Working From Home With My Wacky Cat Pt. 3

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Disruptions to our work processes don’t just affect us. They affect our pets as well. If your house-dwelling pets are used to you being gone for 8-10 hours a day for an office job, it’s a bit odd for you to suddenly be home all the time. Although they’ve been referred to as “dumb” animals down through the ages, you find out pretty quickly when you have one that they’re certainly not stupid.

Cats are the ultimate experts when it comes to social distancing, but there are times when they simply crave attention. Combine that with a computer workstation, and you have opportunities for some very wacky moments when working from home. For example, something about a keyboard mesmerizes cats. They want to be near it, sitting on it, touching it, or even sleeping on it. Naturally, this can be problematic if you need the keyboard to do your job.

Here’s some advice on working from the home you share with a cat:

  • Stay calm. Cats can sense stress, and they react to it with a change in their behavior. In my cat’s case, that doesn’t end up being good behavior. If I were guessing, I’d say cats are the most creative creatures in the universe for coming up with what we consider to be bad behavior but they consider to be just another day.  
  • Stick to a schedule that includes a block of time for paying attention to your cat. Maybe that can be during breaks or your lunchtime. Cats appreciate a schedule, and they don’t like change. Once you establish “their” time, stick with it. Of course, your cat will let you know if the time you have allotted is enough or too much. When he needs more attention, my cat walks through the house pushing doors open until they bang against the wall. This just about gives me a heart attack, because I immediately imagine a prowler is “sneaking” through the house.
  • Train your cat about what’s unacceptable behavior (i.e. sitting on your keyboard). When my cat was a little kitten, he liked to put both paws on my leg and SCRATCH when he wanted attention. OWWWWCHEEE! But after a stern reminder or two (a squirt from a small spray bottle of water), he learned that using my leg for a scratching post was not good kitty behavior. I kept a tube of antibiotic at my desk until we mastered this lesson.
  • Close the door to your workspace to avoid interruptions when you are on a video meeting or teleconference. Disruptions to your meeting are inevitable if your cat has the run of your place. These disruptions can range from plaintive meowing in the background to having the cat jump onto your keyboard in the middle of your meeting to get attention, which certainly works. Another thing to keep in mind is that everyone has their “phone voice,” and your cat may not like yours as much as your “pet parent voice.” Her solution might be to disrupt the voice she doesn’t like.
  • The previous bullet point applies double if you’re recording a video. If anything can go wrong, it will when there’s a cat around.

Do you have a funny “working from home with your cat” story? Send it to marketing@asti.com. We’ll build a downloadable blog article from the stories we receive, so you can share in the wacky world of working from home with cats.

We’re in this with you, so Applied Software has published other blog articles about working from home (cats not included). See “Working from Home . . . Even for People Who Aren’t Dummies” for common sense work-from-home tips and “How to Stay Productive While Working from Home” for basic suggestions on working remotely.

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