As someone who worked in corporate America for the better part of two decades, I used to dream longingly of having a work-from-home job. Rather than rising at the crack of dawn and fighting the commute, I could leisurely get up and hang out all day in my pajamas if I wanted. On nice days, I could take my laptop out to our patio and work there with a glass of iced tea (or a margarita, whatever) in my hand.
I also daydreamed about how lovely it would be to be home with our dogs and cats all day. In my little fantasy, a warm kitty quietly purred away in my lap, providing furry inspiration and urging me on to greatness, while birds twittered outside and rainbows sprouted from my keyboard.
Then two years ago, I finally took the plunge. I said goodbye to my 8 to 5 job and began working from home as a freelance writer.
And you know what? Much of what I imagined came true. But the part about the cats? I’m here to tell you that having feline co-workers isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be.
I don’t know what it is but Smudge will NOT listen to my admonitions to “move back or you’ll ruin your eyes.” Nope. He has to sit as close as possible with his nose practically smooshed into it.
This concerns me for two reasons. First, it’s actually my monitor, not his. That old saying about cats making better doors than windows? Totally true. Out of the entire area of my 21-inch monitor, I typically only utilize about two square inches at any given time. Second, if his eyes go bad, I’m a little worried he’ll file a worker’s comp claim.
Smudge: You said it’s a mouse.
Me: Yes, but it’s a …
Smudge: That means it’s mine.
Me: No, it’s not a mouse-mouse. It’s a computer mouse.
Smudge: Right. It’s a mouse. It’s mine.
Me: No … I use it to work on my computer.
Smudge: Use what?
Me: The mouse.
Smudge: Mouse? Where? It’s mine!
Think you can get eight hours’ work out of a cat? Ha! Think again. Mine are constantly demanding naps. And treats. And lunch breaks (even when it’s clearly not anywhere close to lunch). They claim it’s in their contract. Between you and me, I’m dubious about this. But every time I ask to see said contract, they claim it’s in their contract that I’m not allowed to see the contract and that they’ll have a union rep get back with me. I’m still waiting.
We all know this about cats, right? The worst part is they don’t know it. Quite the contrary, they think they’re awesome at it and there’s nothing you can do to dissuade them. And you can just forget about asking them to take dictation. It’s as if they’re furry little drunk monkeys. Here, I’ll demonstrate by dictating the rest of this paragraph to Smudge:
l;kjkljjoikwokajm adkjfjakjd vnakdjh ga’l;kajdf ajdiiiim …
See what I mean?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called a meeting to find that only the dogs and I have shown up. Now, this wouldn’t be such a problem except that any decisions have to be approved by a quorum, and I’ve been informed that the dogs’ votes don’t count. Apparently, it’s in the cats’ contract.
Last year, my sister told me that there are videos of birds, squirrels and fish on YouTube to keep cats entertained. “How fun!,” I thought. So I loaded a few videos and called the cats over. Abby declared that it was terribly boring and went to take a nap. Smudge, however, was hooked. Even though I carefully explained that they were only to be viewed during non-working hours, he pesters me relentlessly, asking over and over where the fishies are. Often, I’ll give up and allow him to watch just one. Which he does while sitting way too close to the monitor.
Even though they take numerous sleep, video and lunch breaks, they constantly ask if work time is over yet. Smudge is particularly bad about this, even though, to my knowledge, he doesn’t actually know how to tell time. I always tell him it’s when the little hand gets to the five. Then he wants to know, “What’s five?”
Don’t get me wrong. They are ever so much cuter and a lot more cuddly than any of my former human co-workers. And I can snorgle their bellies freely without getting called into HR. But they definitely have some room for improvement when it comes to their work ethic. I would mention this in their annual reviews but I can’t. It’s against their contract.
Your turn: If you had to fill out an annual review for your cats, how would they do? Tell us in the comments!
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About the Author: Amber Carlton is owned by two cats and two dogs (all rescues), and is affectionately (?) known as the crazy pet lady amongst her friends and family. She is a freelance copywriter and blogger for hire and also acts as the typist and interpreter for her dog’s musings at Mayzie’s Dog Blog. Amber encourages other crazy pet people to connect with her on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.