Cats prefer to initiate interaction with you rather than the other way around. That’s why, while you’re working on your laptop (or reading the paper), they like to climb right on top of it as a way of demanding your attention. You are never more enticing than when you’re absorbed in something that is not them.
But there’s another reason cats like laptops in particular. When powered, they’re warm. And cats prefer the ambient temperature significantly warmer than we do. While our body temperature is about 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, their normal temperature is between 100 and 102 degrees. That means they’re more comfortable in warmer environments and will seek them out. Thus, while you may think of your laptop as an instrument for getting work done or tooling the Internet, to your cat, it’s a $1,000 heating pad.
Consider putting a cozy perch right next to where you work, where your cat can snuggle and you can absent-mindedly pet her from time to time as you hit the keyboard. Have some treats ready to reward her for staying off the computer while you’re creating a new routine you both will enjoy.