Cat hates it when I sit at desk

laprof

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I've had Otis, a 1 year old male, for about a month and a half. He hates it when I sit at my desk! Clearly he thinks when I sit there he's not getting as much of my attention. Anyway, when I sit there, he gets on the floor and taps me with his paw a few times. Then, he'll often bite me (not breaking skin). It's very hard to ignore (and thus stop rewarding him for this behavior). I've even put a footrest or chair next to mine, and he'll sit there briefly, but eventually goes back to the floor and continues bugging me. :-) Does anyone have a suggestion for how to break this behavior? He doesn't bother me if I'm doing the same work on the couch or at the kitchen table (most of the time). Thanks!
 
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laprof

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I do have a small cat bed, although he's never used it. I'll put it on my desk. Any ideas on how to make it more attractive for him?
 

BeccaT

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I do have a small cat bed, although he's never used it. I'll put it on my desk. Any ideas on how to make it more attractive for him?
I've found that sometimes cats prefer the simpler things! My cats enjoy sleeping on the top corner of my desk, and I've tried to put a nice comfy bed there for them before or even a fluffier blanket, but they refuse to use it. If I put down a very flat blanket, or no blanket at all, they'll sleep there all day.
 
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laprof

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Well I tried with the bed and then swapped it out for a small blanket. So far, no dice. I moved to the kitchen table and it wasn't much better. I'm now in an armchair and he's sitting behind me on his cat tree. He just climbed on the folding table I'm using but I pushed him off. I realize I'm letting him dictate where I work....:rolleyes: Honestly there's a part of me that wants to lock him in a room with some toys for a short time when I really need to work. Not sure that's the best option, although that's what I do at mealtimes (because he would chase after my food after finishing his) and he doesn't complain about it anymore. But I'd rather get him to accept that I need to work at my desk. Anyway, thanks for any advice you can give.
 

ArtNJ

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Ah, thats a really annoying variant! We have all dealt with cats coming up and walking in front of the monitor, trying to sleep on the keyboard, all for similar reasons. But tapping you and biting is both arguably more annoying, and harder to deal with. If the "make a compy spot on the desk" strategy doesn't work, most of us fall back to the "put the cat down on the ground as many times as it takes for as many days/weeks as it takes" strategy, which obviously wont work for you. So I don't have a specific strategy customized to the little variant your cat has some up with.

Nonetheless, here are two suggestions based on general strategies. Pick the cat up and carry to another room would be one try, but I know it would be a huge PITA to potentially do that 100+ times over days/weeks. Another try would be to stomp your foot a bit or even use an air horn. If the cat is well bonded to you, there is no risk it will damage your bond. And it might succeed. However, the likely consequence would be to rule out the acceptable perch on the desk. Maybe thats the best you can do.
 

Robyn5678

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Mine loves my mouse pad haha. Not sure what time you work but can you have a pretty energetic play session before work so maybe he will sleep?
 

Luvyna

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My cat is like this too, he wants attention while I'm working or eating at a table. He will step on my computer, bite my computer, play with the wires, and try to initiate a wrestling match, which sometimes escalates to play biting (although not breaking the skin thankfully) as well.

A couple things have helped me:
  • I have a 10-20 minute interactive play session (throwing a toy for him to fetch, moving a toy for him to wrestle with, using a wand/fishing rod toy) with him and then feed him before I start working so he's sort of going into a post-play and food coma by the time I need to focus on work.

  • If he wants attention (for example, if your cat was at the stage of pawing you) I will give him some attention for a minute or two, let him sit in my lap, move a toy for him to chase, then if needed pick him up and move him to his designated "spot" (he has a cat tree next to my desk where he can sleep, and he also is allowed to sleep on my desk near me but not on my work). Sometimes this little bit of attention stops him from escalating to more annoying behaviours.

  • I got my cat a kicker toy for him to wrestle and bite and I keep it on my desk. If it starts to look like my kitten is going to bite (eyes and head locking onto my hand, pupils dilating, opening mouth slightly) I immediately throw the toy to him and he usually goes after that instead.

  • If your cat's teeth make contact with your skin, make a high-pitched "eeep!" sound like a kitten would when a playmate bites them too roughly. I also added an extra step where when my kitten bit me or my laptop, I would immediately get up with my laptop and move to a different location. It's cumbersome to do this but he surprisingly quickly got the message from this.
Good luck! I can relate to the struggle of trying to work with a cat that wants attention and I hope you're able to find a solution that works for you soon.
 

LTS3

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Can you place a desk-height cat tree next to the desk? Or attach one of those desk beds to the desk?

 

daftcat75

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I wish Betty would park on the desk. This desk is smaller than the one Krista called her own. I have a cat tree positioned next to the desk so she could easily get up here. But she looks at the clutter and says, "fluff it!" even before I can clear any space for her. This desk is too small. Tomorrow, while she is at the vet, I'll install the under-desk laptop mount to free up some space.

Until I can convince her to join me on the desk, she will park at my feet and meow until I turn some attention her way. Usually about ten or fifteen minutes of fuss (brushing and petting) is enough for her to get her fill and me to take a break. She gives me grumble meows when I have to wrap it up and return to working. But she got her fuss and will mope her way back out of the office until the next time she needs food or fuss.
 
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