Working From Home…With Cats: A Cat Tale

Jul 12, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Pets, Rebecca McLeod

by Rebecca McLeod


This is the sound that my kitten, Floppy, uses for most communicative occasions. It means a variety of things:

“Mom, I think I broke your iPhone!” (Yes Floppy, and I think you broke my foot when the iPhone landed on it.)

“Mom, I’m sitting in the dryer!” (Great Floppy, thanks for pre-shedding the clean clothes.)

“Mom, I just stepped in your Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and my foot is covered in chocolate!” (Thanks for running around the bedroom, tracking chocolate footprints everywhere!) (Note: Babycat, always helpful, tackled Floppy and sucked all the chocolate off his foot. She’s on a diet and misses her calories.) cat

“Mom, Babycat just puked again. I’m gonna investigate!” (Seriously, Floppy? God I wish I didn’t work from home!)

Kittens are wonderful – in acceptable, manageable doses. I haven’t needed an alarm clock since we adopted Floppy, because he is programmed to go off every morning with a series of howls as soon as the existential loneliness of his position hits him – between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. I haven’t quite decided which is worse – the full-throated, imperious “NAOW! NAOWWWWW!” yells, or the hesitant “Ehh?” (The latter usually preceded by a loud crash.) Yesterday I heard an irregular, metallic scraping sound followed by the “Eh?” My brain immediately translated this as: “I have a knife that I knocked off of the kitchen counter. I’m bleeding quite badly, but not as badly as the other two cats that are ominously silent.” I bolted out of the bedroom door to discover Floppy innocently nosing a metal hanger end around on the floor. He still doesn’t understand why Mom yells all the time.

I still don’t know how they managed to unscrew the hanger from its lower half…or what they were planning on doing with it.cats

Before I wised up and started searching the bathroom before locking the door, Floppy used to hide inside the cabinet which houses the sink (Babycat, our feral female, taught him and the big male how to open cupboard doors.)

He’d wait until I was showering and then hop up on the tall cupboard beside the shower so he could peer down at me while I wash my hair. The first time he “Ehhh?ed” me, I nearly slipped and broke my neck. Another time Babycat accompanied him on his expedition to the bathroom and pushed him into the shower while it was on. She’s like that.
Babycat is streetwise, uncannily intelligent, and possesses an immense amount of swagger. When our big male cat, Tikky, tried to bully her, she pulled off one of his whiskers and made him cry. She has never needed to be punished for anything – she watches the two boys screw things up and learns from their mistakes. She never bothers me when I am working. She is apologetic when she has a hairball, and ensures that she barfs on the tile, not the carpet.Cat in shower

Between Tikky and Floppy, it’s a miracle that I ever accomplish anything.

If Tikky were a human, he would likely be facing harassment charges – or starring in spy movies (there’s something Sean Connery-ish about him.) He believes himself to be irrepressibly suave, standing between me and my computer screen, rubbing his smug face against mine. See, Mom? I’m so handsome! His newest trick is to walk across the keyboard (“Hey, I can edit too!”) or to slap my face lightly to get my attention. The other day I ignored him a little too hard and he slapped the tea cup in my hand, splashing it down my blouse. “PAY ATTENTION TO ME, SLUT!
How dare you have a job!” Yes, working from home is a dream…if you don’t mind wearing a raincoat.

Tikky’s keyboard antics occasionally delete documents (“You don’t need that resume, right, Mom?”) and write new literary masterpieces. His current “meowifesto” reads thus:

1 1 1 1 1 1 1
1 1 1 1 1 545454545
““` wsawsawsawsawsawsawsa ||

Bestseller material, right?

As best I can tell, Tikky’s under the impression that we’re dating but that I’m being coy by ignoring him and favoring the company of my husband. Tikky regularly tries to chew off my wedding and engagement rings (“Listen here, hussy, you belong to ME!”) and will wickedly stand on the table and counter and yell during client calls.

Once during a Skype interview with a new author (a potential client), Tikky launched himself at me from across the room (a la Batman) and landed on my head, claws at full extension. I never knew whether it was the disorganized work space that lost me that job, or the string of cusses that I let out when Tikky hit me. Having worked blue collar jobs throughout my university years, I know words and word combinations that my silver spoon scholarship classmates may not have

So lock the cats in the spare room? Sounds simple, right?

“NAOW NAOW NAOW NAOW!” “MURGLE! MEH! MEH!” “EWWWWWWWW! YOOP YOOP!” followed by crashes and snarls as they decide to systematically knock over everything in the spare room and then fight in the middle of the wreckage.

Getting them high on catnip seemed like a brilliant idea at first, but Tikky is a niphead and will throw his entire sixteen pounds over the catnip and refuse to share, all the while giggling and trying to lick his tummy. If I give them catnip, I have to put it in multiple locations around the room so that everyone shares. Sometimes they puke or throw themselves at the screen on the lanai, trying to catch squirrels.

“It must be so nice to work from home,” sighed a friend the other day.

I’m sure gonna miss her.

Check out some of Rebecca’s rat stories in KRL’s rodent ramblings section, and another of her cat stories in our pet section.

Rebecca McLeod, enslaved by the whimsical charms of pet rats in her early twenties, continues her love of rats even though she currently doesn’t own any. She & her husband Matthew recently moved to Florida from Canada. Rebecca holds a B.A. Hons. in English from the University of Saskatchewan and is a freelance writer.


  1. I can sympathize. I also work from home with three cats. Fortunately, they’ve learned to nap while I’m working – usually! But, late in the afternoon when I want to sit and maybe shut my eyes for a few minutes before dinner, my attention is needed for patting, playing, and just being at their beck and call.

    • Oh Lee, I hear you! Every time I manage to get all three cats to sleep, I tiptoe around trying not to wake them. I follow a lot of Jackson Galaxy’s advice and I have a minimum of two scheduled playtimes for the cats every day–it seems to help them coordinate their schedules with mine.

      Do your cats jump on the keyboard? Floppy’s developed a new fixation–the little legs that prop up the back of the keyboard. He’ll lie on my desk and bat at them for half an hour before I ground him!

      • OMG! (laughs) I thought I was the only one who does the tip-toe thingy? I hate to wake Chiiwo up because it’s so hard to get him back to sleep and I can’t sleep knowing he’s not in his Hammock and asleep yet.

  2. I’m assuming that Floppy is the cat “hanging” on the shower curtain? He is ADORABLE. Good thing, eh?!

    • Were Floppy not as cute as he is, he would NEVER have lived this long! Yup, that’s him on the shower curtain.
      I think even the other two cats find him cute–Baby, our ferocious girl (who just tried to savage a pair of missionaries), lets Floppy get away with murder. Tikky, the big boy, will slap Floppy but then grudgingly lick his fur back into place.

  3. Haha, I know the feeling! Working from home with my two cats is a near “mission impossible” for me!


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