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Cat-egorically Speaking

Updated on July 10, 2017

With my children now grown, working and in college, the house is now quiet during the day. It is the perfect setting to work from home--no arguments coming from the next room, no little fists banging on the office door, and no competition for my attention.

Except I forget one small detail. I have cats.

I have a dog as well (two if you count the days my son's beagle puppy is here), but the dog does not seem that desperate for my attention. She will bark at the door if she needs to go out, but other than that she is content to nap on the floor or patrol her domain in the backyard.

The cats are a different story. Especially my son's cat, Saito. He is a large black and white shorthair. And when I say large, he more than covers the entire keyboard on my laptop when he decides he needs to lie across it.

My office is in our basement and gets quite cold, so I generally run a portable heater. Saito loves the heater. If he knows I am in here and the door is closed, he will scratch and screech at the door to get inside. And then proceeds to lie directly in front of the heat. I have had to move him away from it at times for fear that he will catch himself on fire.

You may be thinking to yourself, "That does not sound so bad. Certainly it is less distracting than working with children nearby." But there are certain tactics that cats will employ that are far more annoying than a child whining in your ear. For example:

  • Your work space automatically qualifies as a cat bed.
  • If you have any document sitting on your desk that is the least bit important, it will emit some sort of chemical signature that signals to a cat, "I must chew on this."
  • Cables and phone cords are as enticing as yarn.
  • Pens, paper clips, pencils or any other small items fall under the category of "cat toys."
  • Paper coming out of a printer is a mortal enemy that must be attacked and subdued.

Working with pets may have its challenges, but there is also something soothing about having an animal companion nearby. Studies have shown that workers who are allowed to bring pets with them to the office have higher productivity and lower stress levels. For this reason, some companies have instituted special "Take Your Pet to Work" days.

I do feel fortunate to be able to work with my kitty companions nearby. Right now Saito is curled up on a pile of documents on my desk. And I would not have it any other way. Even though I know my hand will be under attack when I need to retrieve them.


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