working with a helpful cat (or two)

Shadow & Buddy, August 2014
Shadow & Buddy, August 2014
My businesses are really run by two resident cats (Shadow and Buddy). During most of the year there is also a rotating number of intern foster kittens to provide extra help.

As spring gears up, I know I’ll soon be wrangling this year’s bunch of kittens.

How do I work with helpful cats and kittens? It’s accomplished with extreme care.

Case in point: I typed this post with Shadow helping me keep my hands on the keyboard and Buddy helped me edit.

Tip One: Clean

foster kitten asleep on a notebookFelines are experimental physicists. Curious kittens experiment to learn about their environment, test their strength, and often their teeth. They love to constantly to confirm that the law of gravity is still in effect. Anything on my work surface is subject to a random check.

This means my desk is extra tidy during kitten season.

It took a kitten clearing my work surface for the third time in thirty minutes (and running off with yarn) for this lesson to really sink in for me. My prior method was piles and keeping out current projects. When a carefully stacked pile of notebooks flies across a room yet again, it causes a habit change, even when the comments from a parent (or spouse) never succeeded.

There is a benefit, I finally discovered a tidy desk enhances my focus.

Tip Two: Plan

Buddy cat sitting on my laptop keyboard. Save early. Save often. Make backups. After almost nine years I’m still impressed that Shadow figured out how to reboot my laptop via the keyboard. He taught Buddy (pictured). Non-breakable cups and mugs with lids are also essential. If I approach my work with an expectation that a cat will try to make it better, it’s easier to work with them.

If a task is urgent or a feline interruption would be disastrous, I work elsewhere for a short while.

Kittens have a rhythm to their day–they are crepuscular, and I have my own. I try to shift the bulk of my work to occur when they are napping so that I can be prepared for my final and most important tip.

Tip Three: Play

foster kittens playingIt’s very easy to fall into the trap that I must work. If I’m not working I’m not successful; and that I don’t have time to play. I believe strongly in play to help rest my brain and help improve focus. Working with kittens helps them to learn socialization skills and be ready to find their forever family. Play with my resident cats helps to enrich their lives and keeps them healthier and happier too. Playing together helps everyone to succeed.

Do you want to get involved and help cats and kittens in need? Three ways you can help are: donate money, donate things, and (or) donate time. Those links go to my local humane society, search for a group near you.