What technology is available to protect my computer keyboard from my cat trying to walk on it?

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Due to the great fascination cats have with computers, and keyboards in particular, a unique genre of software has evolved to prevent unwanted system reboots and random feline editing.

Software engineers have determined that due to a cat’s size and weight, as well as the angle of its pads and toes, the animal creates predictable key combinations as it walks across a keyboard. In response, the program differentiates feline typing from human typing, and does not allow the cat’s commands to be processed by the system.

Some programs also add a deterrence factor, emitting an unpleasant sound to get the cat off the keys. Whether or not this is effective depends entirely on the cat. Some felines are so laid back and in charge of their own environment that they couldn’t care less if the computer is yelling at them.

More standard options include locking the screen, putting the keyboard in a drawer when leaving the desk, or using a raised cover that prevents the keys from being depressed. Some people say covering the keys with a sheet of aluminum foil helps because cats don’t like the sound of the foil, the reflective quality, or the texture of the material in general.

All of these solutions require a degree of active diligence on the part of the pet owner in the equation, which is generally why they fail to be effective. People will forget to cover the keyboard, but a cat won’t forget he finds the keyboard fascinating.

Other than getting hair on the keys, which will need to be vacuumed or blown out with canned air, a cat really can’t hurt a keyboard per se unless he chews on the connecting cable. However, your cat can wreak havoc by “telling” the machine to perform all manner of random functions simultaneously.

Given the potential for this kind of damage, investing in software that actually detects the cat on the keyboard and disables the resulting keystrokes is the best option.

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