Working from home sounds like an ideal opportunity when compared with the humdrum atmosphere of an office. No more commuting, getting dressed for work or working set hours.
However, reality sets in, and you realize it is not all sunshine and roses. Working from home requires self-discipline, made more challenging when you have an adorable feline friend who wants your undivided attention.
Having a pet around does reduce the sense of isolation and loneliness you might feel when working from home. Your cat can become too much of a distraction, preventing you from getting your work done. Here is how to keep your home office work environment and owning a cat balanced:
Separate work from home
A quick online search shows memes and videos of cats making themselves at home on their owners’ keyboards, preventing them from working. While this is adorable feline behavior, it can become frustrating when you have a substantial work quota and deadlines to manage. Giving your cat supplements from Scruffy Paws Nutrition, Hill’s Pet, Iams or Purin will maintain their energy levels. But will this excess energy only help that kitty disrupt your workday? This does not need to be the case when you separate your work and home life by creating boundaries that not even the cat may cross.
Cat owners teach their felines how to treat them. If you allow your cat to take over your workspace, it will construe this as acceptable behavior and keep engaging in it. Set clear boundaries by firmly letting the kitty know that your lap or keyboard is not where it should be while you are working. Set up a space where your cat can remain in the same room but not interfere with work activities. For example, put a cat bed next to your desk or hang a kitty hammock nearby.
Do not fall into the cuteness trap
When your cat is in its owner’s line of sight, it is easy to become distracted by how adorable it is, causing them to stop working to give their cat some cuddles or take pictures to post on social media. Cat owners make a rod for their backs by blurring the boundaries mentioned before. This behavior takes them back to the drawing board to teach the cat to remain in its space while they work.
If you know that resisting picking up your kitty and giving it loads of love is going to be a challenge, set up its area where you cannot see it without turning around or standing up. This distance might make a feline somewhat anxious, especially when it is used to getting all your attention when you are home. Remain patient and calm while getting the cat used to this new routine.
Schedule breaks and playtime
You cannot work for eight solid hours without taking a break for coffee, a snack, or a trip to the bathroom. Schedule regular breaks in your workday to allow yourself a chance to have a mental and physical stretch before getting back to the task at hand. When you work from home, breaks often include household chores like doing a load of laundry, packing the dishwasher, or cleaning your kitty’s litter box.
However, do not make these breaks so full of chores that you do not get a chance to have some fun with your feline. Fifteen minutes spent playing with a cat is a known stress reliever, leaving you refreshed and ready to face another round of work. It is also positive behavioral reinforcement for the cat, showing them that observing your boundaries is rewarded with your undivided attention and some exciting playtime.
Keep the feline occupied
Cats engage in destructive or negative behavior when they become bored. They will demand your attention by acting out, doing things like damaging furniture, or neglecting to use their litter box. You cannot be a 24-hour entertainment committee for a cat, meaning you should provide the feline with toys and activities they can manage independently.
Cats need mental and physical stimulation, so buy products to keep them busy. You will need to teach your feline how to play alone, or it will only engage in play when you are there. Buy puzzle toys and a cat tree that includes a scratching post. They will provide hours of physical and mental gymnastics, ideal for keeping a kitty occupied.
No matter how well you organize your workspace and attempt to keep your kitty happy and occupied, some days will not go according to plan. Your scheduled play breaks might not happen due to meetings and other work commitments.
You might be called out to see a client and have no choice but to leave your cat at home.
The only solution to this challenge is to remain flexible and rearrange your schedule when things do not go according to play. Your kitty will be understanding if it knows the boundaries and respects them.
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