Dogs demonstrate their affection for you by smiling, jumping up, and generally demonstrating in every way other than actual speech that you are the best thing ever in the whole wide world. Cats demonstrate their affection for you by sticking their rear end in your face.
Cats and computers actually have many things in common.
For example, you can do the same thing you’ve always done to your computer, and one day it will simply flip out on you and behave irrationally, and you have no idea why. Just like your cat does. Computers also have the uncanny ability to attract cats.
There are many reasons why computers are such cat magnets. If you have a computer and have a cat, you know exactly what we’re talking about. Cat experts believe there are three main reasons why cats are so drawn to keyboards – particularly laptop keyboards.
First, your keyboard is where you, their human, focuses attention. If you were ever a newspaper reader, you probably remember how your cat waited until you folded the comics page just so, and then sat down on it and started engaging in personal hygiene. Well, laptops (and increasingly tablets) have taken the place of many paper-oriented media, and cats have adapted to the change in technology, just like you did.
Second, keyboards are warm, and cats – particularly in cold climates – are bona fide experts at finding heat sources. The laptop is not only warm, but also the perfect size. Third, cats see you busily tapping on your keyboard all the time. What a great toy that must be, that humans play with it so much! Your cat simply wants to get in on the action. Plus the keys make a lovely clicking sound that Sir Fluffington can duplicate himself. What’s not to like?
It’s All Fun and Games Until Mittens Accidentally Orders Something on eBay
If you have a cat, you’ve probably experienced the phenomenon of having Facebook or Twitter open and your cat walking across the keyboard and posting something like “qqrwewewr;;;;;;;;;;;leeeeeeeeeey/mm/.,” on your behalf. It’s annoying, but it’s kind of cute, too.
But there are good reasons to keep Princess off your computer. Not only does she have no concept of “credit card limits” when you’re on Amazon’s cat toy page, she could be preventing the fan that cools your machine from doing its job due to hair. Once a fan gets clogged with pet hair, it can shut down and cook your computer.
When Gizmo walks across your keyboard due to the fact that the floor is somehow red hot lava, he also sheds hair and dander into the keys, and this can cause problems, like keys not engaging all the way due to the accumulation of cat stuff underneath them. And it’s not unheard of for male cats to “mark” computers, which besides being icky, isn’t good for the electronics.
Ways to Cope
You can get software that emits an unpleasant sound when Boots decides to do some typing for you. And though everyone should perform regular data backups, cat owners should be doubly cautious by setting up auto save whenever they can. Printer trays are other prime cat attractors, but you can minimize the temptation by keeping the tray retracted unless you’re actually printing something.
Close your laptop or cover the keyboard when you’re not using it. Turning off your computer when you’re done makes it cool down, so it’s less attractive to cats, and covering it when it’s not in use keeps hair and dander out. If you have a desktop PC or want to leave your laptop open, you can buy a clear acrylic cover that goes over the keyboard, preventing Peanut from napping on the keys.
If you have an old, nonworking laptop that you haven’t had time to recycle yet, you might consider setting it up near your computer and turning it on. Though it probably won’t be as appealing as the machine you spend so much time paying attention to, it’s warm, and the keys still make a nice clicking sound. A decoy could be just the thing to keep Mr. Pickles contented while you work.
Keeping your computer safe from all the “love” your cat wants to give it takes ingenuity, but ultimately it’s worth it to make your machine last longer and reduce the risk of data loss. Ziggy probably won’t be satisfied with a ball of yarn now that we’ve entered the Information Age, but if you give him the love and attention he deserves and take steps to protect your computer, the cat-human-computer trio can co-exist in peace.