How To Work From Home With A Demanding Cat

* Originally written by William O’Brien for ProtectaPet

In recent times, the act of working remotely from home has become a massive trend, especially during and after the lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A lot of us find it much easier and less restricting than having to go into the office five days a week, and we get to work from the comforts of our own home. 

However, where there are pros to working from home, there are all sorts of unique challenges that arise in these new working environments, especially for owners of demanding pets. For us cat owners, working from home can mean more quality time spent with our feline friends but it can also present challenges that you need to overcome in order to establish a healthy balance of work time and play time.

If your cat is particularly demanding, giving them access to the outdoors whilst being protected from the usual risks can help your cat to exert that additional energy. ProtectaPet offers a range of Cat Fencing solutions to keep your cat safe outdoors, available for DIY or installation.

Set Boundaries

Most of us will know that cats do as they please and when they want. They stroll up and down their palace corridors deciding where they want to sleep, eat and relax. A lot of us have transitioned into working from home either on a flexible or permanent basis, so setting some boundaries between you and your cats might be the best option for you.

If you’re cat is particularly needy and you are struggling to help them be more independent, check out this article by Noots. 

If you’re trying to have an important meeting, or if you are working towards a big deadline then you might need to think about not allowing your cat into the office or training your cat to not climb up onto your laptop and sit on your keyboard. Cats have a reputation for doing what they want, especially for love and attention, so training your cat might be the best option for you, as just shutting the door on them might cause some distress. Training them will take time, but it will be worth it when your cat stops knocking over a hot coffee onto some important documents! 

Set a Routine for You and Your Cat

Just because working from home can be a comforting way to work, we still need downtime and who better to do this with than with our cute cat companions. Also, setting aside time for you and your cats will ensure that you are giving them enough love and attention so that you can go back to work undisturbed, leaving your cat satisfied. Ensure that you are the one to initiate the playtime, so that they can learn that you are the decider when it comes to when the work ends and when the fun starts. 

Cats also respond well to routine, so setting up a daily schedule for you and your cat might be the best option if you live with a demanding one. Make sure they have their own safe space, with their own scratch posts, fresh water, toys and a comfy bed. 

Cat-Proof the Office

If you are letting your cats into your home office, you need to make sure that there aren’t any items lying around on the surfaces or the floor which your cat could potentially swallow or knock over. Make sure to never leave your pet in your office unattended so that they can’t damage anything or hurt themselves. Also ensure that there are no cables lying all over the floor because they have been known to chew through these, so keep this in mind too.

Over time your cat will hopefully become accustomed to the do’s and don’ts of the home office workspace and naturally will avoid causing too much destruction or annoyance during stressful work times. 

Be Flexible and Patient

Creating and maintaining a harmonious relationship with your feline friends whilst you’re working from home may seem like a challenging prospect now, but with time and patience you will be rewarded with an even better understanding and deeper love for your cats.

Understand that they are an animal with intuition and instinctive behaviour and although successfully training a cat might seem impossible, it is achievable. There might be setbacks but in the end they are extremely smart creatures that with your love, patience and flexibility, they will learn to understand your needs as well as you understand theirs.

Gus & Bella’s Halloween Box

* Originally written by me for Katzenworld

It’s October and that means it’s time for Gus & Bella’s Spooky Halloween Box! This has to be my absolute favourite of all their themed boxes.

And good news for those of us who are more lazy about trick-or-treating: Gus & Bella have us covered. There’s a super cute and warm pair of black cat slippers, black cat earrings and chocolate. I’m all set for Halloween!

The food in this box is from Arden Grange. I am a big fan of these sample packages of cat food because we all know how fussy cats can be about their food. Sometimes it takes a little while to get them used to new food so you can mix the new with the old. Sample size bags can also help you decide which one your cat likes best or needs (perhaps they have a sensitive tummy or are a little bit overweight). It’s always good to try before you buy.

One thing Dirk tried (and I will definitely have to buy) is the Arden Grange Tasty Liver Treat. Careful, because the claws will come out for this treat! Dirk absolutely loves it.

Now, the best part: the cat toys! Gus & Bella always put much thought into choosing toys for different types of play behaviour. This box contains a cuddle toy, a toy to chase or bat around and a feather wand which is ideal for interactive play and hunting behaviour. Perhaps needless to say they are all Halloween themed.

