Why Do Cats Like Laptops So Much?

Beautiful young yellow Maine Coon cat working on laptop.
credit: DjelicS/iStock/GettyImages

You've sat down to check your email, maybe look up a recipe for the holidays and right as you are about to start typing, two sets of furry paws start tromping across your keyboard. Yup, your cat has walked across your laptop keyboard. Again. Maybe they've even sat down right on the keys, spelling out "ajhfuehwfbqfurgfq3g43".

Since you know that you cat is not a novelist, the age old question stands. Why do cats love to be on our laptops so much? Turns out, there are a few different reasons why.

Texturally interesting

Cats are attracted to soft things, which is why they enjoy kneading soft pillows and blankets. Although your keyboard is not soft, the keys themselves do give when pressed, resulting in a similar sensation that cats enjoy. And when you type... it kind of looks like you are kneading your keyboard. So when they see you tapping away on your keyboard, those keys are just too tempting to pass up and look like they need a good kneading. Don't worry, your feline friend is ready to help.

Curious White Persian cat trying to use a laptop
credit: happyphoton/iStock/GettyImages

A warm place to walk

Cats like to be warm. It's why they love to lay in sunny spots. And your keyboard is warm. Not terribly warm, but still warmer then the cold hard floor, and thanks to all that typing you've been doing, your laptop is chugging away, heating things up. Your cat knows that, so just like how a cat steals your warmed seat when you get up, your cat might be similarly interested in "stealing" your keyboard.

Territorial tendencies

Whether we want to admit it or not, our cats are territorial. But not in a mean way (well, maybe sometimes not in the most polite way). The way cats claim their territory is through scent and pheromones. Which is why they might walk across your laptop and rub their tail or head against the screen as they saunter by. They are not-so-gently saying "hope you enjoy working on MY computer, human." even though, they do not actually know how to work the computer. In cat world, by rubbing your computer and walking across it, your computer is now theirs.

They don't want you to know they want your attention, but they want your attention

cat asleep on a black keyboard
credit: Benjamin44/iStock/GettyImages

They don't want you to know they want your attention, but they want your attention

Yes, it could just be that simple. They see the computer, which you are very focused on, and your cat feels jealous. Or they simply want to be near their favorite person: you! "How could my human be doing anything but yearning to pet me?" So in an effort to remind you that you should be focusing on the most important thing in the room (them), they walk across the keyboards so you take notice. Subtle? No. Effective? Well… you did notice them.

The takeaway

No, your cat isn't trying to type you a message, but they might be giving you some nonverbal messages about their need for warmth, textural stimulation, or attention.

However, if you need to get some work done can't take the incessant keyboard walking anymore, you have some options. One effective method is to set up a cozy little pillow or pile of blankets next to you. My cats even love if I just put a sheet of paper out for them to sit on (we'll get into that in another article).

If your cat is insistent upon a keyboard to lay on, you can go a step further and set up a decoy keyboard. Yes, this is a real thing that people do, and it seems to work!

Cat sleeping, resting on computer keyboard.
credit: Sonja Filitz/iStock/GettyImages

Keep in mind that your cat just wants to be cozy and near you. That's not so wrong! So maybe give them that option, because let's face it: you wanna be near them too. You just need to finish answering those emails first!