This week is “Take Your Pet to Work Week”, and we celebrated a bit early by taking Skeezix into Catster headquarters last Thursday.
I’m no stranger to cats in the workplace. Years ago when my Siamese, Mao, was a kitten, I had the opportunity to take him to work. One of the engineers at work had a kitten, too, a tabby named Oski. At the time, both Mao and Oski had older female cats at home who held them in low regard, so we wondered if Mao and Oski would enjoy playing together at work.
Turns out, they did, and they quickly became very best friends. This presented some problems. Oski’s owner usually came in to work pretty late, which meant that Mao had no playmate for an hour or longer in the morning. Mao took this as a cue to wander through the office calling for Oski in his eardrum-piercing meezer yowl. He’d shut up the minute Oski arrived, at which point the two would happily play and nap together all day long.
Mao’s pre-Oski-arrival yowling wasn’t really appropriate for the work environment, so I’d sequester him in my office. When it got really bad (or when I had a conference call with clients), I’d put him in a closet in my office that had his cat bed and toys inside. (Note to PETA: it was a large closet, and he was content inside.)
Oski’s dad was hesitant to get Oski neutered, and he waited too long. One day, Oski sprayed the office (but good!) and cats were thereafter banned from the premises. I’m sure that Mao looks back on his days with Oski as the best time of his life.
Generally, cats are not as easy to take to work as dogs are. They require a litter box and a scratcher, co-workers may claim to have allergies, and there’s the risk of people getting scratched or bitten.
If there are a number of dogs who typically come to work in an office, you may have to alternate days on which you bring one or the other to work, depending how your cat reacts to dogs, and vice versa.
So before you take your cat to work, carefully evaluate whether it’s a good idea or not:
If you have your own office and can contain the cat inside, great. If you’re in a cubicle or work in an open floor plan, give some thought as to how you will contain your cat, and any dangers she might encounter as she wanders through the office, including:
If you think you cat will acclimate well and safely to your office environment and you’ve got the OK to bring her in, it’s time to make preparations. Here’s a checklist:
If you are a manager, be mindful of the way the employees react to the workplace animals. Some may not speak out in front of a group against having pets in the office, but still have issues. At one office in which I worked, management would distribute a survey periodically (responses were anonymous), evaluating the pet policy. The survey asked if the pets were disruptive, what could be handled better, etc. This provided an incentive for pet owners to behave well, as well as an outlet for those negatively impacted by bad owner behavior.
On a not-altogether-unrelated-note, during our Road Trip series, several of you left comments asking how Skeezix travels in the car.
The answer is, he’s generally a very calm traveler. He’s a little vocal for the first few minutes on surface streets, but when we get to the highway, he settles down for the ride. I open the side door to his carrier, and he sits in it–half-in, half-out–for the trip. (We are going to get him a “booster seat” we can hook him into.) Here’s a short video clip of him riding in the car to Catster HQ last Thursday for our celebration of Take Your Cat to Work Day:
Do you take your cat to work, or plan to do so this week? Tell me your story!
And don’t forget to take this week’s Catster Poll on taking your cat to work.