wikiHow to Get Your Cat to Stop Jumping on Your Keyboard

Curious cats tend to find your keyboard activity more than tempting––within seconds of spotting your fingers traversing across the keys in what seems like an invitation to pounce, your cat can be air bound and landing upon your keyboard before your next breath. The results can be emails sent before you're ready, jumbled language typed into the IM screen or worst of all, erasure by paw pressure. Discouraging kitty from keyboard antics requires alertness and quick responsiveness on your behalf, as well as paying attention to some commonsense practices when you're not at your desk.


  1. Image titled Get Your Cat to Stop Jumping on Your Keyboard Step 1
    Watch your cat. The initial resistance begins with paying attention to your cat's interest in your keyboard. Know that feeling when there are eyes boring in the back of your head? That's kitty watching you furtively… Be alert to her interest in the keyboard so that you can spot any readiness to spring and pounce. This provides you with the opportunity to either move the keyboard should she act quickly or to move the cat if she appears to be hovering by too closely. You could also use this opportunity to adopt your authoritative tone of voice to tell her: "No! You are not going to sit on my keyboard."
    • Commands to stop doing something are something that you should get your cat used to early on. Use a soft but firm voice that means business, using such words as "No!" and "Get down" whenever the cat does something you don't want her to be doing. With the right tone of voice, she'll know very well that she is not permitted to persist.
    • In some cases, simply repeatedly removing the cat from your desk gently may work after a few rounds. She'll get the message that every single time you will put her straight down on the ground again.
  2. Image titled Get Your Cat to Stop Jumping on Your Keyboard Step 2
    Don't encourage your cat by showing her things on your computer screen. As tempting as it may be to show kitty the latest cat video you think is just hilarious or to find interesting pictures of swimming fish to entice her with, don't do it unless you want her to think it's okay to hang around your workspace. She will assume that it's okay to be there if you allow her to do this.
  3. Image titled Get Your Cat to Stop Jumping on Your Keyboard Step 3
    Do not leave your cat with unattended opportunities to find your keyboard. When you leave your computer terminal, for whatever reason and length of time, put the keyboard out of reach. Should your cat's curiosity cause her to investigate, you won't have her padding across the keys and leaving gibberish for your email buddies. Wireless keyboards can be placed well away from the computer, while attached keyboards can be hung on the monitor, pushed to one side, pushed under if on a tray contraption or hidden underneath something. If you can lock your keyboard, this is another alternative, so that any pressure placed on the keys does not result in text being typed into any program.
    • Train yourself to put the keyboard away regularly so that it becomes a habit each time you move away from the desk.
    • Programs exist that recognize cat paws on the keyboard. Paw-typing recognition software will put the cat's work into a window of its own and can even be programmed to make annoying noises to scare off your curious feline pal.[1]
  4. Image titled Get Your Cat to Stop Jumping on Your Keyboard Step 4
    Consider creating a barricade that either stops your cat from getting onto your desk area or that stops your cat from reaching the keyboard zone. The utility or feasibility of doing this depends totally on the type of workspace you have and your work style––some people have such cramped desk space already that any sort of barricade would leave no room for the keyboard itself. The purpose of a barricade is to present a hurdle that the cat considers not worth the challenge. Alternatively, a barrier may be used to prevent the cat from seeing the keyboard and your finger movements, thereby removing the stimulus for investigation. A kitty barricade could be made in one of the following ways:
    • Make piles of books either side of your keyboard area. This can work well if you have a lot of desk space. However, if your space is small, there is a risk that doing this will leave you feeling like you're inside a fort, with nowhere to lay down the books or papers you actually need to work off. Nevertheless, for short stints, the book barricade might solve a problem long enough to deflect your cat's continued interest.
    • Try making a barricade from cereal boxes that encircle your computer and keyboard zone. These could be used either as walls when ripped apart or as bricks if heavy items like books are slipped inside the boxes. If your cat decides to rush the flimsy wall version, be aware that she'll quickly discover it's easy to knock over and won't hesitate to keep going.
    • Place duct tape, sticky side up, around your workspace area, either attached outwards on the barriers you've created or even laid flat on the desk. Cats don't like getting sticky paw pads (you won't either if your skin gets stuck to the duct tape), so it'll put her off trying to get any nearer. Naturally, this method can get quite messy as all your pens, pencils, papers and even you get caught by the sticky tape too!
    • Shut the door to your room and keep your cat out. Obviously, this depends on where your computer is located––if it's an open space, you won't be able to do this but if you have a discrete study and there's a door that can be closed, consider the ultimate barrier of shutting her on the other side.
  5. Image titled Get Your Cat to Stop Jumping on Your Keyboard Step 5
