Cats make good workplace companions. They're cute, they can be friendly, and their purr and fur are comforting to many a frustrated podcaster. However, they also like to climb into workspaces and knock things over. They can step on surge protector buttons, chew on cables, things like that. If you've ever felt like it's the cat or the podcast, never fear. I have cats, work from home, and somehow we've all managed to survive. Here are five ways to keep your cat from destroying your podcast.
1. Cats don't like some smells that humans do like.
Invest in some bitter spray, sometimes called a training aid, or hot spot spray. Get one that doesn't have alcohol as a base, to keep from damaging your desk or podcasting equipment. I use one which contains rosemary and lemongrass oil, both of which have the added benefit of being relaxing and mentally stimulating for me. Spritz the bitter spray generously on an old towel or a scrap of a t-shirt, and lay it on your workspace. To your cat, it smells like, “something cats don't want to lick.” You'll have to reapply it every day or so. Bitter spray's effectiveness depends on the cat, but even cats who don't dislike the bright, citrusy, herbal smells will lick it, taste the bitters, and know that this is not their spot.
2. Encourage the cat to stay on things that you don't use for your podcast.
You know how cats rub their faces on things they like? Synthetic cat pheromone sprays, such as Feliway, mimic the smell of cats' cheeks. They encourage a sense of relaxation and well being for cats. The smell tells the cat, this is my safe space. You can spritz this on the cat's bedding, or use a diffuser. If your cat has a space where they can see you working on your podcast, where they feel safe, they're more likely to stay there.
3. Save your podcast early, save it often.
My cat once stepped on the switch to my computer's power strip while I was editing. My resulting scream of frustration rattled the windowpanes. Backing up your data is always good. Don't rely solely on an automatic backup system all the time, just get in the habit of hitting “save,” and make sure you have a copy backed up somewhere else.
4. Dangly things are asking for it.
Keep your workspace tidy. If it hangs or swings, it triggers a cat's hunting instinct. Next thing you know, not only is the cat yanking at cables, they're chewing them. Keep your cords, surge protectors, etc. managed carefully, not in a tangle under your desk. You might even consider opting for more of a wireless setup.
5. Separate cat playtime and podcast work time.
Make sure the cat has plenty of playtime outside of your work time, away from your workspace. Tire them out. As you schedule your podcast work time, plan for twenty minutes here and there to dangle a toy on a string for the cat. Besides, you know what they say about all work and no play. If you give them love and set boundaries, they'll sit and snooze nearby while you work.
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