Some cats have a preferred style of play of type of toys, others like all of them. In any case, it is good to switch toys every now and again because that is more stimulating and will keep your cat entertained for longer. The cuddly toy has Valerian which helps keep cats calm, not a bad idea with Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night coming up!

To get your box or order one for a friend or loved one check out Gus & Bella’s website.

And you thought your cat loved boxes…

Today I found this exchange on Facebook which made me laugh. So I wanted to share it with you, just for fun.

* By Jessica Gerson-Neeves in a Facebook post

Dear Vitamix,

I feel like I should preface this by telling you that what follows is probably going to be the weirdest contact you’ve ever received, and it’s definitely the weirdest contact I’ve ever sent. I apologize in advance for literally everything I’m about to tell you.

My name is Jessica Gerson-Neeves, and my wife Nikii Gerson-Neeves and I have coveted a Vitamix for several years now, as I have a chronic disease that makes fiber very difficult for me to digest and my wife is an avowed lover of smoothies. Black Friday sales offered us the opportunity we hadn’t found earlier, and we finally ordered a Vitamix from Amazon the day after Thanksgiving. We were quite delighted when it arrived on our doorstep several weeks ago, and immediately brought it inside and absently set it down on the kitchen floor “just for a quick second.” That was our first mistake, and this is where things get weird.

We are the devoted servants of a trio of cats who go by the names of Max; George, Destroyer of Worlds; and Lando Calrissian. Mere seconds after setting down the Vitamix box, in the moments before we would’ve opened it and happily put our exciting new blender to use, Max (also known as the sentient soccer ball) spotted the box and, assuming it was for him, hopped right up on top.

And that was the beginning of the end.

That moment was two and a half weeks ago, and since then, the Vitamix box has been occupied by at least one and sometimes two cats at all times. With three cats and only two humans in the household, the humans are outnumbered and (being giant suckers), both frightened of and unwilling to forcibly relocate the offending cats.

Yes, we realize we’re absolute madwomen, and yes, we are both ashamed and sorry.

Long before we realized what this would turn into, I snapped a picture of Max atop the Vitamix that first day and posted it to a cat group on Facebook that goes by the name of THIS CAT IS C H O N K Y. The group boasts nearly a million members, and the post immediately took off. Since then, I have been faithfully documenting the whole sordid saga each day with photographs and accompanying prose. I am attaching to this email a curated selection of these posts and the pictures that accompany them so that you can get a sense of how the situation, now known widely as The Great Vitamix Incident of 2021 and/or Appliancegate, has developed.

Incidentally, I should mention here that of the five-to-ten thousand people following the saga, we are aware of at least a few who have now ordered their own Vitamixes, and hundreds of them are now seeing targeted ads for Vitamixes (Vitamices? We’re not quite sure of the appropriate pluralization). You’re welcome for the deeply strange free publicity?

We write to you because it has become clear at this point that without herculean intervention, we’re never going to get to use the new blender we’ve been longing for for years. Despite what many people have suggested, we aren’t writing to request additional Vitamixes—that would be ridiculous, and while we’re definitely ridiculous, we’re not quite that ridiculous.

No, we’re writing with a stranger but far less expensive request.
Is there—I cannot believe I am honestly asking this—any possibility at all that y’all would be willing to send us three (the number is very important, as there are three cats and we need there to be one extra so we can hopefully get the actual blender out of the box) empty Vitamix boxes? Other cardboard boxes seem to lack the appeal of the Vitamix box, and since, much like your wonderful blenders, this stand-off seems to be Built To Last, we’re afraid that this may be our only way out of the situation in which we find ourselves.

In case you are wondering, yes, I am ashamed of both writing and posting this letter. I both dread and look forward to hearing your response, and encourage you (as I’m sure you are finding yourself with the urge to do so) to spread it to your colleagues as widely as you would like in order to laugh at the absolutely bonkers middle-aged lesbians who are losing a stand-off with their cats.

Yes, we are a stereotype.

If by some miracle you are actually willing to fulfill the weirdest request ever, please let us know and I will be happy to send along our mailing address. And if, by some miracle, you have the urge to use any of the pictures, (which I have censored, I apologize for my foul mouth) posts in your marketing, at least let us know in advance, so we’re aware that more of the world is going to witness our shame.

With desperation and many, many apologies,

Jessica Gerson-Neeves


Vitamix reply:

Thank you for reaching out. This issue is not one to be handled lightly. We’ve assessed your predicament and have come to the following conclusion.

