Why Do Cats Sit on Laptops?

No, your cat doesn’t want to steal your job by occupying your keyboard. So why does your cat sit on your laptop?

Feb 15, 2024By Monika Dimitrovska
why do cats sit on laptops

Working from home has become the norm these last few years, and while it has many perks, it also comes with some downsides, such as your cat sitting on your laptop.

We all love our furry companions, but we must admit that they’re strange in many ways. Luckily, we have cat behaviorists who can explain the reasons behind the bizarre things they do, including sitting on laptops or and keyboards.

So, why do cats sit on laptops? In short, the warmth of the laptop isn’t the sole reason. Experts suggest that it’s because of your cat’s possessive nature. Let’s learn more!

Why Do Cats Sit on Laptops?

cat sitting on a laptop
Image credit: Simon Hrozian from Unsplash

Many people assume that cats copy our behavior, which is why they interfere with our work, but that’s likely not true. Your cat doesn’t just see you working on your laptop and decides to earn their Whiskas.

Although some studies suggest that cats imitate human behavior, experts say that felines don’t easily mimic the action of typing. This explains why your furry friend isn’t interested in the decoy laptop but yours.

Additionally, they don’t care about the heat your laptop emits. Yes, cats enjoy the heat, but you ask yourself, why aren’t they sitting by the radiator and choosing your keyboard instead?

Well, here’s the final answer: your scent. Or, to be more specific, the scent you deposit on your laptop. You don’t know it’s there. But your cat does!

Cats have special noses because of their 200 million scent receptors, so they can easily recognize the scent of their owners, among many other things.

But that’s not where things end. You might assume that your feline invades your space because they like your scent and miss you while you’re working.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

cat and owner cuddling
Image credit: Samsung Memory from Unsplash

Cats are Possessive

As you probably know, cats have a possessive nature. They’re territorial creatures, so they scent mark everything they “own,” including their owners. That’s why your cat rubs against you in the first place.

Yes, cats rub against their favorite humans or things because that’s their love language, but it’s also their way of expressing ownership.

That’s why your cat sits on your laptop! They want to replace your scent with their own, showing you who’s the boss. However, if your cat is sitting on your laptop after claiming ownership over you, here’s a breakdown of other possible reasons why:

white cat sitting on a laptop
Image credit: Trà My from Unsplash

It’s the Perfect Napping Spot

Cats love sleeping in unusual places, especially hot ones! That’s why they take naps in your lap.

However, when working, they can’t do that, which is why they might occupy the closest body of heat in their proximity: your laptop.

Craving Attention

Cats love their alone time because they’re solitary animals. However, they also have moments of loneliness and boredom, especially indoor cats. That’s when they become somewhat jealous of your laptop and take it over in hopes of getting your attention.

If your cat plays with your laptop, sits on it while looking at you, or meows while hanging around, they’re probably in the mood for some laser-chasing or cuddling.

Is it Okay for My Cat to Sit on My Closed Laptop?

cat sitting on a computer
Image credit: Andrii Ganzevych from Unsplash

It depends! If your cat meows a lot while sitting on your laptop, they might have feline anxiety. In this case, you should call your vet and ask for advice.

If your cat just chills all over your laptop without displaying symptoms of feline anxiety or health issues, don’t worry about it. Your laptop can’t harm your cat in any way. Still, you should regularly disinfect your laptop after every cat invasion.

How to Keep Your Cat Off Your Laptop

kitten looking at laptop
Image credit: riis riiiis from Unsplash

The following tips and tricks can help keep your furry companion off your laptop without causing anger or anxiety. If your cat experiences feline anxiety, crate training might help!

Create a Napping Area

If you want your cat to leave your laptop alone, we suggest creating a comfortable spot near your workstation where they can relax. For instance, you can place a cat hammock or a cat tree within your hand’s reach and see how your cat reacts.

Alternatively, if you suspect that your furry friend sleeps all over your keyboard because it’s warm, try setting up a heated cat bed near your desk.

You can also take advantage of natural warmth if you’re working in front of a window. Add a cat hammock or window seat, and they can enjoy the sun’s warmth while hanging out with their favorite human.

Playtime Before Settling in for Your Work Session

Indoor cats need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. Otherwise, they get annoying and clingy.

So, we suggest playing with your feline as much as possible before sitting down for your work session. That way, your furry companion will sleep for most of the day, as intended (they’re crepuscular). This can also help prevent boredom in indoor cats.

black and white cat green background
Image credit: Manja Vitolic from Unsplash

Reward Good Behavior

If nothing helps and your cat still acts like your laptop is theirs, cut off attention.

When your cat is sending unintelligible messages in your Slack, don’t pick them up or pet them. Instead, ignore them and walk away. Your cat will likely follow you out.

Once they do, lead them to their resting spot and reward them with a treat the moment they sit on it. If you’re consistent with this, your feline will learn that leaving your laptop alone results in treats.


cat sleeping near laptop
Image credit: Ioana Tabarcea from Unsplash

Well, there you have it! Generally, most cats sit on laptops because they smell like their beloved owner, and since they’re possessive, they replace their owner’s smell with their own.

However, if this behavior turns into a habit, please try our prevention tips above so that you can work without distractions. If nothing works, consult your vet or a cat behaviorist for advice.

Lastly, remember that punishing your cat is never a good idea. Cats benefit your health in many ways, so you can forgive them for occasionally occupying your laptop.

Monika Dimitrovska
By Monika Dimitrovska

Monika is a pet enthusiast and seasoned copywriter with a tech degree. She loves writing, but her heart belongs to her two mixed dogs, Buba and Bono, a mother-son duo. Bono’s siblings found loving homes, sparking Monika’s advocacy for neutering and deepening her curiosity about animal care.

But Monika’s pet family doesn’t end there. She also has two cockatiels and two rescue cats, proving her home is a haven for creatures big and small.