Cats as Work Companions

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Our cat, Lavinius, chilling on his cat bed. Photo: Jenny Bristol
Our cat, Lavinius, chilling on his cat bed on Rory’s desk. Photo: Jenny Bristol

At my house, we work at home. All of us. Rory and I do our jobs from home (yay, internet), and I homeschool the kids. So we each have our computers and desks, and each has plenty of room on and around our desks for our work companions: our two cats, Ezra and Lavinius.

Whether your job is done from home, or you just sit in one place for a while doing a hobby or a work-at-home second job, you may also have a spot for a cat or other small, furry creature. But as most of us know, such creatures rarely stay where you want them to stay. They like keyboards and laps. They rub against monitors because they want you to pay attention to them, not the words on the screen. They play with your mouse cursor. But there are a few things you can do to keep your fluffy creatures with you, without them impeding your work.

How does this not brighten your day? Photo: Jenny Bristol
Come on. You know you want to pet me. Photo: Jenny Bristol

Create a cat space. Placing an efficiently shaped cat bed on part of your desk is very helpful. Rory and I each have a square-ish piece of fabric-covered foam on our desks, which clearly defines the space in which a cat is allowed to inhabit. They are within easy reach of our arms, where we can pet and rub the cats when they paw at us for attention. You may prefer something with more character, though.

If your desk is too small, try keeping an end table or a stool right next to you instead. If they prefer to be on you instead of near you, place a towel or cloth on your lap to signal to them that you’re ready to accept their company. Gently encourage them to not be in your lap if the towel/cloth isn’t there. You may also want to keep a lint roller or furniture vacuum on hand for cleaning up their cat space, and you can launder any towel or cloth you use.

Ezra sometimes prefers my lap. Photo: Jenny Bristol
Ezra sometimes prefers my lap. Photo: Jenny Bristol

Keep cat toys at your desk for entertainment. Have a laser pointer and a ball of paper on a string–or other beloved cat toy–at the ready for when your cats want some fun and exercise. If you wear them out, they are more likely to curl up nearby and give you the purr treatment.

Despite the cat hair, occasional scratches and nibbles, and meowing, having cats around is good for you, as long as you aren’t severely allergic. Giving love and attention to a cat can lower your blood pressure and help you be calm, and thus they can be great companions when working or studying. They are especially great for people with anxiety, and can actually serve as emotional support animals for people with the need.

How do your cats fit into your working life?

Our cats are our constant companions and work buddies. Photo: Jenny Bristol
Our cats are our constant companions and work buddies. Photo: Jenny Bristol

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