by Soojin Um
If you spend a lot of time on your laptop at home, whether you’re working on a project or just relaxing and surfing the net, you may often find your feline friend spending a lot of time right in front of you. In fact, your cat could be trying to lay down on the keyboard while you’re trying to read this. This is nothing new, of course. But why do cats do it? Why laptops? It’s an intriguing question, and one that leads to some equally intriguing answers.
Despite their stoic demeanor, cats are actually very affectionate. They want to spend time with you, and they want their love to be reciprocated. When you’re typing and clicking away, engrossed in your work, your cat may be a little jealous of the computer. According to various experts, your cat may be curious about what it is that’s taking up all of your attention.
Speaking of attention, your cat will want it all to themselves and not share it with something else. When they jump up onto your computer, they definitely have gotten your attention and they know it. If you talk to your cat or pet him, or interact in any way, you may have just reinforced that behavior. Your cat now knows this is how to get your attention.
Cats, like a lot of other animals, are also territorial. One way to mark their territory is by scent marking (and hopefully it won’t be through urination). Cats may rub themselves on your computer to make sure you know that it’s theirs and not yours. They might figure, if you’re so interested in this metal and plastic contraption, you have to at least recognize that 1) it’s theirs, and 2) you have permission to use it.
Your laptop carries another scent – yours. Your cat will notice this and will be attracted to it. They like anything that reminds them of you, and your scent on objects will cause them to want to be around it. Objects that you touch often will smell like you the most, which may explain why cats are attracted to laptops and not so much the exercise equipment that’s gathering dust in the corner (maybe now’s not the best time to bring that up).
As if reminders of you aren’t enough, there are other things that attract your cat to your computer. Laptops can be warm if it’s been operating, and cats love warmth. This is evidenced by them laying out in sunlight even during the middle of summer. The screen also displays images and videos, and makes sounds, which could spark their curiosity. They might want to investigate what all these stimuli are about.
Your computer also has one other thing that’s attractive – a nice, pliable surface called the keyboard. The keys depress when your cat walks or lays down on it, and so the whole keyboard is like a memory foam mattress. That, plus the warmth and your scent, it’s the perfect trifecta that could be irresistible to your cat.
If, however, laying down on the computer could potentially be a problem, what is something you could do about it? Well, you could provide an alternate place for your cat to occupy that will not distract you from your work. Try setting up a bed on the desk next to the computer. This could be more comfortable for them while still being near you. It could also be a way for your cat to share in your activity rather than replacing it. Perhaps also you could try encouraging your cat to be on your lap instead of the laptop. That could be the best of both worlds for the both of you.
Please let us know your thoughts on this topic and/or give us feedback here or on Facebook.