I’ve noticed whenever I need to get up or I’m about to get up, my cat always gets so cozy with me. There’s no way it’s routine, because this happens at random times. It just is confusing me, and it seems like he just knows when I’m about to get up. Does this happen to anyone else or is it just me? Is this normal? What is going on?
Probably confirmation bias.
Odds are, the cat is not lying down next to you every time you're about to get up. There are times when you get up without the cat lying down next to you, and time when the cat lies down next to you when you're not about to get up. However, because those times aren't remarkable, you don't remember them. Instead, you remember the times when the cat lies down next to you when you're about to get up. This is a flaw in human thinking known as confirmation bias, and you can see it in a broad range of human endeavors.
If you want a definitive answer to why this occurs, you need to ensure that it is actually occurring, and that means that you need to numerically track every time you sit down, every time your cat sits down next to you, and whether they're sitting down next to you when you're about to get up.
Your cat isn't clairvoyant, it doesn't know you are about to get up. It just knows that you are part of its family and a comfy place to sleep. You may be connecting dots that aren't there. In my experience it's very normal for a cat to make itself comfortable on you at the most inopportune times.
Maybe the cat is thinking "jeeze, every time I get comfortable, they get up to leave" and wonder if that is odd... More likely than not it's your brain thinking "great, now the cat is on me and I have to pee/hungry/answer phone/etc..." and drawing the opposite conclusion (you think the cat is on you because you have to get up, when in fact you have to get up because the cat is on you).
Your cat is reacting to your pre-get-up activity: becoming a bit more active, moving stuff aside, deeper breath, whatever it is that you do before you get up.
And he knows that if he comes at that time, it will be cuddles, which he likes, so he'll come.
The solution is simple: Build a different expectation.
You can do any of these:
- Refuse to cuddle when the cat comes.
- Give a quick cuddle.
- Give a long cuddle if getting up quickly isn't that important.
Whatever your priority is. Find out whatever it is that you yourself really want, and the cat will adapt. (They are very good at figuring out what the "Big Ones" are going to do next; they have to, as a small animal that isn't good at that won't survive for long. And they read everything: activity level, breathing rhythm, pheromones, whatever.)
You had finally sat still long enough for you to be a reasonable place to sit. And according to Murphy's law that's just about when you need to go to the bathroom.
Cats have to wait for you to get comfy, otherwise they can't. Mine are trained to come when I pat the area that I'm inviting them to. Which signals that I'm committed to not moving until they do. Until then they just stare at me, waiting. They're also trained to get up when I say 'q-me, so I can do a reasonable amount of moving around before they'll skedaddle, and they never balk.
I understand the OP already accepted nick01200's answer describing confirmation bias, but I just want to point out a couple things.
First of all, what nick01200 is describing is not a Confirmation Bias.
Confirmation Bias is:
the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one's prior beliefs or values.
In layman's term, you believe what you want to believe.
OP claims that "My cat lies down on me whenever I am about to get up".
nick01200 said that OP's claim is a case of Confirmation Bias because "you remember only the remarkable occasions".
The tendency to remember only the remarkable occasions is NOT the same thing as the tendency to recall information in a way that supports one's claim. In fact, that's just part of our learning process. "Remarkable" events fires off more neurons in our brain, which makes it easier to form a memory.
If OP was intentionally or unintentionally recollecting only the occurences when the cat lied down on them, it would be more like "cherry picking";
the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position while ignoring a significant portion of related and similar cases or data that may contradict that position
Having said that, even if OP does count all occurences without cherry picking, there is still an issue of defining what "about to get up" means.. and then there's number bias.
Probably not confirmation bias
Under the assumption that there is absolutely no physical movement involved in "about to get up", there is an underlying belief within the claim "My cat lies down on me whenever I am about to get up".
Which is, "a cat is able to interpret human behavior and act in a way interpretable by human".
If OP believes that OP's cat can understand OP's behavior, OP is likely to believe OP's cat can interact with OP - for example, cat is messing with OP by sitting on OP when OP needs to get up.
