Q: Whenever I work on my computer, my cat sits down right in front of my monitor, blocking my view of my work. He also purrs and drools while draped over my keyboard and mouse pad. My vet said my cat’s drooling is not a health problem. I love the purring, but not so much the drooling; my cat drools into my keyboard, making the keys sticky and gooey. How can I stop this?
A: Many cats seek attention. Before the Internet, people typically read newspapers and books, wrote on notepads or typed on typewriters. People complained that cats would annoyingly settle themselves on whatever they were reading or writing. And sometimes, their cats drooled.
Keeping up with current technology trends, some modern cats have developed the annoying behavior of sitting on keyboards and mouse pads. Some cats will do anything to get closer to their favorite people in order to solicit attention. People often unintentionally reinforce the behavior by interacting with the cats by talking with them, moving them, petting them, etc.
Change your cat’s behavior by both blocking the areas and giving him a somewhere better spot to hang out that satisfies his needs. Provide your cat with a comfortable place to settle down next to your desk, as high as or higher than the area in front of your keyboard. Cat trees or small cabinets work perfectly for this. Or, if you have a large desk, clear a special spot for your cat.
Reinforce your cat’s behavior with attention and small food rewards whenever he stays on his new approved area. Simultaneously, make the space between your keyboard and monitor an uncomfortable place for your cat to go. Stick double sided tape on placemats and put the place mats down on the forbidden areas. Your cat won’t like the feel of the tape on his paws and will either retreat to the preferred spot or jump off the desk.
Clicker training can train cats off of counters, mouse pads and keyboards.