Human/Animal Bond

Why is There a Cat on my Computer?

Cats don’t care how they get your attention as long as they get it

Published: November 17, 2014
Photo by Dr. Wendy Smith Wilson<

Right now. It's happening RIGHT NOW.

There’s a cat on my arms. I’m trying to type on a laptop while speculating about why cats feel the need to sit directly between their caretakers and the computer screen, and The Terrorist has parked himself between my arms with his butt hanging over the trackpad. He's purring like a madman.

This is my life. Yours too?

You’ve heard the saying, “You make a better door than a window!” Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I know that lots of folks think that cats are aloof and independent. I scoff at that assessment. I’d lay good money down on a wager that cats don’t care how they get your attention as long as they get it, and in today’s society where virtually everyone spends significant time in front of a computer, what better way to get us to notice?t’s not quite as bad in the summertime. That’s more of a parade of cats briefly inserting themselves between me and the screen, as if saying, “Hey — ME. You need to look at ME.”

However, as the colder weather begins to creep in, the phenomenon progresses gradually from insistent to incessant to intolerable. There are days when there are two of them arguing about who’s going to sit between me and the keyboard. Occasionally there’s a truce where one gets the left arm and one gets the right; sometimes there’s a clear winner who plops himself dead center and settles in.

You might ask, why not just boot him out of there? Ah, this is hard to explain. And if you’re not a cat owner, it’s doubly difficult to comprehend. Imagine the cutest puppy in the world curled up in your lap with his little nose tucked between his paws and doing that little sighing thing they do when we presume they’re dreaming happy puppy dreams. It’s kind of like that. Cats are so darned cute when they’re sleeping; it’s obvious that they’re as content as it is possible for them to be, and you’re the source of that contentment.

Plus if you bug them, they might get mad. More than once I’ve suffered the indignation of a cat who put himself in MY way, then yelled at me for disturbing him by moving my hands. Hello??? Who’s in charge here???

Okay, maybe it’s not all about you. Maybe it’s the heat from the computer. The Boulder has tried to sleep on the laptop more than once; in fact, he tries to creep slowly in from the side and get his body up on the edge, one hair at a time. He sort of oozes his way up there. I’m pretty sure that’s about mechanically generated heat capture as he’s a pretty straightforward kind of guy.

The Terrorist actually tried to lift the barely-open laptop lid with his skull in order to see the screen while I was streaming a Netflix movie to my television . . . so maybe it’s the motion on the screen that he prefers?

Perhaps, though, there’s something more nefarious in these seemingly innocent antics. I’m thinking of all those cute videos of cats misbehaving on YouTube. Perhaps this is the source? Cat Selfies? They were tired of being treated TOO independently and decided, in their bid to take over the world, that the best way was to spread a campaign of cat adoration? Perhaps all that time in front of the screen has been a learning process.

I have a nifty program on the laptop that will snap a selfie any time that I might wish. Not really a selfie-type person, I’ve only used it once on the day that I discovered it, just to see what it would do. It has lain dormant since. Or so I thought. Perhaps this is what they have been seeking?

I can offer nothing of substance as proof of my suspicions. Of course, the theory otheadfjkopadsfn/]-0io;iuygfdsarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Okay, dude, you can sit here but you can’t type, doggone it. Stop that. Put that foot down. I mean it, mister.

(Heh. I don’t know how far they’re going to get if that’s all they’ve learned to spell.)

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