Working With Feline Distractions

Whether it’s writing, editing, or any other kind of work, there’s no stopping the inevitable: your cat (or cats) will want your attention. Whether you consider it adorably annoying or annoyingly adorable, it’s a situation we have to work around.

As the saying goes: “the best offense is a good defense,” right? So defend yourself from this happening by ensuring a few key things before starting work:

  1. Make sure the cat’s needs are fully taken care of. Ensure their food and water are full and their box(es) clean. This way, you already know they aren’t likely crying about their food, water, or potty.
  2. Have a good play session with them. Take some time to play with kitty for at least 15 minutes. It’ll be good bonding time, and it means they’ll have less energy once you start working. Just make sure to take some time before you work, otherwise they may mistake you attempting to work as continued play.
  3. Pick a time when your cat is usually asleep. This is the most difficult of the three because it requires the ability to work during this time, but if it’s possible to move your work time to be during kitty nap time, you’re automatically much less likely to be disturbed.

While these won’t guarantee an uninterrupted work session, they should lessen the possibility of a kitty rampage. At the very least, your cat should be content for a little longer before wanting your attention.

If you work on a laptop that your cat loves to lay on, you could buy your cat a fake laptop or craft one out of cardboard. Reddit user u/cuppytron gives an example of how this would work.

This is a fine solution if your cat likes to lay on your computer, but it leaves out those of us with vocal cats. In this case, I recommend one of two things, based on the type of cat they are.

When Jasmine is vocal, she wants to play. I get her wand, sit on the stick portion, and move my chair around. Without fail, she’s playing with the nearly-bald toy as it wiggles around in the air. It’s more distracting than her taking a nap, but it’s far less distracting than her crying for attention.

When Catarina is vocal, she wants company. She wants to be followed somewhere and kept company in that specific spot. This is where the solution becomes a bit difficult: follow them and work on your items wherever your cat wants you.

Chances are, your cat just wants some time with you. It’ll be awkward to work on the floor, but if it makes your cat happy for a while (and lets you work more at peace), then isn’t it worth a bit of discomfort?

Of course, your cat could instead be food-driven. In this case, set up a food-based puzzle for them to solve. It could be anything, from a crushed-in paper towel roll with treats inside to a fancy contraption bought online. This may not provide you with all the alone time needed, but it would certainly be a way to get some silence while working!

Most importantly, make sure to give kitty lots of love after ignoring them for so long. If they were good and were minimally disturbing, give them extra treats or affection to reward them. It’ll take some training, for both you and kitty, but in the end it’ll be worth it.

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