The pandemic has shown that working from home is quite possible in many sectors. There is, therefore, a good chance that working from home will remain at least partially. With a few simple tricks, people and cats can work together in the office in the long term.
Everything has changed since Corona. Instead of being away from home for most of the day, many people have been at home every day for months and do their jobs from their desks at home. And it looks as if many employees will continue to work from home in the future – at least part-time. This means a change and a challenge not only for the people but also for their four-legged office colleagues. Because not only humans are creatures of habit.
“Cats can react sensitively to changes in their environment,” says behavioral therapist Maya Bräm from the Zurich Animal Hospital. Very different depending on the character. The human-related cat is happy about the additional time with its favorite human, jumps onto the desk or directly onto the keyboard, and accompanies one or the other video conference with a spirited meowing song. She is so happy that almost everything you do in such moments is considered positive and she keeps doing it until the work becomes unbearable.
The self-sufficient cat, on the other hand, cannot understand such behavior. She is annoyed by the unusually frequent presence of the owner, which reduces her stress tolerance and increases her irritability. Ignorance is still a comparatively mild consequence. According to Bräm, this can also result in aggressive behavior. Or the cat tries to avoid the human. Bräm: “Cats that are allowed outside may not come home as often or withdraw more.” What can get to the substance of a sensitive cat lover may be fine for the conscientious home worker. After all, you can work better without a cat’s paws on the keyboard.
The Magic Word is Routine
When it comes to the human-related cat breed, routine seems to be the magic word. “On home office days, clear, structured daily routines and rituals are needed,” says animal psychologist Véronique Hufschmid from Sisseln AG. It is important to have “games, eating games, cuddle rituals”, which should always take place at the same time of day. Why not add a little something to that first cup of coffee and spend that afternoon nap with your cat in your arms?
A further step is the sensible integration of the house tiger into everyday work. “If the cat disturbs you at work, running around on the table or keyboard, it’s important to be consistent,” emphasizes Hufschmid. “The best way to do this is for the owner not to pet, look at, or otherwise communicate with their cat, lest you confirm the behavior that is undesirable at the time.” The animal psychologist advises a clear “no” in connection with the name of the cat, in order to then put it on the floor or slowly but firmly push it off the table.
If you have space, you can also place a box or blanket right next to you on the desk and direct the cat there. Once there, she should be rewarded with a treat. Then the attention should be over. If the cat is still sitting after a while, you can give another treat and thus develop a ritual to start work on home office days. In addition to consistency, you need patience, says Hufschmid.
Because of course, there will also be days when the sofa lion doesn’t feel like its assigned place and instead stands directly in front of the monitor or lies down on important documents. Then it’s time to stay calm and ignore the feline troublemaker. At some point, he gets bored and disappears of his own accord. Or maybe he sneaks into his home office on his own. Then there is another small reward. If you don’t always want to reach into the treat bag for this, you can give them pats.
Easier to Get Out of Bed Thanks to the Cat
But you don’t have to be afraid of being overweight due to working from home. Although there has been an increase for years – around 60 percent of cats are said to be overweight – this problem has not worsened since Corona, according to the Swiss Association for Small Animal Medicine.
Instead, there is good news. Pets should have a positive effect on pottering at home. The British animal welfare organization Battersea Dogs and Cats Home found this out through a survey of 2,000 dog and cat owners. Four out of ten owners said that having their pets around during the pandemic has helped them maintain a regular routine. 60 percent of the participants found it easier to get out of bed in the morning with an animal companion and 68 percent confirmed that productivity and motivation were increased by their pet.