It's National Bring Your Cat to Work Day this week, and there's no better time to check with your boss about bringing your fur-baby along for a day at the desk. Over the years, it has become more acceptable to bring your pet into your workplace. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of US companies that allow employees to bring pets rose by 5%, according to the Society of Human Resource Management.
So how do you prepare to bring your cat to work if your boss gives you the go-ahead? Here are some tips and tricks!
As cat experts will know, felines are not always the best in social situations. So while you may be excited about the possibility of having your tiny tiger roam around your workplace, you should consider your cat's personality first.
If your cat isn't very personable and tends to shy away from strangers, you're probably best off leaving them at home. An introverted cat will probably get stressed in a bustling office space and may even lash out if accidentally cornered by a curious coworker.
You might also want to avoid bringing in a cat that's keen to show off and loves being the center of attention. From standing on your keyboard to knocking over your carefully arranged stationery, a cat with a strong personality might not get on well in your workplace.
However, if you have a laid-back lion that loves nothing more than sleeping in a filing cabinet and isn't fussed by seeing a constant stream of strangers, then they might make a "pawsome" workplace companion.
As well as making sure your cat is right for your workplace, you'll want to ensure your workplace is right for your cat. You should always double-check with anybody who works in your general vicinity that they're okay with your cat.
One coworker may have recently discovered they're allergic to cats, while another may have an important phone call that day and may not want your cat roaming around their desk. Being considerate of those around you is key to bringing your cat into your workplace successfully.
You may also have coworkers who've never had a cat and may be unsure how to interact with your fur-baby. Letting a cat sniff your fingers before giving them pets is always good advice for anyone who's new to interacting with cats.
You'll also want to let them know not to make eye contact and to get down to Smudge's level so they're not threatening. Try introducing a coworker or two at a time with treats and toys so your cat warms to them a little quicker.
If you haven't got one already, you'll want to pick up a high-quality cat carrier for transporting your furry friend to and from work. Not only will you want your kitten contained while you're driving, walking, or cycling to work, but you'll also need somewhere safe you can put them in case of emergency.
Another good way of keeping your cat under control is to train them to use a harness. It's surprisingly straightforward to teach a cat to walk on a leash as long as you start young. And with a leash and harness, you can take your cat for a tour of your workplace just like their canine compadres!
Whether you choose a soft or hard carrier is up to you and may depend on your cat's personality. If your cat is generally docile, then a soft carrier might do. However, if your cat doesn't like confined spaces and tends to claw at their carrier, then opt for a hard crate.
Many cats aren't keen on getting in a carrier in the first place, which can cause issues if you're trying to leave work in a hurry. While crate training a cat isn't as easy as a dog, you can encourage your cat to use a crate by starting when they're a kitten and creating a cozy space they can access at any time.
One of the most important things to do when taking a cat to work is to bring everything they'll need to be comfortable. Purchase your pawed pal a portable litter tray so they have somewhere to do their own business. The last thing you want is for one of your coworkers to find a surprise under their desk.
Of course, you'll also want to bring your cat's food and water bowls. Try to find somewhere isolated near your desk where your cat can chow down without any interruptions. Try to keep your cat on the same feeding schedule so they don't start yowling for food when their dinner is overdue.
As well as bringing essential items, you'll need to bring a few things to keep your cat entertained. A small scratching post is a must, as you won't want your cat stretching and shedding their claws on your office's expensive furniture.
You'll also want to bring some toys and treats to help keep your cat occupied. A puzzle toy that dispenses treats is ideal, as it will keep your cat entertained for ages without you having to stop work to play. Before bringing these items, ensure you've tested whether your cat will use their scratching post and toys. Otherwise, you may find your cat ignores their toys and misbehaves.
Cats can become easily stressed, so you'll want to watch their body language and behavior in case you need to make a quick exit. If your cat seems stressed or anxious, looks for signs including:
Symptoms like these could be signs of stress, in which case you may want to take your cat home or hire a cat sitter to keep them company. Do not under any circumstances leave your cat in your car while you're working.
While bringing your cat to work can be lots of fun, it's worth remembering the reason behind National Take Your Cat to Work Day. The aim of these days is to raise awareness about cat adoption and to encourage your coworkers to adopt by interacting with your own fluffy feline friend.
Some workplaces will even host pet adoptions on National Take Your Cat to Work Day. If you can, check with your boss to see if this is something they'd be open to. If so, help organize the event and get as many strays as possible adopted by loving homes.