If you’ve ever tried working from home with cats around, you’ll know just how hazardous it can be. A stray cat paw on the keyboard and bam! Your entire presentation is gone.
When covid hit a lot more people found themselves working from home. And some, like our Mompreneur readers, stayed working at home.
But it can be a tricky juggling the multitude of daily demands on our time. Kids, dogs, pet goldfish… Well, we can’t help you with those, but if you’re looking for some advice to help you work from home with cats, you’ve come to the right place!
Tip #1: Your Cat Needs You!
While the common stereotype is that cats are aloof, independent creatures who don’t need a lot of attention, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Your cat wants your attention just like any loved one would. And if your attention is focused on a screen and a keyboard, you can guarantee your cat is going to place itself right in the middle of that.
Which leads us to our next paw-oint (ok that one didn’t really work)…
Tip #2: Create A Cat-tastic Co-Workspace
Making sure your cat is comfortable while you work close by is a necessity. To avoid the dreaded stray paw to the keyboard, establish your workstation and give your cat their own area within that.
Try a blanket between your computer screen and keyboard. My cat feels the warmth of the screen and is sufficiently close to keep an eye on me, but once settled is quite content to stay put.
Making sure your cat has been fed, has access to clean water, and has a clean litter box before you start your working day is a great start. If your cat is left needing basic necessities, you are sure to hear about it whether you are working or not.
While you may have to accept that your cat will always find a way onto your workspace, don’t let it frustrate you. It’s simply your cat showing their affection for you and that is one of the wonderful perks of working from home with cats. Take it as an opportunity to take a breather for a few minutes.
Tip #3: Start a Radi-claw Routine
Cats love a routine. It helps to make them feel calm, safe, and comfortable, and when their routine is interrupted, it can lead to some undesirable behaviours or in extreme cases it could lead to anxiety issues.
If working from home with your cat has created some issues, read about vet-recommended treatments for cats here.
Slowly get your cat used to you working at home. You may have some acting out from your cat, but don’t let this deter you from establishing a routine. It’s absolutely important that you can stick to it.
Eventually you will start to see some results and find your cat has adjusted to your new work from home situation.
Naturally, when you face the possibility of going back to the office, you’re going to have to establish an entirely new routine or face the possibility of a cat with separation anxiety problems. However, you can worry about that when the problem arises.
Tip #4: Create a Routine for your Kitten
Play time is always important. Not only is it important for you to have a break, it’s also great for your cat to feel loved and use up some of their energy!
Playing with your kitten can get that extra energy out of their system. So, when you need to go back to work, you don’t have to worry about your cat interrupting you during important work-time.
Remember routine is good for cats, so try to keep doing this at least every day you work from home. It will help your cat adjust to the fact that while you are at working from home all the time you can’t interact with them whenever they would like.
Tip #5: Stay Paw-sitive
Working from home with cats probably won’t be purrrfect, you’ll have ups and downs, but it’s totally workable. Be as patient and flexible as you can be but know your limits.
If you have an important video call presentation coming up, make sure your cat isn’t going to distract you or walk in front of the screen, unless you’re wanting to get a laugh from your audience.
With your cat in the room, there’s always the risk of a cat tail appearing on-screen as this Scottish UK Minister experienced when he was working from home with a cat. While it’s not ideal, it does add some fun to the working day.
Try expending some of your cat’s energy just before your conference call with some playtime.
You could also keep your cat busy with a treat, an interactive toy, or some catnip. Make sure that they are in another room while you are on your call.
Have reasonable expectations when working from home with a cat
If your cat does interfere with your presentation, don’t get frustrated. Your boss and colleagues should already be aware of your situation and working from home with cats (or children or dogs).
Most people are understanding that your pets and children need to be attended to at some point during the day. With more and more people working from home most people are accommodating of this.
And even if you are the epitome of patience, your cat may not return the favour and be patient with you. Having reasonable expectations and trying not to get stressed about it from the get-go will help.
Cats are curious creatures, so they may be interested in your set up for quite some time before they get bored with your work.
And while we are biased, we believe cats are the puur-fect work from home partner.
Working From Home With Cats and Living The Dream
While working from home with cats isn’t always the easiest, it can be paw-some!
Try starting a new routine, keeping your cat comfortable, and being available for play throughout the day, as well as keeping your paw-sitivity up.
Using these tips, you’ll be well on your way to being able to successfully work at home with your furry friend.
Desiree Delong is a freelance writer for leading cat anxiety website Cat Advice. She has a passion for all animals, but especially cats. She has owned cats since she was six years old and even though she is now in her thirties, her love for cats has never faded. She continues to adopt cats and give them a safe, loving home. Currently, Desiree spends most of her time writing. In her free time, she cares for her furbaby, a tabby cat named Halo who is nearing her seventh birthday.