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Now that telecommuting and home offices are endemic, it is time to revisit the role of the modern working cat. Where the traditional working cat kept the house and barn free of rodents, the modern cat is called upon, or volunteers, to perform more sophisticated roles. Those of you who are reading this from home may have a cat supervising your computer efforts and you will understand the vital role that a cat can play in your daily activities.
Authors have long known about the value of cat assistants, but that information should be more widely disseminated.
A well-drilled office cat knows when to purr in approval and when to sit quietly when you are on a conference call. If you persist in staring at the monitor for too long, your concerned cat will generally interrupt you gently at first, then more aggressively. In extreme cases of monitor fixation, cats will walk on the keyboard and insist on being picked up, thus effectively breaking the trance that occurs when handling interminable emails.
The experienced office cat will sit for hours while you work as long as it is provided with an ergonomically correct mat, pad or sweater. Some are resourceful enough to make their own bed out of carelessly discarded paperwork, but it is best if you take the time to provide for your feline coworker.
When you are miles away from the frenetic activity and mayhem of the corporate office, you can get lonely and your productivity will lapse. An office cat will know how to cheer you up and will usually know when to remind you to take a mid morning and mid afternoon coffee break.
Now the reason I am discussing the office cat and not a dog is that cats are constitutionally suited for office work in that they sleep almost 20 out of 24 hours a day. Dogs are incredible companions in most activities, but they would surely go bonkers in a home office. If some of you have office dogs, I would like to hear about them and will give them equal treatment, as we are a multi-species employer here.