My cats aren’t shy about exposing themselves as the opportunists that they are. Never is this more apparent than when the temperatures start dropping and we’re into fall, heading toward winter. Although the cats are indoor-only, and although the house is a comfortable temperature, there is a noticeable change in the cats’ behaviors.

Here are five ways my cats change as the weather changes:

1. They are suddenly really interested in my lap

This is not to say that they don’t always love my lap, but my cats are definitely more proactive about seeking out warm lap time as the temperatures outside plummet. Even cats who are not particularly lap-obsessed during the rest of the year will suddenly become very interested in lap time.

In our household, an interesting thing happens in fall. If my husband and I sit down together on the futon (the only place in the house where we can sit together, except for the bed), several cats are instantly on our laps. There’s something about both of us sitting down together that creates a “sum is greater than the whole” scenario. We often have three or four cats pile into our laps when we sit down together. Tandem laps are apparently very tempting for a cat in the fall or winter, at least in our house.

2. Cats who couldn’t stand each other are now cuddling together

I’m exaggerating here, but just a little. Let’s just say that cat combinations that don’t usually happen are more apt to happen as the weather gets cold. Like all cat enthusiasts, I watch my cats with fascination. I love to observe their behaviors. When something new happens, it’s very interesting. So when I notice two cats cuddling that are usually pretty ambivalent about each other, I get excited (call me a cat nerd).

For example, Chester (orange tabby male) usually sleeps by himself in a cat bed. Lately I’ve caught him cuddling with Rama. Rama is usually also a loner. So I’m interested to see that these two seem, temporarily, to be tolerating and even liking cuddling next to each other.

Norton and Zorro are great buddies, but they are wrestling/play buddies. I’ve not seen them do any cuddling together. But this will be Zorro’s first winter with us. Perhaps their companionship will morph into a search for mutual body heat as the weather gets colder.

3. Lacking a lap, a well-placed fleece bed is very popular

I have three cat beds and I should probably have at least three more (one for each cat). The cats love these beds, but they especially start seeking them out as fall approaches. The cat beds with the higher walls seem to be more popular in this household. I have only once seen two of my cats squeeze into a cat bed, and both cats were pretty small at the time. Being cats, they love the beds more if they’re placed with some vertical height.

Cat beds by the fireplace are really popular in the fall and winter, and that seems to be one situation where a cat breaks his preference for a bed with some vertical height. If the cat bed is placed on the floor by a roaring fireplace, all is well with the world, and some very content cats vie for the best position in front of the fireplace — bed or no bed.

4. Burrowing becomes more popular

Isn’t it the cutest thing when your cat burrows under the covers of the bed? My cats do this in the winter, and they remind me of the sandworms in the Dune series. Sometimes the cats will simply hang out in one place under the covers; other times, they tunnel and move around. They always manage to get out of the bed, thankfully. My mother once taught me to tuck sheets in tightly on the side of beds, but I stopped doing it long ago, and it’s probably good as it prevents cats from getting stuck in the bed.

5. Lacking a lap, a fireplace is a huge cat magnet

If no laps are available, a fireplace, woodstove, pellet stove, etc., are huge cat magnets. My cats used to fight for the best position in front of the fireplace. Before I had my assortment of cat beds, I had a rug that we put in front of the woodstove. The cats would fight for the best position on the rug. Leave it to cats — always jockeying for limited resources!

So, what do your cats do as winter approaches? Do they get more cuddly? Exhibit other different behaviors? Share your stories in the comments!

More by Catherine Holm:

About Catherine Holm: Told that she is funny but doesn’t know it, accused of being an unintentional con artist by her husband, quiet, with frequent unannounced bursts into dancing liveliness, Cat Holm loves writing about, working for, and living with cats. She is the author of The Great Purr (cat fantasy novel out June 1), the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat fantasy story gift books, and the author of two short story collections. She loves to dance, be outside whenever possible, read, play with cats, make music, do and teach yoga, and write. Cat lives in the woods, which she loves as much as really dark chocolate, and gets regular inspiration shots along with her double espresso shots from the city.