Cats & Keyboards

Cats & Keyboards

We all know of the enigmatic affinity cats have for keyboards. More than a few times, I have opened the door to my Tabby’s Place office and found that some kind of mayhem has been committed with my keyboard. I have arrived to everything from an inverted display (the monitor image has been turned upside-down; this can be very hard to undo) to music blasting at top volume.

The problem is so widespread that there are a number of products designed to combat this syndrome:

  • Cat-proof keyboard covers (e.g., prevent the keys from being pressed.
  • Software that tries to distinguish “cat typing” from real typing (e.g., is useful for when you need to leave the computer for a few minutes and don’t want to be bothered with covering the keyboard.

But I am often plagued by the problem of using the computer while a cat is present. This becomes a territorial conflict that escalates until (i) I give in and pay attention to the cat, or (ii) become angry enough to push her away (which leads to my then immediately feeling guilty).

I am sure that many of you have “been there.”

Well, I want to report a new tactical weapon in this war: the decoy keyboard. This was developed out of my desperation in dealing with my cat Grace. She has become relentless in occupying the keyboard in my home office. If I do manage to obstruct her access to the keyboard, she will start pawing maniacally at the monitor.

The covers wouldn’t help, of course. And the software was useless in this situation.

This had become warfare and had to be treated as such. I started with strategies for nuclear armed combatants. But mutual assured destructionwas not an approach I was willing to pursue.

I finally found my answer in the tactics of guerrilla warfare: I would use a decoy. You can see the tactic in the image to the right. My primary keyboard and mouse are on the tray. The decoy keyboard and mouse are on the desk, directly in front of the monitors.

So far, this tactic is succeeding and there is peace on my desk. Please keep this idea to yourselves, as I am looking into developing a product. 🙂

1 thought on “Cats & Keyboards

  1. Jonathan, it is wonderful to hear from you. You must realize many of us consider you a Cat God. Having said that, so you are telling us that (basically) you solved the problem by buying Grace her own computer. Please supply a link to her blog, it must be fascinating reading!

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