Sure, suburban sprawl is displacing wild animals, but the growth of technology affects domestic animals too, as pets now have to share their space with laptops, desktops, tablets, smartphones, TVs and all kinds of devices that weren't around back when cats and dogs were evolving.
This isn't too much of a problem for dogs, who are usually receptive to being told what and what not to do, but cats can be another matter.
Having limited space impacts cats especially, since they don’t particularly do well with too much confinement. They also love to jump from place to place and leap on their favorite toys and pieces of furniture, whether you want them to or not. And some cats really love snazzy-looking electronics.
So what’s the best way to prevent a mishap between your cat and your electronic device?
Surdoc, a company that backs up your computer files, says there are very specific things you should do to make sure your laptop and feline coexist peacefully.
One of the first is to turn off their device whenever it’s not being used, so it's kept cool and safe for your cat if they decide to touch it or lie down on it. Keeping the device off will also keep it dark and unlit, as a lit device will draw attention and make it harder for a curious cat to resist going near it.
Additionally, Surdoc says to make sure you tie and bundle all of your loose cables, so cats are less likely to nibble on them, potentially causing harm to both the device and the cat.
It's also smart to keep devices away from the edge of the furniture so they're not easily tipped over, and you should stay away from printers with external rollers since a cat’s tail can become easily ensnared.
According to cat experts at Paws.org, it's best to provide a good variety of toys and diversions for your cat, like a kitty condo that will help keep their attention away from your electronics.
A company called Midwest Homes for Pets has a countless array of kitty condos that vary in price and have towers that cats can climb in, as well as jungle-gym inspired condos that a lot of cats will make their regular hangout.
It’s best to place some of these kitty diversions near or next to your work station, to improve the chances of your cats staying away from your electronics, experts say.
Midwest’s kitty condos start at about $90 at places like Amazon and Walmart, and there’s a host of other companies that provide good pet furniture as well.
In addition, experts always say that cats really love to sit by windows, so by creating little platforms or shelves that happen to be towards the upper part of the window lets the cat take in the view, thus keeping your kitty kitty entertained longer and away from your electronic devices.
The folks at Surdoc say it’s wise to keep computers covered to avoid fur getting inside, since fur can clog your machine's exhaust vents and fans, causing overheating. So snap the lid on that laptop when you're not using it and think about putting a plastic cover on your desktop machine.
Furthermore, make sure things are closed on your computer like the DVD compartment and the trays on your printer, experts say, as these things can easily break if an animal leaps or sits on them.
But it’s not just the hardware of your device that you have to watch out for; you have to keep a close eye on your files too, as 97% of cat owners said in a survey that their cats deleted something of importance by just walking across the keyboard, so it’s important to keep your applications closed whenever you’re not working.
And if you want to train your cat to keep off the keyboard, there’s software that you can install called PawSense that recognizes when paws or pressing the keys instead of human hands, and once it makes that distinction, the software lets out a noise that will hopefully shoo the cat away and teach them that walking on the keyboard or going near the computer is bad.
The creators of PawSense say the software locks the keys once it determines your cat is walking on the keyboard and after checking the general Internet chatter on the software, it seems that it works pretty well.