Firstly, we’re firm believers that you cannot move a cat from its post. Doing so results in penultimate despair.

Secondly, our great engineers designed these boxes for ultimate protection of the Vitamix unit. Little did they know, the possibility of a chonkier unit atop the unopened box would pose a problem. We’ll chat with them later. 😉

Thirdly, we’ve contacted our support team to stop what they’re doing and #SENDTHEBOXES. 🌈

Send us a private message when you get a chance so we can get your contact information over to our team.

Why do cats love people who hate cats?

I remember the scene vividly as it happened every time my grandmother visited: as soon as my grandmother entered the front door the cat disappeared from the living room. This left my grandmother disappointed as she loved cats. The only time the cat did not leave in time my grandmother rushed over only to be confronted by a cat turning its back on her.

Conversely, cats tend to approach those people that do not want to interact with them at all. Why?

Well, precisely because these people do not seek any contact. This means the cat is in control of the interction. About whether or not it happens and how long it will last. The ‘non cat person’ is far more likely than the ‘cat person’ to accept a cat’s boundaries and need for space.

Click here for the research study if you’d like to find out more.

How to Build the Best Cat Towers

* From my partners at katzenworld.co.uk

Building a cat tower requires doing some research and understanding your cat’s behaviour. It’s not an easy task. In fact, there may be instances where you build one, only to tear it down after you’ve seen how your cat is using it.

Here are some tips for building the best cat tower for your pet.

1. Research

It’s always a good idea to do some research on any project that you set your eyes on. Take some pictures, analyse reviews and talk to cat owners who own towers to gain some insight and advice. By researching, you can find design inspirations, determine which colours to use, and identify which structures you can add. The best cat trees are those that take your cat’s needs and behaviour into account, and also complement your home’s interior décor.

2. Determine The Size Of Your Home

One of the most important factors when making your decision to build a cat tower is the size of your home. You need to determine how big your walls are, how tall the trees surrounding you are, as well as the buildings around you. If you build a tower that’s too small relative to your space, your cat may be more interested in climbing taller and bigger objects. If the tower is too large compared to your space, you may feel cramped up in your space, considering it will share space with your furniture. Articles that discuss pet guides and product reviews can give you more insight into these essential considerations.

3. Determine The Tower Structure

Cat towers and houses are available in a variety of sizes. Some pet owners prefer to build them in tandem with a cat fence so that the cats will have a place to go to relieve themselves.

Most cats like to climb objects, which means that the structure you’re building needs to be tall enough for your cat to climb up and down comfortably. Your cat shouldn’t need to jump from one level to another, but the tower should help your feline companion improve their climbing skills. It is a good way to teach them to trust their paws and not use their claws when trying to climb.

4. Tower Material

The material used to build the tower can determine whether your cat will enjoy the tower. Materials such as rope, reed and thatch may be irritating for some cats because their claws get stuck in the material. Other materials used to make cat towers include wood which may be wrapped in cloth. Stay away from certain fabrics like cotton, because they may quickly become torn by the constant movement of your cat.

5. Consider The Size Of Your Cat

The best cat tower is one that can effortlessly hold your cat’s weight. You don’t want your cat to topple over or for the tower to give in to the weight. This can hurt your cat as well as the space in which the tower stood. Make sure to use a material that’s strong enough to hold your cat to avoid potentially dangerous scenarios.

6. Preferred Tower Location

Where you decide to place your cat tower is largely determined by your cat’s preferred location in the house. Some cats enjoy spending time with others in the lounge area, while others seem to prefer a quiet window corner. You may decide to place a tower where you’d prefer to see your cat, but if your cat hardly spends time in your preferred locations, then he or she may not fully enjoy the tower.

7. Rebuild

If you realise that your first attempt didn’t come out as intended, don’t be shy to dismantle and rebuild. Perhaps you’ll notice that it’s wobbly when your cat is on it, though it may appear steady. You may also notice that your cat struggles to navigate the tower because they’re too big for the tower. You simply have to observe your cat and fix the tower accordingly.

Conclusion

Before building your cat tower, you need to do some research. Gather design inspirations and building tips online. Consider the size of your home, your cat’s behaviour, and the size of the tower. Place the tower in a space that your cat enjoys. If you realise that there’s something wrong with the tower, you can always dismantle and rebuild. Wobbly towers or ones that are too small for your particular cat can cause dangerous scenarios where your cat may fall or knock the tower over. Also consider the type of material that you use to build the tower.