Introduction: Anti-Keyboard Cat Attack Mat (AKCAM)

About: "Black socks and Birkenstocks do not maketh the geek. I would argue that the essence of geekitude comes from within. To the true geek, it's not enough that things work. He or she must know how things work. And…

All you cat owners out there know exactly what I’m talking about when it comes to cats and keyboards!

Cats are naturally attracted to the keyboard if we need to type. And you know that it’s impossible to resist the cutest factor of a cat to try and get it to move. BTW, taking a photo of a cat is nearly impossible. Someone needs to do an instructable on that.

And yes, I'm confident that Pookie (my cat) was sticking her tongue out at me when I was trying to take this photo!


The Anti-Keyboard Cat Attack Mat (AKCAM)

This simple and handy device is the best of both worlds. Your cat will think it’s in your way, but you don’t need to move them to keep working. So you can work with you furry friend just inches from you!

Best of all, this is made from less than a single pallet with simple tools. So anyone can make one with very little time and resources. Note, this whole process (while also taking photos) took less than two hours. I did use power tools, but they aren’t needed (it will just take longer.)

One other side benefit, the AKCAM will help you become a better typer by not letting you peek at the keyboard.

Don’t forget to vote in the Cats contest! (and the reclaimed wood contest!)

So, without further delay, I give you the The Anti-Keyboard Cat Attack Mat (AKCAM)

Step 1: What You Need

OK, this instrucable can be made with a few simple tools (see the first photo.) If you have power tools, you can use them as well.


  • Safety glasses (NOT AN OPTION)
  • Screwdriver (or screw gun)
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Tape Measure
  • Saw
  • Staple gun (not photographed, my bad.)


  • Pallet (or other wood)
  • Wood Screws
  • Staples
  • carpet (optional)

Step 2: Measure the Work Space

First, measure the work space. Remember to include enough room for the mouse (cats love mice!)

Make it high enough to have your hands under it.

If you aren't a touch typist, make it narrower so you can use the angle from your eyes to the keyboard to still see the keys.

After a while, this will help you become a touch typist however!

My measurements were 31" wide, 12" deep and 5 3/4" high.

Step 3: Get the Wood

See my other instructable about the quickest way to reclaim pallet wood here...

5 Minute Reclaimed Wood: The Fastest Way to Get Wood from a pallet!

This will help you get the wood you need in no time!

You can use other wood also, but I love to recycle when I can!

What you need are planks longer than your 'width' measurement.

Step 4: Start Cutting

Ok, this is where we make big boards into smaller boards.

Cut the planks to your 'width' dimension. Also cut 2 boards to your 'height' X 'depth' dimensions.

I cut 4 planks to 31" (then I ripped one down to make them 12" total width.)

I cut 4 more planks to 12", then I attached them end to end and ripped them to the 5 3/4" height.

Then cut one more board less than your 'depth' measurement and angle the sides if you can. For me this was a 12" board.

Step 5: Start Assembly

Lay your planks together to form the 'shelf'.

Since I hate waiting for glue to dry, here is my shortcut...

Working with your board upside down, take the extra 'depth' cut board with the mitered sides and lay that over the center of the bottom side of the shelf. Now staple or nail them together (make sure your fasteners are shorter than the combined thickness of the two pieces of wood or the nails will go through.)

* I made the mistake while making mine by not putting the narrow plank in the middle. But the way I finished it, it doesn't matter. Flip it over and use two pieces of scrap to support the end and you are ready for the next step.

Step 6: Sand, Sand, Sand, and More Sanding!

Start sanding the top side of your shelf (and the side pieces as well.)

With pallet wood, it is not uncommon to have the planks 'cup' on the edges. This means LOTS of sanding.

Note, we are ultimately going to cover the shelf, so this doesn't need to be perfect, just flat-ish.

If you are hand sanding, make sure you use a sanding block to help speed the process.

Step 7: Assemble the Legs

There are many ways to make the sides. You can cut out neat designs, or leave it full like mine. It's up to you.

I leave my stuff full until after I use it for a while. I can always cut them down later, but it's harder to add the wood back. 8>)

I counter sank screws into each board. Again, you can use nails or glue if you want. Note, if you are using screws, you most likely will have to pre-drill the holes to prevent cracking and splitting of the wood.

Note, you need not go crazy sanding the bottom of the shelf. I like leaving it natural so the piece retains its character.

Step 8: Add the "icing!"

There are many ways to finish the top of the shelf. Go with what you like. Maybe you want to leave it plain and lay a towel or blanket over it. Maybe you want to add a small lip around the edge and put a pillow on it.

This screamed "CARPET" to me. My cats love carpet (and lettuce for some reason.)

Lay the shelf on the carpet to make the marks. Note the corners. Again, you can do this many different ways, so let your creative side speak to you.

One note, if you cut out the corners like I did, DON'T throw them away. We'll use them also! (Did I mention I love to reuse and recycle?)

Now roll and staple the carpet to the underside of the shelf.

Step 9: Put the Paws, Er, I Mean Feet on the Shelf.

Using the cutoffs from the carpet, staple them on the bottom of the legs for feet to prevent scratching of your desk!

Flip it over and enjoy your work.

Step 10: Put It in Place and Enjoy With Your Kitty Friend(s).

Seriously, I swear that it was less than 4 minutes from when I placed the AKCAM in place to when the cat was laying on it.

In fact, I checked the photo date/time stamp. The two photos here are only 3 minutes and 42 seconds apart...

6/2/2016 / 20:55:56
6/2/2016 / 20:59:38

AND, the picture with the cat wasn't the first one I took, that was just the best one after she sniffed and got comfortable. Pookie was on the AKCAM less than two minutes from when I placed it down WITHOUT any prompting!

Also note, I am only able to create this 'ible because I'm using the AKCAM and Pookie is laying on it right now!

DON'T FORGET TO VOTE FOR ME IN THE CAT CONTEST (and the reclaimed wood contest also.)

Cat Challenge 2016

Runner Up in the
Cat Challenge 2016

Reclaimed Wood Contest 2016

Participated in the
Reclaimed Wood Contest 2016