Working remotely and staying productive can be a difficult task in its own right - but add a needy cat to the mix, and it can feel downright im-paw-ssible to get things done. And with many companies still instituting a work from home policy to, many pet owners are facing these furry, adorable distractions first-hand.
But with just a little patience, understanding and some stick-to-it-iveness, you and your feline will find a groove that works for you so you can be as productive as possible even while WFH.
1. Play before work.
If you've got an energetic cat who just wants to chew on all your cords and attack your pen while you're trying to write, it can be useful to tire them out with a bit of exercise! A few minutes of playtime with a favorite toy, like a feather wand, laser pointer, or flyer toy, will tire your cat out and encourage them to nap instead of trampling on your keyboard.
Encourage playtime away from your work area. If you want to take a break and play with your cat - a laser pointer can be a fun, easy way to keep your kitty entertained and away from your work area at the same time.
2. Give your cat their own space.
Why are cats so obsessed with walking across our keyboards or blocking our webcams in the middle of important conference calls? This attention-seeking behavior is probably the most disruptive when it comes to staying productive when WFH - especially since shooing them away usually just results in them just jumping right back up!
To keep your kitty off the keyboard, provide them a spot or space of their own. This could be a comfy cat bed beside your desk, a chair with their favorite blanket by a windowsill so they can watch the birds, or my cat's personal favorite - a shallow cardboard box.
Sprinkling the bed (or whatever your Kitty Spot might be) with catnip or your cat's favorite toys is a great way to entice them to curl up there instead of your keyboard.
3. Take snuggle breaks.
Studies and trials have shown that petting a cat (or animal) for just 10 minutes can have a significantly reduce cortisol levels in your body. While you're on your coffee break, take a few minutes to give your kitty some lovin'. Besides reducing stress and increasing your bond with your cat, spending time with your cat can stimulate the production of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that increases a sense of well-being. So make sure to schedule those snuggle breaks!
4. Provide distractions that aren't you.
Sure, cats can sleep up to 17 hours in a single day. But they also need to be mentally and physically stimulated to stay happy and healthy - and out of your hair. A bored cat can lead to destructive behaviors, like scratching furniture or chewing your computer cables. Offer your cat some other much more cat-friendly ways to get out some of that pent-up energy.
Is your cat an avid birdwatcher? Providing your cat with a spot of their very own next to a window that has lots of wildlife (birds, squirrels, etc) can be a great way to keep your cats entertained and off your desk. Setting up a bird feeder outside the window might even draw birds and other wildlife closer and provide extra entertainment!
If your cat is especially food-motivated, food puzzles make your cat forage for their treats, simultaneously stimulating their brain and their bellies! Try videos of birds and small mammals that will keep your cat busy for hours, electric/automated toys, cat treat balls, and other amusements that can keep your cat entertained while you're busy at work.
5. Set a routine.
Cats, much like humans, can be creatures of habit. You might already realize this as a cat owner - but your kitties will start begging you when it's dinner time. It might take some time to find what works for you, depending on when you normally wake up, feed. your cat, etc. Routine is as much for the benefit of your cat as it is to you!
6. Give them their own mini laptop.
You might have seen this trend going around the Internet - but one of the reasons they might be plopping down on your keyboard and getting in the way? Cats actually like to mirror our behaviors - so if you give them a laptop of their own, it might just distract them!
So if you have an old laptop around the house (or you could even construct one out of cardboard or books!), try setting it up in front of your kitty next to your workstation and see if it works. It might just be a fun internet trend, but it's worth a shot!