How to Fix Common Tech / Computer Issues Caused By Cats

Has your cat ever run across your keyboard — leaving you with a cat-tastrophe? Here's how to fix the most common computer / tech issues caused by cats.

We tell you how to solve four common keyboard problems. Photography ©DjelicS | Getty Images.
We tell you how to solve four common keyboard problems. Photography ©DjelicS | Getty Images.

As I worked on my laptop, my cat leaped up and placed her furry black butt on my keyboard. She was hungry and, deadline be damned, wanted to be fed NOW. Immediately, my screen went black. I didn’t get a panicky feeling in my chest until after I’d removed her from the laptop and couldn’t get my screen back. I tried jiggling my mouse, hit the space bar, frantically pounded on the ESC key. Nothing.

Finding answers to tech problems

A lot of cat owners go online in search of IT help when their cats put them in a tech crisis. Photography ©Drazen | Getty Images.
A lot of cat owners go online in search of IT help when their cats put them in a tech crisis. Photography ©Drazen | Getty Images.

As I do with all tech questions I have, I went to Google. On my smartphone, I typed in “cat sat on keyboard now screen is black” and found a solution to my problem (see below). I was relieved at how quickly and simply my IT problem was solved, but what struck me most was that I wasn’t alone.

Apparently, many, many people have gone online in search of IT help when their cats have put them in technology crisis mode, because I found a ton of similar hits, some of which read like this:

  • “Help! Cat sat on keyboard!”
  • “Cat ran over keyboard and my screen has turned black and white.”
  • “My cat sat on the keyboard and now everything on my screen is GIANT.”
  • “Cat walked on my laptop — now a sideways screen.”
  • “Cat walked on the keyboard again.”

There are IT support forums all over the internet tackling requests like mine. According to the most recent pet owner’s survey of the American Pet Products Association, 47.1 million households in the United States have at least one cat. That’s a lot of potential for cat-related IT mishaps. (Just a thought: This could be how cats will execute their world domination plan.)

In order to help the countless human companions of cats with the anxiety and sheer panic caused by IT — dare I say it? — cat-tastrophes — here are the four most common cat-related IT mishaps and their simple solutions.

1. Crazy things happen when you type

Your text appears in all capital letters or it randomly highlights or even disappears, and your windows keep minimizing. This insanity is caused by “sticky keys” says Jaco Toledo Gerrish, a systems engineer with a technology blog at It’s caused by hitting (or in this case, probably sitting on) the shift key five times in a row.

To fix this in Windows, says Jaco, tap the shift key five times. You should hear four beeps, and the sticky keys feature should turn off. (This feature is enabled by default in Windows but not on Macs. Mac users will have to manually enable it.)

2. Your screen is sideways or upside down

This is probably the most common cat-caused IT problem, say IT support specialists. It happens when your cat miraculously hits the Ctr, Alt (Option) and one of the arrow keys all at the same time. Your screen will flip in the direction of whichever arrow key your cat lands on.

To fix it, you need to hit the Ctrl, Alt (Option) and Up Arrow keys all at the same time.

3. Your screen goes black

What do you do when suddenly faced with a black computer screen? Photography ©Oleksandr Briagin | Getty.
What do you do when suddenly faced with a black computer screen? Photography ©Oleksandr Briagin | Getty.

A blackened or darkened screen is likely caused by your cat hitting the decrease brightness key, says Marcel Vachon, owner of CIO Main Street, a tech consulting company based in Maine. Marcel has experienced this situation firsthand.

When his cat, Butterscotch, interfaced with his keyboard and his screen went black, he didn’t know what happened at first. (It is reassuring to know that even IT specialists have that moment of bewilderment when faced with trying to determine just what their cat did to cause whatever is happening on their computers.)

In this case, simply tapping on the increase brightness key will restore your screen, he says.

