In the last few years, we've learned a lot about working from home.
For instance, we've discovered how to use new technologies and communication platforms. We've found out how tonegotiate housework with office work. And we've learned how to navigate the challenges and delights of extra time withpartners, roommates, or kids.
Working from home also lets you spend more time with your beloved pets. And that's a good thing for everyone.
Scientific researchshows that owning a pet helps make people healthier and happier. Both dog people and cat peopleexperience less anxiety and depression, lower rates of heart disease, and fewer allergies than their non-pet peers.
Interestingly, caregivers — who often experience incredible stress when they work from home — enjoy some of the mostpronounced mental and physical benefits from owning a pet, especially when that pet is a cat.
Working from home with cats may be good for you, but it takes planning, skill, and organization to keep your home runningharmoniously.
Here are our top tips for working from home with cats:
Play Before Work.
Get your priorities straight. It's play first, work later. A cat that has spent 10 minutes leaping, chasing, and hunting featherson a string will be much less likely to demand your attention during an important Zoom call.
The benefits of regular playtime for cats.
Being active helps cats stay healthier, behave better, and live longer.
For a cat, play is work. Running, tumbling, jumping, or chasing a laser can expend a lot of energy; andsolving a kitty puzzleor hunting for a hidden treasure can help feline minds stay healthy and sharp. Anactive play session can also burn offcalories, helping chubby kitties to trim down their excess weight.
The mental health benefits are equally significant. Around 40% of house catslive with depression due toboredom. Just 30minutes of exercise a day may reduce a cat's anxiety, eliminate destructive behaviors,and alleviate feline depression.Spending time with a domestic animal can also improve stress, anxiety, ordepression in humans.
Perhaps the best benefit to feline exercise is the corresponding increase in longevity. Just one hour ofplaytime can lengthenyour cat's life by four hours.
How to play with your cat.
Each cat has different tastes and preferences. One may love to chase shadows on the wall. Another may go crazy forcatnip-stuffed mice. And still another pet may be a cat tree fanatic. Watch your cat carefully to determine how she likes toplay.
Remember that cats are instinctive predators, so most of them enjoy anything that mimics natural prey. Any toy that can bestalked, pounced on, and dismembered will probably satisfy your little hunter.
How long should you play with your cat?
Aim for at least 30 minutes of active playtime each day. You don't want to pack all that activity into a single session though. Agood rule of thumb is to play for a 10-minute stretch and then give your kitty plenty of time to wind down before you rev herup again.
Cats need three kinds of toys — interactive toys, quiet-time toys, and toys they can entertain themselves with.
Interactive toys such as a bell ball or a ping pong ball require your presence to make them work. You can wind up anelectronic mouse, set up a cat windmill, or drive your pet bonkers with a standard laser pointer.
Also furnish quiet entertainment options to help keep your cat occupied while you're working. Empty boxes, puzzle toys, andperches with exciting views out the window may help your pet stay off your lap while you're busy with office activities.
Some cats will grab a toy out of the basket and entertain themselves. You might look for things like the automatic rotatinglaser pointer, which has a 15-minute timer and can engage your pet without you having to lift a finger.
Give Your Cat His Own Space.
Cats need their personal space.
Yes, it's a stereotype that all kitties are snooty introverts who turn up their noses at offers of love. Plenty of cats dote on the attention and affection their owners lavish on them. But it's pure science that cats enjoy having the time and space to experience personal retreat. In fact, it's vital to their health.
In the wild, members of thefelidaefamily (cats) are solitary hunters who form social groups. They are not like dogs andother pack animals that rely on a complex, interdependent social hierarchy for protection and survival.(A pride of lions is theonly exception to this rule.)
Like their untamed cousins, domestic cats can form strong social bonds but will become aggressive if they aren't givenspace for solitude. You can set up a cat-friendly area of your home for your pet to retreat to. This area can be part of a sparebedroom or even just a corner of your living quarters.
If you are working with a tiny space, such as an apartment in a major urban area, you may want to create a vertical retreatcenter. Try a tall cat tree, some cat shelves, or even a cleverly designed bookcase to give your pet her own privatepenthouse above the fray.
Fill the space with accessories your cat loves, including something he can hide in. Add a blanket or cat bed, a food dish, awater source, and a litter box. Instruct your household — both humans and canine members — to leave the cat alone whenhe is in his special place.
Working at home with a cat will be infinitely easier if you set up a quiet getaway for your pet.
Make Sure Your Cat Has Enough Water & Food.
A famished cat is going to bug you. She won't care that you are logged in to the most important work meeting of your entirecareer. This girl's hungry!
Cat food is a dicey subject. Every cat lover fosters their own ideas about how often to feed a feline, what diet is best, andwhere the dishes should go in the house. At Modkat, we respect all scientifically valid, well-considered points of view on catcare and maintenance. You know your cat best.
Over time, however, we've learned some general truths about the feeding of cats, and we'd like to share them with you:
Choose a quiet space. Generally, cats do not like to dine amongst children's backpacks, beside noisy washers, or in the middle of a busy hallway.
Select the right bowl. A stainless steel bowl is easy to keep sparkling clean and safe for cats. You'll also want to choose a dish that's lead free and whisker friendly.
Separate the bowls. Keep the food and water bowls apart. Give each cat his or her own bowl. And make sure the dog's food is located in a totally different spot. In fact, it's a good idea to put a cat's bowl in a place where the dog can't reach it.
Feed enough, but don't overfeed. Most cats need 24-35 calories per pound per day. About 50% of those calories should come from protein and 30% from fat. Carbs need to bring up the rear. Senior cats, kittens, and cats with certain health issues may benefit from special diets. Talk with your cat-friendly vet or feline nutritionist to learn more about what nutrition plan may be right for your pet.
Working with a cat around will prove to be a lot simpler and quieter if said cat is well nourished.
Set a Routine.
Like most children, cats thrive on a routine. They like to know when it's playtime, naptime, and dinnertime.
Let's start with naptime. An adult cat typically sleeps 13-19 hours per day. They developed these habits before taking up withhumans. In the wild, cats are both predators and prey so they have to be awake when their food is up and about but quietand still when their predators are hunting.
Cats are crepuscular creatures, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk. The rest of the day (and night) should befilled with quieter activities. A good schedule may look something like this:
7 am- Breakfast; playtime; visit the litter box
8 am- Watch the birds and squirrels; scratch on the cat tree; hide in the box
9 am- First nap
Noon- Wake up from nap; play for 10 minutes; have a snack
1 pm- Second nap
5 pm- Wake up from nap; playtime; dinner; visit the litter box
7:30 pm- Quiet play; birdwatching; snuggling
11 pm- Bedtime
If you're wondering how to keep your cat off your desk when working from home, try setting up a good routine that includesplaytime, meal time, and quiet time. You should be free to get work done and enjoy extra time with your pets.