Since every cat owner knows who’s the boss at home (the cat is obviously), working from home with a feline colleague can be a challenge as you’ll have to take care of tasks while dealing with a cat who just won’t leave you alone. But there are many benefits of working at home as long as it is the right fit for you, your feline boss, and your employer.
Your home may also be your office, but for your cat, your home is just home. This difference of opinion may be confusing for a cat that is used to being in charge of the palace. Follow these 3 tips to create the best environment to ensure work productivity and maintain a happy home for you and your cat.
1. HAVE A CAT-FRIENDLY HOME OFFICE SPACE
Cats are used to having freedom to go where they want, when they want. And that includes your lap, your laptop, your printer etc. Usually, the cat will want to sit in or on the spot that will be most inconvenient for you at any given time. When you are off the clock, it can be quite cute; but a needy cat that won’t let you work during office hours can rapidly turn into a liability.
Try setting up a bed, a perch, a hammock or other comfy spot that your cat can curl up on and still keep an eye on you. Make sure your cat is fed, always has clean water, and has a clean litter box before you start your workday. If your cat’s needs are unmet, you will hear about it whether you are working or not. While you may never be able to keep your cat off your workspace and completely out of your way, don’t get frustrated. Your cat just wants to be near you, and that is one of the best perks of working from home.
2. ENRICH YOUR CAT’S ENVIRONMENT
Since you are busy with work, make sure your cat stays busy too. If you cat is bored, you will quickly become the object of feline attention. Have a scratching post, toys and other interesting objects to stay occupied. You can also establish a routine which includes playtime before work starts, and scheduled cat breaks during the workday. Cats will respond to routines, so be consistent.
Quality playtime will also be good exercise and your cat may be ready for a nap after your morning playtime or scheduled breaks. Another important reason to have plenty of toys for your cat is that you don’t want your cat playing with and destroying your work product. After all, nothing is more interesting to a cat than a freshly printed report, spreadsheet or important document.
Since every cat behaves and responds differently, you need to consider your cat’s unique personality and needs to find the best ways to keep your cat busy and happy while you work.
3. DON’T GET FRUSTRATED WHEN YOUR CAT DOES DISTRACT YOU
No workplace is perfect and working from home with a cat will probably not be purrrfect, but it can be workable. Be patient and flexible, even if your cat is not. Have reasonable expectations and don’t get stressed. We all know that cats are curious by nature, so it may take some time for your cat to get bored with your work.
It’s especially easy to get annoyed when your cat decides to make an appearance when you are on a phone call or video conference call by joining in with a loud meow or two. While not as disruptive as a dog barking, it can still be distracting. Try scheduling a break for playtime just before your conference call, or keep your cat busy with a treat, toy or special scratching post in another room while you tend to your call. If your cat does interfere with a phone call, don’t get frustrated. Your employer should already be aware of your situation, and most people will be understanding as more and more people work from home where distractions will happen.
Focus on the benefits of working from home and the benefit of being able to enjoy scheduled breaks with your cat. Most importantly, focus on the joy that your mere presence brings to your furry friend each and every workday.
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