This would be an example of interpreting information in a way that confirm one's prior belief.
However, without the assumption, it may simply be a cat reacting to a sound, sight, or movement. It could also be heat.
nick01200 is right in the sense that OP needs to keep track of occurences - not just count them, but also include all minor/major details. Like, are you on your couch, did you just place the plate down next to you, did you yawn, did you shift your body, etc.
Like all other answers on here, it's likely that OP is making certain cues that OP's cat is picking up on.
I'm not sure if you're asking how it knows you're about to get up, or whether, having anticipated your behavior, what its intentions are once it gets on your bed. Cats are very curious. So my first guess to the latter interpretation is just to gain more information or to enjoy the warm spot you leave behind.
Cats and dogs (pets) are very perceptive with regard to behavior and smell. It's just a possibility that, as a leading member of the pack or pride, the cat senses your mental agitation, or hears bodily agitation, or smells your tension or adrenaline increase as you think about all the things you need to do, which may seem like you're nervous or agitated and in need of 'chilling out', so the cat responds by doing what cats do instinctively, to either find out what the problem is or to calm you down, or maybe to find out if it involves that animal.
A dog might get excited just before you get up for the same reason, in that it knows the signals you give off before you get up. In a dog's case it gets excited because it wants you to play.
Cats in the wild like to be very calm because cats hunt by ambush, which requires mental and physical calmness to be as stealthy as possible. It's a sign of safety too. So if you're agitated, that alone might be cause for trying to calm you, or find out the problem. If the pride is moving, then it jumps on the bed for more information. These all follow the premise that the cat is good at anticipating your behavior, which really isn't any stretch. We anticipate the behaviors of others. We know animals do. Their senses can by thousands of times more perceptive. This is fact. This is how the cat knows you're about to get up.
But having determined that the cat is interested in anticipating your behavior of getting up, the question remains what it hopes to gain by jumping on the bed with you, but we can be certain that it wants more information. Cats are nothing if not curious.
The multitude of cat videos prove that cat behaviors can be very difficult to put logic or reason to. Guessing what a cat thinks can elude you for its entire life, but they do develop habits, just like people.
Animals that know you are even more amazingly perceptive. They really can predict an onset of seizures, cancer, emotional agitation and other personal details that are kind of embarrassing.
If you want to get into what it wants by predicting this particular behavior, try to come up with different reasons for getting up. Try altering your thoughts or maybe pay close attention to the sounds you make. Try not getting up and then pay close attention to its behavior without touching it and try to keep your mind blank. See what it's trying to find out, or if it just wants the warm spot you leave behind. Cats like high places. Try giving it a higher comfortable place to sleep and to watch you and maybe it has no need to jump on the bed.
You've got to figure this out on your own, but you've got plenty of ideas. :-)
(I just deleted pages of boring commentary and thought, experience, etc. You're welcome.)
Animal behavior is very interesting, isn't it?
This is completely normal. Your cat has learned when you are active, and being active means cuddling.
If you're reading a book or watching a series, chances are you're quite passive. At the beginning and end of these activities however, there's a chance for your cat to get some interaction.
Our cat, for example, shows up when it hears the Netflix intro/outros.
This is all normal, so there is no need of worrying. I am pretty sure that your cat has a very strong relationship with you. The cat probably wants to always stay with you. My grandmother’s dog always eats when my grandma is eating. The dog also always follows her around and lays down next to her all of the time. I don’t think there is a scientific explanation for this, but I am pretty sure that your cat just wants to spend with you because of its strong relationship between the both of you.
This is quite normal for cats. This shows your cat is affectionate to you! This is a good thing in terms of relationship but not good for you personally trying to get on with your day.
Maybe whenever you get up and do an action or say something and they get off, you give them a treat so they learn to get off your lap to be awarded with treats. If you don’t like awarding your cat, pet him/her for a bit and then correctly carry them off your lap onto a nearby bed or chair or carpet. Sometimes they can tell from your scent to get off.
In conclusion, teaching with treats is the most efficient way and the most happy thing for your cat though it is expensive to buy treats but it works the best.