The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in a lot of ways. For many Americans, changes came in the form of new work arrangements and new four-legged family members. According to a 2021 survey, 23 million US households welcomed a cat or dog into their homes during the pandemic. And despite workplaces opening up again, a number of people would rather remain working from home than return to the office.
While it sounds like absolute fun to work in the same space as your feline furiend, there can be some challenges too. Cats often act as if the entire house belongs to them, including your workspace, so you may find your furry pal sleeping on your keyboard, playing with your pens or even trying to take a sip out of your coffee in curiosity. You’ll need to ensure your furry roommate is getting the mental and physical stimulation they need throughout the day, as exercise and play are crucial to your cat’s health and happiness and help prevent obesity, boredom, stress, and behavioral problems.
Cats are great for us! They help reduce our blood pressure, give us unconditional love, and no one will argue that a lunchtime cuddle with a kitty isn't the best way to relieve stress. But if you need to keep your cat busy while you get some work done, we've got some tips for you! Read on for ideas on how you can keep your cat entertained while working from home!
Puzzle games are pawtastic boredom busters! By encouraging your cat to problem solve for a yummy reward, these interactive toys not only train your kitty to use their brain, but also allow them to satisfy their hunting and foraging instincts. Puzzle games usually feature places where you can hide treats or food, which your cat will have to work for by figuring out the puzzle. You can easily find different types of puzzle games at pet supply stores, and you can make your own as well. Many felines enjoy food mazes, snuffle mats, and lick mats!
Scratching posts and cat trees are great for keeping your furry friend busy during office hours. In addition to keeping your cat’s claws healthy, scratching posts allow your cat to stretch, release pent-up energy, relieve stress, and get a bit of exercise. Cat trees, with attached toys to play with and multiple levels to climb and jump on, help keep your kitty active and occupied too.
If you have the space, consider investing in a catio. These outdoor enclosures let your cat experience the outside world safely, which can do wonders for their mental health and keep them busy watching critters outside.
It’s the digital age, and even companion animals are going high-tech! Whether you have an iOS or Android device, you’ll find several tablet games that have been created especially for feline users. Most of them are catch games where your cat has to catch the objects or animals that appear on the screen with their paws. Purrific cat-approved apps include Cat Fishing 2 (iOS, Android) and Cat Alone (iOS, Android).
Don't have a tablet handy? You can also get your kitty an automatic laser toy for a more 4D experience and let them chase the red dot around the house for some pawrific exercise. Just make sure to set it up in another room so they don’t distract you during your online meetings.
Yes, TV for cats is a thing! A quick online search will turn up dozens of hours-long videos that were made with feline viewers in mind. These shows usually star birds, mice, squirrels, and other animals going about their day and are sure to keep your cat entertained while you work. Popping on a nature documentary will also do the trick; however, nothing beats live entertainment.
Give your cat a front-row seat to a “livestream” by putting up a bird feeder outside their favorite window. Be sure there's a perch or room for them to see the birds some and go, and they’ll be amused for hours!
Cats would sometimes rather play with everyday items than expensive toys. Felines are particularly fond of paper, often laying claim to a paper bag from the grocery store or a cardboard box from the mail carrier as soon as they set eyes on it. So don’t forget to save these items and repurpose them into cat toys. You can let your cat play with them as is, or get a little creative by turning paper bags and cardboard boxes into tunnels and empty toilet rolls into treat dispensers. Crumpled paper balls are great for playing fetch too!
While it’s important to enrich your cat’s environment with toys and things to do, you still need to play with them during your breaks. Despite having a reputation for being aloof, cats actually prefer human interaction to food and toys, as a 2017 study found. It’s also recommended to set up designated playtimes so your cat won’t develop the habit of nagging you to play; having a routine teaches them that you will give them attention on your terms—just be sure to be consistent!
Taking breaks to entertain your kitty is actually good for you too! Working at a desk all day can be bad for your physical health, and experts often recommend getting up every hour or so for a 10 to 20-minute break to stretch and walk a bit. Incorporating your break with your cat's playtime is the pawfect way to keep you both healthy!
With a little foresight, you can create kitty-approved fun at home that your cat will love- and help you keep focused and distraction free at work. And best of all, you'll have a purring best friend to snuggle with at the end of the day.
Got a heads-down meeting coming up and can't entertain your demanding cat? Book a drop-in with a trusted Pet Caregiver to keep that feline busy!
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