Skip to main content

Why your house cat loves sitting on your keyboard when you need to use it

If you find yourself frequently moving your cat off your keyboard while you’re using your computer, you’re far from alone. Keyboards seem to be like magnets to cats, and a cat sitting on keyboard and laptop surfaces is all too common. While it can be cute to see the first few times, this habit can get tiring, especially if you’re trying to get some work done. If you’re wondering, “Why does my cat sit on my keyboard?” the good news is that there’s a reason behind your cat’s behavior. Once you understand why your cat is so attracted to your keyboard, you can take some steps to help convince him that he really doesn’t need to climb onto your computer while you’re working.

Orange cat paw resting on a computer keyboard

Finding a cozy spot

Your cat might be attracted to your computer because of its warmth. This is particularly true of laptops, which often vent heat out of their sides and can get toasty during use. Your laptop is also right in your lap, a prime spot for a cozy catnap.

Related Videos

Once your cat realizes your keyboard is a warm place to sleep, climbing onto it can become a habit. He might see your keyboard as his new bed, whether or not you happen to be using it at the time.

Getting attention

It’s also possible that your cat has figured out that when he sits on your keyboard, he gets what he wants — attention. If you’ve been working intently, you may have overlooked him walking by, rubbing against your leg, or looking up longingly at you from the floor. Getting on your keyboard is sure to get a reaction, even if it might not be the positive affection he’s after.

When you’re working on a laptop, it’s usually in your lap. Your cat might just want to cuddle, and stepping onto your computer is a good way to make you pick him up and to quickly capture your attention. You might notice that your cat pushes his head under your hands to get at your keyboard, which could be an effort to get you to pet him.

No matter how your cat manages to get onto your keyboard, it’s what you do in response that delivers him his reward. You’re sure to react, whether you laugh at him, pet him, or even pick him up and move him. In doing so, you’ve given him attention and he’s managed to get you away from your work, even if just for a moment. Don’t be surprised if he starts doing this again and again as a result.

Cat sleeping on a computer keyboard

How to break the habit

While your kitty may just be looking for attention, having him climb all over your keyboard in the middle of a workday is far from ideal, and your cat can also activate commands and settings on your computer that you then have to figure out how to undo. Cat hair can also work its way down into your keyboard or into your laptop, which can lead to pricey repairs. It’s best to keep your cat off the keyboard entirely.

That’s easier said than done, but you’ve got ways to encourage your cat to choose more appropriate spots for settling down:

  • Try placing a tempting box or cozy cat bed next to your computer, giving your cat an alternative space that you can place him into when he tries to settle down on your keyboard. Add some catnip to make the spot more enticing, or turn on a desk lamp to heat up that spot, so it’s irresistible to your cat.
  • If your cat is actively seeking out your attention, then try to build plenty of breaks into your workday or your general computer use. Set yourself a timer and make sure to stand up and take a break every half-hour. During that time, play and engage with your cat. The more exercise and entertainment you can give him, the greater the chances that he’ll be happy to settle down next to you instead of crawling over you and your keyboard.

It’s all too easy to get distracted while you’re on a computer, and you might be ignoring your cat’s signals more than you think you are. Your cat’s climbing on your keyboard could be a bid for your attention, or he might just see it as a prime sleeping spot. While it’s not a behavior that you want to run unchecked, there are plenty of ways you can help ensure your cat’s needs are met. With a little time and effort, you and your cat can successfully and peacefully spend time together, even while you’re working on your computer.

Editors' Recommendations

Bengal cats: What to know about these quirky descendants of Asian leopards
Bengal cat breed facts that may surprise you
A Bengal cat lies on a white floor and bathes their forelimb

With their striking rosette coats and low-maintenance grooming needs, Bengal cats are already one of the most desired breeds in the world. Once known as Safari cats, the breed went through a name change in the 1970s to reflect its fascinating heritage. But what is living like a Bengal cat actually like? Are they as feisty as their Asian leopard ancestors?
We'll explore the Bengal cat's personality in depth, covering everything from a brief look into their history, the most common Bengal personality traits, and any breed-specific requirements that may hinder your quest to adopt one of these lovely cats.

Bengal cat history
While some cat breeds, such as the Egyptian Mau, can trace their lineage as far back as 10,000 B.C.E., the Bengal cat is a relative newcomer on the scene. The Bengal cat was first bred deliberately in California in the 1980s, after cat breeder Jean Mill crossed a domestic shorthair (a black tomcat) with an Asian leopard cat. Asian leopard cats, a breed of dainty wildcats hailing from Southeast Asia, are also known as Felis bengalensis -- hence the aforementioned name change from Safari cat to "Bengal cat," -- a nod to this hybrid breed's wild ancestor.
However, there may be another reason for the switch that led to the newly dubbed Bengal cat. When the breed's name was changed in 1974, the man responsible was named William "Bill" Engler -- B. Engler. Some believe he drew inspiration from his own name.

Read more
Can cats suffer from mental health conditions the way dogs can?
What you need to know about your cat's mental health
A blue-eyed white cat sprawls out on top of a rug with a forlorn expression

As it turns out, man's best friend has quite a lot in common with humans. Just like us, dogs can suffer from mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental illness in a given year." With such staggering numbers, it's easy to understand why the self-help industry is booming. But what about cats? Are our feline family members similarly affected by mental health issues?
While dogs are typically more expressive regarding their moods, cats can be more difficult to read. A dog suffering from depression may refuse to play with his favorite toy, but what behaviors can you expect from your feline friend? Do cats suffer from depression and anxiety the way some dogs do? We'll take a deep dive into the world of cat mental health, so we can answer the question once and for all.

Can cats have mental illnesses?
In her 2014 book "Animal Madness," Dr. Laurel Braitman writes, "There is not a branch of veterinary science, ethology (the science of animal behavior), neuroscience, or wildlife ecology dedicated to investigating whether animals can be mentally ill." While we can't read our cat's mind, we can use their typical behavior to gauge sudden personality changes that might ring a few alarm bells.
Two commonly diagnosed mental issues in cats are obsessive-compulsive disorder -- often abbreviated as OCD -- and cat anxiety. In cases of OCD, you may notice your cat excessively grooming the same location on her body, which can lead to redness, swelling, skin irritation, and even hair loss. However, excessive grooming is also a symptom of anxiety, though anxiety is often accompanied by additional concerning behaviors, such as decreased appetite, incessant yowling, and even drooling.
Details are scant regarding exactly how many cats suffer from mental health issues, but the fact remains that your frisky feline can be affected by OCD, anxiety, or depression. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that cats can even have autism.

Read more
Is chocolate toxic for cats like it is for dogs?
We know chocolate is toxic to dogs, but is it safe for your cat?
Cat sitting and eating a treat

If you've ever searched for a list of foods toxic to dogs, then you already know allowing your furry best friend to ingest a chocolate bar can have tragic consequences. But is chocolate bad for cats? Although your feline fur baby is much less likely to scarf down a slab of chocolate cake while you have your back turned, chocolate poisoning does occur in cats, too, and it can have equally life-threatening consequences.

Keeping your cat safe is your top priority, which makes knowing the symptoms of chocolate ingestion vitally important. Knowing the proper steps to take in case your cat eats foods she shouldn't might just save her life. Here's what you should know.

Read more