A game of cat and Mouse Keys on the Mac

Fluffy can be thwarted by changing an accessibility setting.

macbook pro keyboard command button
Leif Johnson/IDG

Today's Best Tech Deals

Picked by Macworld's Editors

Top Deals On Great Products

Picked by Techconnect's Editors

A pressing issue among many Mac users is, “How do I keep my cat from enabling settings when they bat at or sleep on the keyboard?”

One reader in particular discovered his kitty keeps pressing the Option key when he’s not keeping her off it. If you have a certain Accessibility feature enabled, pressing the Option key five times in a row lets you use several centrally located keys to move a cursor around in lieu of another input peripheral.

While the feature is turned on, you can’t type with those keys, a problem for this reader because the movement keys include a character in his password.

That feature? Mouse Keys. Yes, the cat is playing with Mouse Keys.

It’s an easy problem to solve, however. Open the Accessibility preference pane, click the Mouse & Trackpad item in the list, and then uncheck Enable Mouse Keys. To make it stick, click Options and uncheck the box Press the Option Key Five Times to Toggle Mouse Keys.

mouse trackpad accessibility macos IDG

When the user’s away, the cat will play, but you can also opt to lock your screen  > Lock Screen when you leave your computer unattended.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Mark.

Ask Mac 911

We’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked most frequently along with answers and links to columns: read our super FAQ to see if your question is covered. If not, we’re always looking for new problems to solve! Email yours to mac911@macworld.com including screen captures as appropriate, and whether you want your full name used. Every question won’t be answered, we don’t reply to email, and we cannot provide direct troubleshooting advice.

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.
Shop Tech Products at Amazon