My cat won’t stop jumping on my desk – help

cat on desk

Cat on desk and looking very happy. Photo by ptmitchell

This plea for help is on a forum about cats. The owner of the cat was concerned because, on her desk, she had a customized computer and her papers. She had a fan on her desk as well. She was concerned that her male cat would knock these items off her desk when he jumped up. When she is lying in bed she can hear her cat chewing on her papers. All in all, this makes the cat’s owner anxious and she’s desperate to stop it. She seeks advice from fellow cat owners.

As far as I can see, almost all, if not all, the responses referred to ways to prevent her cat from jumping up onto her desk. And, you know, there are some pretty odd and, on occasions, rather cruel ways to achieve that. In fact, nearly every method that I have read about preventing a cat from jumping up onto counters or any surface could be described as, at least, uncomfortable for the cat. It is training by punishment, in effect.

My advice to her would be this. The first point I’d like to make is that her cat is possibly demonstrating a sign of affection in being close to objects handled by his human companion. Her scent is on those objects and he wants to be around that smell. Cats frequently like being on their human companion’s desk. Do you really want to stop that happening?

I would not try and prevent my cat from jumping up onto my desk. This is natural behavior. It is something that her cat finds interesting and which may, in fact, be stimulating. Surely that is the objective of a cat owner; to make her/his life as interesting as possible.

The first thing I would do is to make sure my cat was stimulated by playing with him or her. I know that does take some time and some commitment but in simply doing that this cat owner may discover that her cat is sufficiently stimulated to not want to jump up on her desk and find something to do there.

Additionally, what I would do is to make sure that the items on my desk could not be nudged and pushed or knocked over, or the papers chewed upon etc.. So, for example, I would place the papers in a box file which puts them out of reach. I would put the box file between two heavy weights, perhaps paperweights which would prevent the file being moved by a cat. That is just a simple idea and there are many alternatives. You could also leave a sheet of paper out that could be chewed on.

As for the computer and other items on the desk, I would again ensure that they cannot be moved by my cat. There are numerous ways of achieving it. What about, for example, using Blue Tack? This is a reusable adhesive which can be pulled away from the surfaces without leaving a mark. What about putting the computer on a shelf behind the desk, high up and screwing a “facing” to the shelf as a barrier to stop her cat jumping up to it?

I know that a bit of work is required together a bit of lateral thinking to ensure that the items on the desk are protected from a cat walking around on the desk, but then again there is work required trying to stop one’s cat jumping up onto the desk so which is the better?

I think cat behaviour solutions are really about people outsmarting their cat but in a nice way and getting around the problem rather than confronting a problem because after all these are not actually problems, certainly not from me cat’s perspective. If a cat owner confronts what she perceives as being a cat behaviour problem she is in fact confronting her cat and as far as I’m concerned this is something to be avoided. People should work with their cat and find a solution based upon a good understanding of cat behaviour rather than preventing natural cat behaviour.

Surely it is not beyond the wit of man to achieve two objectives at the same time, namely, to ensure that their cat is content and stimulated and at the same time ensure that their treasured possessions are protected?

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My cat won’t stop jumping on my desk – help — 26 Comments

  1. Another case of a cat not “behaving” or conforming to a human’s expectations. Neither will be happy in that situation.
    All good advice that you’ve given here, Michael.
    But, so many times, I’ve wondered if people really care to learn about their cats or if they are only interested in “low maintenance” pets like we’ve talked about (that don’t exist). In that case, as Jo wrote, they need to get a pet rock or, better yet, a paperclip that they can bend any way they want it.

  2. Like you say Michael there are many kind ways you can make a desk unattractive to a cat, but that person instead of dramatically asking for help should feel honoured her cat wants to sit there. It sounds to me as if the cat is very bored if she is chewing paper, does she have her own furniture, a nice tall cat tree to sit on, toys to play with? Is she stuck indoors with no exercise or attention, is she declawed? I’m glad I can’t see the punishments advised because it would make me very angry at the ignorant know alls who think punishing a cat for being a cat is acceptable 🙁

  3. For goodness sake, whoever it is wants to stop bleating and just leave the desk tidy, papers put away, equipment pushed safely against a wall or stuck down with glue tack and then let the cat get up there as much as he wants, he’ll soon get fed up with it once it’s not forbidden. What on Earth is the matter with people, they don’t want a cat they just want an ornament. You pretty much solved the problem for her anyway Michael.

  4. I AM GLAD YOU GAVE HIM A GOOD ANSWER.POOR KITTY ,IF I HAD HIM HE COULD WALK ON MY DESK ,MY BED,MY COUNTER TOPS AND ANYWHERE ELSE HE WANTED TO.

    • yep same kitty’s will go where ever they want to on my desk. Cant make them stay away from a certain area. Its hard as having a kitty she always seems to want to help me to type while trying to play fight my hands. 🙂 i guess the only option is to put items out to reach. Cats are just like kids. Well i consider my cats my kids as cant have any. Good article by the way. 🙂
      i t

  5. Just be glad he isn’t jumping on your head. You can’t stop a cat doing what he wants to do. It’s just how it is. Those who can’t deal with that should get a dog.

    Monty spent the last hour meowing at me and standing on my head as I lay trying to relax. I’m trying to learn transcendental meditation to help with anxiety. The doctor I’ve been seeing in Brookfield recommended that over anti anxiety meds. He bragged about how good he is at it, how quickly he can get into that deep state of relaxation that is as good for our brains as sleep. I’ll bet even my doctor could not meditate with a meowing cat on his head. When I don’t respond to Monty he starts chewing on my hair and raking his claws across my scalp. A little hard to ignore, but I thought the chipmunk who lives out back deserved one day of peace from being stalked by Monty. Monty disagrees and feels it is his right, indeed his duty, to smack around every chipmunk he can lay his paws on.

    • yea jasmin been giving me wee little licks on nose then bites. i noticed he giving me lots of touching on face which i havent experienced before really nice feeling loved 🙂

    • When I don’t respond to Monty he starts chewing on my hair and raking his claws across my scalp

      LOL. A bit tricky to meditate when that is going on. I agree that meditation or some other non-drug remedy is best. Good luck with the anxiety, Ruth.

    • Good luck with the meditation Ruth, seems a good idea to give it a try but I think the chipmunk will have to help you out sometimes and play with Monty for a while so you can get down to it, I’ve never heard of anyone meditating with a meowing cat on their head, cats and relaxation are an oxymoron LOL. I love hearing about Monty and how he rules.

  6. The answer to this one is very simple.

    Don’t have a cat if you dont want an entire cat. If you do try to deal with the issue then change your setup and actions – not the cat’s.

    Let the cat on your desk and put the fan out of reach. Put a dust cover on your keyboard if you are that fussy.

  7. Marc!

    RIGHT ON!! That’s the best advice ever!! Good grief- some folks I tell ya just don’t have cat loving or wanting to understand them genes.

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