How to Cat Proof Your Computer

Many cats seem to be fascinated with computers, maybe it's the warm place on top of the monitor, maybe it's that enticing clicking sound, or maybe it's because this thing is stealing all the attention and occupying the fingers that should be scratching behind their ears. Whatever the reason, neither the fur nor the lounging is doing your computer much good and kitty risks harming herself if she gets entangled.


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    Take care of the wires. Tie and bundle all the loose wires, and, if possible, enclose them in an appropriate covering. Remove any peripheral devices you don't use and put them away. For more information on keeping the cords at bay, read wikiHow's article How to keep cats from chewing in electric cords and chargers.
    • Don't forget about laptop cords. While laptops are easy to carry about the house with you, their thin cords are an invitation to curious felines. Be sure to keep the cords out of sight and definitely not dangling or jiggling!
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    Keep the computer clean and clear of cat fur. Cat fur ends up everywhere, including inside your computer and your keyboard. If it builds up, it can present a safety hazard as with any build-up of dust and fluff. Some ideas to protect your computer include:
    • Clean the fan, vent openings, and any filters in your computer regularly. Doing this will help reduce your household's allergies and will remove any build-up of cat and other pet hair. All that fur clogging things up can overheat your computer and will make the computer work harder to keep itself cool.
    • Cover the keyboard when not in use. There are various dust and keyboard covers for sale in computer retail outlets. Alternatively, you could improvise one out of a bag. Don't cover the keyboard of a laptop while it is turned on; doing so could trap too much heat. Use your favorite search engine to help find places that will sell you custom keyboard covers.
    • Shut the laptop when not in use and put it away. Even when shut, claws can leave scratch marks on the laptop surface.
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    Discourage your feline companions from living near the computing equipment as much as possible. Obviously, if you're the kind of person who delights in having your cat sitting alongside your keyboard while you type, this step will probably never be for you and you'll just have to minimize the risks that come with allowing puss to share your desk space, the main one being never leaving your cat there unattended; if you go out of the room, shoo the cat out as well.

    If you're a little more determined though, you might consider discouraging your cat from even considering your desk a suitable landing spot. It's a good habit for your cat to be discouraged from not jumping up on anything where there are fragile or easily damaged items. However, this is easier said than done for a cat is a determined creature who may just see forbidden places as the most enticing. In that case, it can be helpful to simply pick up your cat swiftly and place her gently back down on the floor every single time she tries to take up residence with you beside the keyboard if you don't want her landing on the desk in anticipation when you're not around. She'll soon get the message it's a boring place to be and that you'll react that way every single time.
    • Alternatively, make the desk unpleasant by having books, papers, stationery, etc. act as hurdles or barriers; just be careful though, as a pile of papers can be enticing and can easily tip over with a cat landing on it.
    • Adhesive tape can put off many cats from clambering around the desk, as they don't like stepping on the sticky side of adhesive tape; try placing double sided tape or loops of packing tape in their way to discourage them. The only downside of this is when you forget and stick yourself to the desk too!
    • Provide distinct "safe zones" for your cat, such as a basket that is located near you but not next to the computer, and it's even better if she is at eye level with you when you sit down. For example, place a comfy cat basket on top of a filing cabinet situated alongside your desk, so she knows she's allowed there and that she can still view the action, including eyeballing you when needed.
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    Protect the keyboard from paw strokes. Cats will walk over anything in the pursuit of finding comfortable spots to sit and lie down. If your keyboard happens to be in the way, so be it, it's just another walking surface to the average cat and it might even prove comfy. Whether you're in the habit of dashing away from the keyboard while your cat is left unattended, or your cat has her own habit of pawing the keyboard, you could be in for some embarrassing edits on your favorite wiki! Worse than that is the possibility that a wandering kitty might erase work or files, or even crash computers should the wrong keys get pressed in the right sequence, so don't take the risk. Some easy solutions include:
    • Use a desk with a keyboard tray and keep the tray pushed in when not in use. Alternatively, simply remember to put your keyboard upright or tucked away somewhere else whenever you leave the desk. This is about training you, not your cat.
    • If you're forgetful or always having to dash about (perhaps you're working from home and have kids to be keeping an eye on or you're apt to wander when musing), consider using cat paw recognition software that distinguishes between cat-like typing and human typing. If it senses cat typing, this software will divert the typed-in cat wisdom into a window of its own where it will do the human species no harm.[1] Paw-typing recognition software can even make noises to annoy the cat enough to get her to leave the keyboard alone.
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    Repel your computer-loving cat. If your cat shows an unabated interest in your computing equipment and cords, besides cleaning the surfaces (which might be sufficient if she hates the smell of the cleaning solutions), try a cat repellent spray. There are various sprays available that are designed to smell bad to cats. These can be helpful in communicating which furnishings are off-limits, perhaps even including your desk chair if it serves as a step up to the desk for the ultra lazy cat.
    • Make sure, when using any sprays or moist repellents, that you keep any dampness away from the open or fragile areas of your computing equipment. A little ill-placed moisture is death to electronics.
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    Keep drinks, cats, and computers well apart. If you're enjoying a hot or cold drink near the computer, use common sense and guard the drink if there is the likelihood of puss jumping up and knocking it. In fact, it's probably best in this case if you don't have your drinks near the computer.
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    Tidy up the surrounding area of your desk space. Papers, food packaging, last night's dinner, or bottles will probably tempt your cat to jump up onto the desk. By keeping the desk area clean, you will certainly have less of a mess to clean up in case the cat does jump up and knocks it all off.
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    Close the door. Keeping the door to the office closed is a very easy way to keep a cat and computer separate when you're not in the room.
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    Don't encourage your cat. While it's cute when a cat chases something on a computer screen or lies across a keyboard, allowing them to keep doing this cements the habit and encourages them to do it again. Be tough and remove your cat as soon as the activity starts, and keep doing it until she gets the point that there is no point. However, don't be mean about it; be sure to give her some toys of her own to replace the fun you've just denied her. Some fake mice, jumping things on a stick, catnip toys, etc., are all great distractions to get her interested in something more suitable than the computer. You could even dangle some things from a cardboard box cut to look the same shape as a computer but filled with fun cat things. Place it near the desk for her to play with.
    • If your cat keeps doing this but follows you if you leave the computer, this may be a sign she simply wants time with you. If so, take a break, and play with her for awhile until you've both had a good break, then get back to your computing.


  • Although cats are notorious independent thinkers, try giving them another place to be that can be challenging sometimes!
  • Be sure there's enough space for your cat to get into your lap. Typing over her back may be just enough intimacy if what she wanted was to get your attention rather than just get at your computer.
  • Don't keep your favorite rat, rabbit, mouse, hamster, gerbil, etc., in the same vicinity as your computing space. Your cat will be more than curious to visit and to use your desk as the launching pad.
  • Buy your cat an iPad or pass down your old iPad to your cat. Cats can manipulate touch screens a lot easier than keyboards and there are special cat apps to let Kitty get into her own computing. Set her iPad on the floor near you and watch her have fun with it while you get back to the keyboard.
  • If the computer noise seems to attract your cat, consider turning it off when you're just word processing, thinking, or doing anything that doesn't need sound.
  • Cats hate aluminum foil. Consider placing a sheet over your computer keyboard when you are not there. This can be very simple to cover it every time you leave, even for just a few moments.


  • Chewed wires are a safety hazard to both humans and pets. Don't let them chew the wires in the first place and replace any that are chewed.

Things You'll Need

  • Cord covers and cord tides
  • Cat keystroke sensing software (optional)
  • Safe place to store keyboard
  • Cat distractions

Sources and Citations

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