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After reading answers to a question on this site about a cat being problematic on a desk, I followed advice there and gave my kitten her own space on my desk:

enter image description here

And I have gotten the message to her that when air-powered keyboard-duster blows, that means she's gonna get puffed if she doesn't get in that bed. Kitty doesn't like the puff, so she goes.

But for some reason, as shown above, she likes to lay on the desk instead sometimes. I dont really mind her there - she isn't bothering me. But when she gets up and walks on my keyboard, that does bother me.

Is:

It's ok for you to lay [here] and [here] but not to ever step on [this]

too complicated of a message to send a cat? Will this be too confusing?

Should I strictly enforce that she stay in her bed when on the desk to avoid confusion? Or can a cat handle "two places are OK, but the other one is not"?

  • reinforcement is good. keyboard is NO, but I move you to the cat bed. Air duster or spray bottle with water. – tedder42 Feb 21 '15 at 21:22
  • @tedder42 Spray bottle is probably a bad idea next to tech equipment not made for outdoors. :) It sounds obvious and depending on the actual bottle, but people tend to be stupid (not talking about the OP). – Mario Feb 22 '15 at 9:30
  • @Mario The air spray can is amazing. Puff in the air, "No.", Works? If not -> Puff kitty "NO", it took three times actually puffing the cat and now "No" is an instant "Stop what I'm doing" and when on the desk "Get in my bed" - Very effective, and no water mess. – CuriousWebDeveloper Feb 22 '15 at 15:36
  • Ah ok, didn't think of air cans - only water. :) – Mario Feb 22 '15 at 16:59
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The important thing is to be as clear and consistent as possible. Keep the rules simple and the cat will learn them more quickly and reliably. When the cat starts to do the wrong thing, immediately but gently correct them.

I found myself using a combination of "no", a hand gesture (hand held between them and the forbidden, back of hand toward them), and when necessary lifting them off the desk (if you do that you can't stay there). They picked up on this reasonably quickly ... a month or two, though they periodically check to make sure the rule hasn't changed.

Mine are allowed on the desk but may not lie on the mouse and may not cross between me and the keyboard while I'm facing it. They're allowed to ask for attention but not demand it. They spend most of their time in the Kitty condo a few feet away, where they can watch me, look out the window, and soak up heat from the radiator.

That's another tip: give them good alternatives to behavior you're trying to discourage.

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