4. What once was black is now white

Your cat has somehow inverted the colors on your screen. To restore your regular colors, use the magnifier feature, which has an option for turning on color inversion, and thus restoring your screen colors, says AJ Santos, owner of technology services company TechOTG in Orlando, Florida.

Press and hold the Windows key and then press and release the + (plus) key. Release the Windows key. The magnifier should be on now, which you’ll notice because everything on your screen will be really large.

To return your screen to normal size, press and hold the Windows key and press and release the – (minus) key until the screen reduces to whatever size is acceptable to you. To turn color conversion on and restore your normal screen colors, press the Ctrl, Alt and i keys.

On Macs, the option for inverting colors is in the Accessibility Options. Shortcut should be Option + Command + F5. See the display option here:

Tell us: What crazy tech / computer issues has your cat caused? How did you fix them?

Thumbnail: Photography ©DjelicS | Getty Images.

Stephanie Bouchard is a Maine-based freelance pets writer trying to protect her laptop from further cat incursions. Find her at stephanie

Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in Catster magazine. Have you seen the new Catster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting area of your vet’s office? Click here to subscribe to Catster and get the bimonthly magazine delivered to your home.

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13 thoughts on “How to Fix Common Tech / Computer Issues Caused By Cats”

  1. My cat laid on my laptop when I was out of the room and now some of the punctuation keys don{t do what they{re supposed to do, like the apostrophe, as you can see. And the question mark gives me an underscore. Don{t know how to fix this, lol.

  2. My cat walked across the keys and and set it to flight mode, now as soon as I boot up starts with flight mode. I can turn it off okay but just so annoying, even coming from 'sleep'Sleep.

  3. Windows key got disabled after a cat walked on your keyboard?
    Try the Function (Fn) + Windows key (Win). My cats disable my windows key all the time.

  4. I have been plugging my computer into my tv with HDMI cord and came home from work and now the screen on laptop goes black when plugged into tv. Its black on laptop but image is showing up on tv. I tried googling but cant figure it out help please.

  5. When I was gone my cat got on my laptop, I can tell because there was cat hair. My entire background is black now including the taskbar but on the taskbar it is outlined white. Everything I open is base color black and blends in very well with the background, all of my icons still have there color. It is not inverted I tried it. Oh and I can no longer use my control key to change my volume, brightness, ect.

  6. I kept hearing a clicking sound for each keystroke and the typing was super slow. Start, search for filter keys, and turns out the kitten I’m fostering had inadvertently turned that on.
    Hope this helps someone. When I tried googling I found a very unhelpful troubleshooting sequence that started with checking the hardware, uninstalling etc. No we need a compilation of shortcuts so we can search through them to try to undo them.

  7. Pingback: Solucionar Problemas Informáticos Causados Por Los Gatos

  8. Pingback: My Laptop Screen Turned Sideways

  9. Saved! I typed into my kindle ‘cat sat on MacBook screen won’t turn on ‘, with a queasy feeling in my tummy.
    One of my two foster kittens , 3 mos old, planted herself squarely on the keyboard – far from the first time she’s done this but the only time something possibly terrible happened .
    My joy at finding exactly what I needed was matched by my amusement at how many people searches for similar.
    *Thanks* for this post- and back to work I go.

  10. My cat was watching Cat TV and tried to catch the ducks and not only stepped all over the keyboard but bit the corner of the screen and cracked it, about 5 inch down the side. Now, when I turn it on or back from sleep mode, the screen is ‘jittering’ and these floating bubbles are mostly at the upper portion of the screen and I can not (except with much difficulty) enter my PIN to get back in. The cursor will not land on the PIN sign in field long enough for me to enter it. I just fiddled with it for about a half hour and was able to get in. Once I’m in everything works ok. Any help is appreciated.

  11. Pingback: How to Fix Common Tech / Computer Issues Caused By Cats | CatsMinds

  12. I’ve learned to place a folder over the keyboard so that my cat Lily can lie on the computer and not mess things up while I work.

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