    Make jerky arm movements while typing. This could be a quirky form of exercise for you if you're glued to the keyboard but it might also work to deter the cat. As you type, move your elbows up and down whenever the cat threatens to come near. The constant movement of your arms might make her feel uncomfortable and cause her to hop down and do something else for a while. On the other hand, a patient cat might just wait it out until your arms tire (which won't be long if you've got to get on with typing).
  6. Image titled Get Your Cat to Stop Jumping on Your Keyboard Step 6
    Distract your cat. The time-honored tradition of distraction is probably one of your best offensive tactics when it comes to deterring your cat from the keyboard. Keep a basket of cat toys near the desk for her to play with. You could even set up her kitty condo or play area near your computer so that she's near you and you can keep an eye on her as she plays.
    • Rotate toys for added interest. Keep her interest by only putting out one or two toys at a time or tie a string to your office door handle to provide her with the opportunity to bat it around.
    • Consider adding a toy with catnip depending on how she typically reacts. Some cats get extremely excited during initial interaction but then tire out quickly. If you can get your cat revved up and then sleepy, you may be able to keep her away from your keyboard at least for the short term.
    • Get a laser pointer. Every time your cat threatens to jump up on your workspace, grab it and start playing laser tag across the floor, to lead her away from your work area and into the ecstasy of play.
    • Feed her. Get up and go to her food bowl and sprinkle some treats or other food into it. It might be enough to make her forget what she was doing before and she may even like to sleep after.
  7. Image titled Get Your Cat to Stop Jumping on Your Keyboard Step 7
    Create a comfort zone for your cat situated near the workspace but not anywhere near your keyboard. Very often your cat just wants to be near you while you work or play on the computer––indeed, the longer you're stuck there, the more she wants your attention and will be likely to put herself right in your face to get it. By placing a bed or comfy sleep spot near you as you work or play on the computer, she may be satisfied enough that she can see you (and get the occasional stroke) to avoid feeling the need to attack your keyboard.
    • The comfort zone may not work with a kitten. Kittens think that everything is an invitation to play and that sleep just gets in the way. All the same, the earlier you can train your kitten to like sleeping near your workspace rather than pawing all over it, the better.
    • For really active cats that don't get the message, getting locked inside the cat carrier/crate, facing you, can work for a time. How successful this will be depends on how much meowing results from locking her away. Be sure that she can see you and seems comfortable, otherwise don't persist with this method.
  8. Image titled Get Your Cat to Stop Jumping on Your Keyboard Step 8
    Deter her quickly. If your cat insists on continuously jumping up onto the keyboard and walking all over it, it might be time for some water or noise deterrents. She won't like this, but that's the whole point. Here are some solutions:
    • Fill a squirting water bottle with water. Keep it on your desk within reach. Whenever your cat shows signs of wanting to come too close, give her a quick squirt to deter her. A few experiences of this and she won't see your keyboard zone as worth the effort anymore. Obviously, don't be so eager that you spray the keyboard and computer too––that could be an expensive mistake.
    • Fill a jar or can with coins to make a noisy rattle. An empty beer or soda can works well for this purpose. Seal the top with duct tape or screw on the lid if the container has one and shake away whenever the cat tries to get near the keyboard. As with the water squirt, it won't be long before your cat is habituated to staying away.
  9. Image titled Get Your Cat to Stop Jumping on Your Keyboard Step 9
    Use keyboard leaps as a reason to take a break. If you're the kind of person who falls into your computer and forgets how much time is passing, your cat's keyboard antics might well be a blessing in disguise. Perhaps she is letting you know that you've done enough for now and it's time to play. Heed her message and go and play for a bit––you need the break and she deserves the attention.
  10. 10
    Consider purchasing a computer stand. When the computer is at an angle, your cat won't be able to sit on it. This trick works instantly and involves no negative reinforcement. In addition, it is ergonomic and helps to cool your computer.


  • Watch your cat whenever you think it may jump up, and stop it from landing on the keyboard.
  • Maintain a hard plastic keyboard cover when your keyboard is not in use. Office supply stores provide a variety of hard plastic covers for keyboards. As well as protecting the keyboard from kitty, this can protect it from errant drink spills, dust and flying cat hair.
  • Don’t give affection or positive attention to your cat when she jumps on the keyboard (no matter how cute it may be). Robotically implement your deterrent and remove the cat if she doesn’t leave immediately.


  • Never smack or hit your cat in order to convey your message. This is abusive and won’t accomplish anything other than causing the cat to distrust you.
  • If you don't pay adequate attention to your cat, then she won't hesitate to find ways to make you pay attention. Jumping up on a keyboard is often a ploy to gain attention that is lacking, which should be a signal to you to spend more time with her. Pets are not ornaments––they need love and interaction as much as the human family members do.
  • If your cat defecates or urinates near the keyboard or desk area take her to the vet to confirm this is a behavioral issue and that nothing medical is occurring.

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Managing Cat Behavior | House Training Cats