Analysing cat quirks has been a beloved pastime of their human counterparts since, well, forever. We can only imagine Cleopatra having her gold jewelry defiantly knocked off shelves, slow-blinking to show affection, and being awoken in the wee hours by her cat’s crazy zoomies.
But there’s one quirk that only became apparent in the modern age, and has become a primary subject of cat-owners’ musings during lockdown: Why are cats so drawn to laptops? In fact, the Laptop Cat trend became so big in 2020, it got its own entry on Know Your Meme, the internet’s collator of all things viral and trendy.
But you don’t need to go much further than your own social media feed to find examples of cats taking over their owners’ workspaces:
Monday morning cat/workstation struggle continues – cat takes possession of laptop, notepad and iPad. pic.twitter.com/cLKlyX1G1E
— Robert Ward (@RobertAlanWard) July 6, 2020
My apologies to anyone who has received anything that may have made actual sense from me this evening….😂 pic.twitter.com/Im3SbEZwFv
— Tracey Crouch (@tracey_crouch) November 3, 2020
— Mama cat and Fam (@mamacatandfam) August 6, 2020
Why do cats like laptops?
According to Kristyn Vitale, an expert in animal behaviour from the Oregon State University Human-Animal Interaction Lab, the research cannot definitively say why cats like sitting on laptops. “Every cat is an individual, so we cannot assume that all cats engage in this behavior for the same reason,” she says.
But, despite this, the internet’s cat owners have come up with their own (admittedly non-scientific) hypothesis:
- Mirroring: This theory says that cats like to be around your laptop because they’re mirroring your behaviour. According to TikTok user @bestcoastbaby, if you get your cat their own laptop they’ll stop using yours (her viral video with over 1,1 million Likes is below). While we can’t say whether or not this is true, it is a pretty pricey experiment to get your cat their own laptop.
- Attention: Because our cats notice us spending so much time hunched over our laptops throughout the day (and even into the night), it’s possible that they’ve decided that laptops are stealing too much of our attention away from them. Therefore, plopping themselves on top is the best way to get the spotlight of our affection back on them.
- Warmth: This one is a little less exciting, but just as likely. Laptops are like a mini heating-pad and some cats may simply like lounging on a consistent source of warmth.
@bestcoastbabyHe’s got a lot of business to take care of now 😂♬ original sound – That bitch