If you are working from home at the moment, and this isn’t normally what you would be doing, you will want to make sure this time goes as smoothly as possible for you and your cat.
How your cat responds to you being at home depends on their personality and their relationship with you – some will look slightly perplexed, if anything at all, and get on with exactly what they do when you’re not there. In which case, you can breathe a sigh of relief and know this information is not for you. Others however, particularly those that are really affectionate and demanding when you are normally at home, will see this as a great opportunity to use you in all kinds of entertaining ways. If this describes your cat…read on.
The most important thing is to try to maintain as many routines as possible: feeding time, playtime and normal mornings and evenings. It’s therefore only the bit in the middle, when you don’t leave the house at the usual time, that will feel different. Make sure you find a place to work where your cat doesn’t spend too much time. If you are very lucky and have been suitably quiet, your cat will not have noticed that you are still at home and leave you in peace. This may only be successful until you are desperate for a cup of tea or have to take part in a conference call, at which point your cover is blown. Once your cat establishes where you are, the games begin so read this sequence of events with care, it may happen to you.
1. The obvious first strategy will be for your cat to jump onto your lap, look lovingly at you and miaow faintly to demonstrate his level of hunger and desire for food. Be strong, remember that cats are described as ‘opportunistic feeders’ and this is an ideal time to be ‘opportunistic’ and get something tasty. Your cat is actually not starving and resisting at this stage is not an act of rejection, neither will it look like you don’t love him so just ignore this as best you can. Well done, you have passed the first hurdle and your cat will now be leaving the room with an audible ‘huff’.
2. Sadly, this peace won’t last for long, after having left the room for about 30 seconds, your cat is back and has jumped on whatever surface you are using as a desk. There is a lot of frenzied purring interspersed with more miaowing, noticeably louder than the previous ones when your cat was apparently too weak from hunger to ‘talk’ properly. Your cat now starts rubbing his face backwards and forwards on your hands as you try desperately to type on your keyboard. Every part of you wants to stop typing and give your cat some loving. THIS WOULD BE A MISTAKE! Instead, if you want to get any work done at all while you are home, you need to show your cat that this is not the time or the place. You are now typing nonsense but keep going as you can always delete it all when your cat eventually gives up.
3. Your cat regroups briefly but the third attempt to get your attention has to have impact so he will be trying harder. You may at this stage get a full body flop onto your keyboard (your hands may still be on the keys at this point and therefore temporarily trapped), a flicking tail and a bottom backing menacingly towards your nose or a set of claws dragged slowly and ever so slightly uncomfortably down the side of your face. Stand firm! Focus on the screen, say nothing, pretend you are in the office and your cat is sleeping soundly at home. This is just a dream.
4. If you are very lucky (and truly want this to work) your cat will sit down beside you and start to stare really hard in your direction. You are nearly there, you can do this. Do not under any circumstances look at your cat, even if you can feel his eyes burning into your right cheek.
5. Time is passing, it feels like hours but in reality, it’s probably only been a minute but as far as you can tell no further strategies are forthcoming from your cat. This is going well, you have managed to delete your cat’s contribution to your work and you are back on track. You are beginning to ignore your cat’s stare, you are in the zone and working just like you were in the office. Your cat is behaving impeccably, no messing about, no attention-seeking and you are thinking ‘what’s so hard about this? You just need to show them who’s boss!’. You notice out of the corner of your eye that your cat has stood up and, after a stretch and a yawn, he very calmly and deliberately walks across in front of you treading on the ‘off’ key as he goes. Never under-estimate the ability of the cat to have the last word.
Good luck everyone.