Why Do Cats Like Laptops?

By John Martin - September 16, 2021

Cat sleeping on laptop

With a surge of people working at home in the past year, you’ve most likely noticed that cats like to gravitate toward your laptop when you’re working, and they may even sit themselves right onto the keyboard to block your screen. There have been wild theories floating around about why your cat does this, but the actual answer may surprise you.

Why Do Cats Like Laptops?

Simply put, cats like sitting themselves in a variety of unusual places like on your keyboard or in that new Amazon Prime box because they have to be mindful of their thermoneutral zone. This zone is between 85 and 100-degrees, and it’s the range where they’re not expending energy to get warm or cool off. Cozy areas like blankets, boxes, or your laptop can help your cat keep their body temperature right in this zone, and this means that they’ll be more comfortable overall.

Also, the laptop is usually in your lap, and this is one of your cat’s favorite areas to nap. Since you concentrate and stare at your laptop screen for hours at a time when you’re working, your cat will get between you and the screen because they want your attention.

Long day at the office

4 Reasons Why Cats Like Laptops

Since your cat can’t come out and tell you exactly why they like parking themselves right on your laptop when you’re working or browsing the internet, all we have are educated guesses. However, there is some scientific evidence and cat experts that back up some of these reasons, and we’ll highlight them for you below.

1. You are Your Cat’s Person

Although your cat can be fond of everyone in the house, they typically only bond very strongly with one or two people at a maximum and tolerate everyone else in the house. If you’re your cat’s favorite person and you’re directing your attention to your laptop, your cat can come to get in the way as a way for them to gain your attention and keep it on them.

Not only do they get in your keyboard and press buttons, but they obscure your view of the screen, so you’re forced to interact with them to try and persuade them to move to another location so you can get some of your work done. You may see results if you take a few minutes to pay attention to your cat before going back to work.

Again, with the laptop

2. Your Cat is Trying to Regulate Their Thermoneutral Zone

As we mentioned earlier, the thermoneutral zone is the temperature range where your cat stays comfortable without having to use energy to heat up or cool down, and it usually hovers between 85 and 100-degrees. In comparison, a dog’s thermoneutral zone ranges from 68 to 95-degrees, and a human’s thermoneutral zone ranges from 64 to 72-degrees. So, it makes sense that cats get drawn to warmer places to help keep their temperatures.

Unfortunately for you, your laptop keyboard heats up nicely as you use it, and your cat likes to sit on it to help them stay at the correct temperature. This is also why you can find your cats sitting in the pools of sunlight, in warm blanket piles, or in your bed. You can try to set up a warm spot right by your work area to encourage your cat to go into this area instead of trying to take over your laptop.

Busy at work

Also Read: Why Does My Cat Smell My Eyes?

3. You Accidentally Reward Your Cat for Sitting on the Keyboard

Cats love attention, especially when it comes from their favorite human. When your cat gets on your keyboard and in your way, it’s common for you to reward them accidentally by paying attention to them, talking to them, or petting them. Eventually, your cat will learn that getting on the keyboard is a positive thing to do, especially when they get your attention each time they go up there. The more attention you give them for this behavior, the harder it can be to break this habit when you start to address it.

To fix this behavior, you can give your cat a desirable and comfortable spot to settle that is around you while being out of the way. You want to simultaneously reward and reinforce this wanted behavior by giving your cat attention and affection when they sit or lie in this area. Work on discouraging them from getting on your keyboard by making it difficult to get to or uncomfortable for them to sit on.

Purdey on the laptop

4. The Computer Setup is Stimulating

Moving your mouse across the screen, flipping from tab to tab, typing on the keyboard, and having video or audio files going can all be huge attractants to your cat. This is especially true if your cat is bored and not stimulated when you’re on your laptop or working from home. They could be drawn to this area because it gives them things to hear and look at, and they want to get closer to investigate.

This is a harder problem to tackle, but you can start by playing with your cat before you get on your laptop to help burn off some of their excess energy and stimulate them. Try to make your laptop a less desirable area for your cat to lounge by doing things like putting toys around the room away from you, making your laptop an uncomfortable place for them to be, or locking them out of your space as you work.


Also Read: Do Cats Like Blankets?

Bottom Line

Trying to get your work done while your cat waltz around your keyboard or parks themselves right in the middle of your screen can be frustrating, but there are several reasons why they could do this behavior. Maybe you’re your cat’s favorite person; they need to regulate their temperature since it’s higher, you’ve rewarded them in the past for the same behavior, or they find the computer stimulating. We’ve outlined several things you can do to try and curb this behavior, and you can end up with a happy and satisfied cat while you do your work undisturbed.