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The image that you see on the right is where I live and work, it may be a bit dark, but I like working in a darkened room and I wanted to be authentic so hopefully, you can see the sweet face of my loving “coworker”.
So, this is me and my cat Puffy on one of my workdays, she usually sleeps on my table, right beside my pc.
As I’ve been working from home for more than a year now, working with a cat from home has become a routine thing for me and I can tell you all that I’ve learned along the way.
Since I’m an introvert I love being at home with my beloved cat, and putting work into this combination has been a real joy for me (it would have been the best life if the circumstances for this type of life were more normal).
So let me share with you all the tips I know on how to make your time as efficient and as enjoyable as possible when you need to work from home and you live with a cat.
Give Your Cat Some Space In Your Working Area
Cats may seem independent but they love hanging around their humans. They love the security that we humans provide, so most of the time your cat is always near you.
This means that when you are working your cat will want to be close to you, so it is very important to give your cat some space for a nap in your working area.
As you can see, I have solved this by having a spacious working table with plenty of space for her little body to lie down (plus when the air conditioner is on in winter it’s like a spa spot for her – she loves it). It’s priceless when you can cuddle your cat and kiss it in the middle of a working day – it’s such a mood booster.
Ok, I’m also guilty of a total boss position (I put my legs up on the table – clean socks I promise) and sometimes she lies on my legs and we stay like that for hours. Nothing like such a working environment!
So here are some things you can do to provide your cat space near you when you work:
- get a work desk with some free space
- put a cat tree near your work desk
- even a simple chair with some pillow on it, placed beside you, can be enough
Another thing you can do is to go vertical if you lack space in the room:
- if your desk is next to a wall put a cat shelf on the wall, it will be a perfect resting place for your cat with “watching from above” ability
- get a resting space of some kind that goes in height and put it on your work desk – something like this monitor raiser, I love the style and the color but there are many models to choose from, it will serve as a great cat bed with some small blanket, on your work desk
Cats Love A Routine So Create One
All cat owners know that cats need a routine in their life. A routine creates a feeling of safety and predictability which cats really need, especially cats which are timid by nature, like mine.
My point here is that every cat needs to spend accumulated energy and then they will sleep peacefully and not distract you while you work.
So a few times a day, approximately the same time every day because my cat has created the habit, I stimulate her to exercise and the duration of this time depends on the individual cat. I am lucky that my cat is a bit lazy so she really needs a short exercise before settling down for a nap – on my desk :).
Here we are on a typical working day on my lunch break (sorry for the mess but it’s everyday life):
One of the most successful cat toys I have found for this type of situation is a string cat toy – that is the red string she has “caught” in the picture above. What makes it so great is the fact that if my cat gets a sudden urge to jump around I can just grab the stick with the string and while still thinking and sitting I can simply play with her with one hand. It’s the perfect cat toy when you have to work!
The best thing with such a cat string toy is that it never gets old and these cat toys are really inexpensive. You simply must have one if you plan to work from home as a cat owner.
Another great cat toy is an interactive cat toy – the kind that can keep your cat occupied without involving your presence. This robot cat toy is a very popular one that can be so helpful if your cat is a bit temperamental and loves playing for a long time.
Your cat will naturally establish some work-play schedule and follow it most of the time so things will have their order in the long run.
Of course, there will always be unexpected cuddle time in the middle of the work but I don’t mind it all! It even helps me regenerate my energy and work better.
Set Some Rules When You Work
You need to set some unbreakable rules for your cat no matter how hard it may be.
I am talking about things like not playing with the keyboard or the mouse when you are typing. You really have to show authority for some serious stuff like this as it may affect the quality of your work or even cause serious damage by pressing the wrong key.
So be very strict about these things and every wrong behavior needs to be clearly understood that is wrong (I will not go into details on how to achieve this as it is a different and vast subject).
I struggle in this area with my cat playing with my headset wires, so when I am on daily calls sometimes I lose the sound or the mic, but these meetings are not that serious and can suffer minor irregularities.
For very important meetings I even put her in the hallway until the meeting is over.
Benefits Of Having A Cat As A “Coworker”
My cat has been my best coworker so far in my career!
Cats by nature make you happy. Just by looking at them, you feel the tenderness and the fun their little body and face offer us, humans. They are simply the perfect home pets and even their contradictory character gives us so much joy.
So having a cat around is always a positive thing.
What I love most about having my cat in my working space is the huge stress relief she gives me. Just one look at her sweet, relaxed napping, that cute face, those soft paws remind me that life isn’t so bad when I struggle with my tasks.
Even a quick cuddle or a small kiss on her forehead calms me down and gives me renewed energy to face the problems.
Because my cat gives me such positive energy I sometimes get more creative in my daily tasks or I get more ideas from a relaxed state of my mind – compared to a nervous stressed mind. It’s a huge difference.
I can honestly say that my cat totally brightens up my workday just by being near me, giving me positive vibes and a feeling of warmth and love.
Not to forget to mention that cats are really easy coworkers most of the time as they just sleep or nap.
Lately, cats and zoom have been very popular as appearing of a cat in the middle of a zoom meeting can make the whole atmosphere more relaxed and is very often a reason to break the ice between the participants and be “more human” by smiling and showing some emotions. Yes, I think you can agree we all need that nowadays.
I especially recommend cats for people who live alone or are stressed with the current state of the world. Believe me, they will soften everything down and surround you with their wonderful fluffy love.