very consistent in doing this. We cats are tenacious creatures and we’ll keep doing what we’re doing until we’re very sure there’s no reward in it for us. This can take a long time.

Bella: Of course, you could give us treats every time we get on the floor and don’t bother you, and then that might help the lesson sink in.

Tara: You can also distract your cat when he’s about to get on your desk. Keep a supply of fun toys on hand, and whenever you see your cat looking like he’s about to jump up in your lap, throw a toy. If it’s one your cat likes, he’ll go off and chase it instead of interrupting your work.

Thomas: But really, Mama can never argue with a kitty making a delightful “solicitation purr” and asking for attention, so we help her all the time. In fact, Bella’s busy head-bonking Mama’s hands and settling into her lap right now.

Bella: I love being in Mama’s lap!

Tara: So, Mary, although there are a few things you can do to keep your cat off your keyboard, it’s probably not going to work out too well unless you’re super-consistent in your efforts to keep your cat away … darn it, Bella, you’re making Mama have a hard time typing …

Bella: But it’s fun, and Mama needs me!

Thomas: Bella …

Bella: Or, if Mama just recycled that stupid paperweight of a dead printer, I could sit next to her monitor and then she could be distracted by my loveliness another way.

Tara: Good luck, Mary, and we hope such tips as we could give you will be of use.

Thomas: What about you other readers? Have you been able to keep your cats out of the way while you’re working on the computer? Please share your advice in the comments!