Working from home can have its challenges for all members of the family, but what impact has it had on your cat?
We know that having a cat around can have a calming influence on humans but we need to make sure that our feline friend enjoys companionship, just as much as we do!
A change in routine can be stressful for cats; they like to know how their day is going to pan out, so it's important that you (and your kitty!) establish a new routine as soon as you can, in order to maintain and support your relationship!
How to support the best cat relationship
When you were rushing out to work every morning, remember that your cat would have had the house all to themselves until you returned home! Having you suddenly work from home was a big change! And at first, it may be confusing to your feline friend.
Understand the signs of a confused kitty
If your cat is confused by extra company in the house during the day time, you may find that they show signs of stress, for example:
- Hiding for long periods of time
- A change in eating habits - eating or drinking less, or sometimes more
- Spraying outside their litter trays
- Scratching furniture instead of their scratching post
- Being more vocal
Understand the signs of an attention seeking kitty
If your cat is enjoying your company, you may find that they look for a little extra attention! And that can be distracting if you need to concentrate on something! Some sneaky kitty tactics might be:
- Jumping on your desk and 'exploring' your laptop! This may be because they are being inquisitive and they want to mark it as their territory. Or it may be that they just want your attention!
- Scratching furniture - a sure thing that will get your attention!
- Wandering around your desk and knocking things over. Beware of that cup of coffee - it can do untold damage to your laptop!
- Jumping onto your lap and meowing at you which you will definitely want to respond to!
And while you may think their behaviour is cute at first, it's not wise to encourage constant attention seeking. It will make it harder for your kitty to cope with when you really do need to focus away from them.
How to work in harmony
- Remember that cats like routine, so sticking to your cat's original routine as much as possible is a good place to start. This means getting up, having breakfast and following a regular kitty routine (feeding, playtime, letting them outside at a set time) will all help.
- If your cat insists on 'helping' you to work and doesn't want to leave your side, try to encourage them to sit elsewhere; for example a comfy cushion nearby, on a windowsill in the sun, or on an elevated position, so they can keep an eye on you. A few treats strategically placed will encourage them!
- But don't fall into the trap of giving them treats wherever they seek your attention! It is easy to find yourself giving them more food than they need. Other options include playtime (e.g. having a fishing rod toy to hand) or giving them a stroke.
- Take regular breaks for some playtime - with the intention of making them ready for a sleep - we know they like to fit cat naps into their daily routine!
- Communicate with your cat! Often they may just want reassurance - so speak to them and slowly blink at them to let them know you are happy with their company. It may be all they need to relax and let you continue with your work.
- If you don't want to be disturbed during an important call, prepare ahead to keep them busy with a puzzle feeder or perhaps schedule in some playtime with them before your call - after which they will probably have another cat nap.
- Remember that cats like calm and quiet, so consider putting your mobile phone on silent so that you avoid any sudden kitty dashes across your keyboard when there are unexpected sounds.
- Let your cat join in sometimes! It's not a bad thing to let your cat have a cameo appearance on screen! It can sometimes relieve an otherwise tense conversation - and we think online meetings with pets are always more interesting!
- Keep important documents out of the reach of dirty paws; when your cat decides to pay you a visit after being outside, they may just be carrying some mud in!
- Make sure your cat still has access to all of their resources when you are at home; if you are working in an area where they would normally have access to their litter tray, for example, it's important that their access is not impeded in any way.
Returning to work
As pandemic restrictions slowly ease, you may well be returning to your workplace. In order to maintain the best cat relationship during more changes, try to introduce these gradually. Start by working in a different area where your cat doesn't have easy access to you. And, try to keep to the daily routine that will occur when you return to the office - with you staying 'off kitty limits' for a period of time every day. Be sure to slowly build that length of time up rather than jumping straight to a whole day! This will gradually help your cat get used to spending time away from you again.
Using FELIWAY Optimum during any changes will also you work in harmony, and help to support your cat by making them feel more serene at home!