Working from home with your dog or cat can be a lot of fun, but it also brings some unique challenges. Your pet's role as a natural stress reliever is a godsend when work demands are testing your patience. But a pet's natural curiosity and excitement can be distracting. How can you run a professional work-from-home operation with a cat or dog in the mix? The secret is focused playtime during your breaks. If you can shower your pet with affection and energy a few times a day, working from home with your pet can be a real blessing.

Working from home with a pet can be fun.

Your cat or dog is naturally inquisitive, and your work activities are a bundle of mysteries. Just imagine it from your pet's perspective. "Why does she stare at that glowing thing all day?" "What is with that clicking thing he taps on all the time?" "Why is she ignoring me when we're in the same room?"

You've got to concentrate on your work, but your pets don't understand the importance of your job and will innocently try to get your attention. This can be disastrous if your cat lies on the keyboard while you type an urgent email or if your dog starts barking during a conference call. The key is to anticipate your pets' needs beforehand, rather than reacting in the heat of the moment.

Make Playtime a Little Challenging

If you engage your pet's mind with challenging play when you're not working, then he'll be less likely to annoy you while you're hard at work. For cats, this could mean using a feather wand or a treat to get him to jump, play, and chase you up and down the hall. Let him cool down again, gather his energy, and then play for another round or two until he's worn out.

For dogs, try some games of chase, fetch with a Fetch-a-Bounce toy, or tug-of-war. Play hide and seek with her toys or try a version of the shell game using her favorite treats.1 Take her for a run in your backyard. Buy a bubble mixture for pets and blow bubbles around the house. Try any game that will engage her mind and use up some of that pent-up energy.

This is also a great time to try clicker training with your dog or cat. (Yes, cats can be clicker trained too!)2 Teach them some new tricks. If they take to it, you can even teach them to run through an obstacle course in your home.

Interactive Toys Can Help

Your pet is likely excited to have you home during the day. Our pets just want to shower us with love. But their persistence is sometimes inappropriate during the workday. Giving them some interactive toys to play with can help divert their attention while you're on a call or meeting a deadline.

For a cat, this could include a Creative Kitty Roller Toy or a Kitty Tippy Round Cardboard Toy. An EZ Mount Scratcher that lets her watch the world outside can keep her entertained too. An interactive feeder that makes her hunt for food like she's hunting prey can also be fun.

Dogs love interactive feeders as well. The Romp 'N Chomp treat toy can be filled with peanut butter or water and will keep him entertained for a long time. The Triple Treat Holder is a good choice for a more powerful chewer. Some treat-free interactive toys include automated robotic toys that mimic fetch games or fuzzy, soft toys with stuffed animals hidden inside.

Give Your Pets Some Space

Giving your pets more space to call their own can help them feel safer, especially if they're cooped up inside together more than usual. For cats, this could mean adding some cat trees or shelves to give them more vertical space, such as the Hangin' Cat Condo. The Comfort Zone Calming Diffuser, which mimics a cat's natural pheromones, can help your cat feel like her space is safe and secure. Some cats might even love an enclosed Indoor Pet House to call their own.

You might also notice your cat hanging around your laptop more often. Cats love warm places, and there's no warmer place in your office than on your laptop. To help your cat find a more comfy (and still warm) place to snooze, try the Thermo-Plush Pad or the Thermo-Kitty Mat. Place the Thermo-Kitty Mat on your desk next to your laptop, then move your laptop to a more crowded part of the desk (like closer to an external monitor or a stack of books). Your kitty doesn't want to be crowded, making it highly likely she'll immediately take to the mat.

Gradually move the mat to the place you want her to sleep. Your laptop will be fur-free, and you'll have a new desk buddy as your kitty snoozes away during your workday.

For dogs, this could mean creating a space just for them with a dog bed, toys, and food and water bowls in a little corner.3 The Just Relaxin' Indoor-Outdoor Pet Bed can give your pup a feeling of luxury. If your dog is crate-trained, he might see his crate as the ideal retreat. Add a comfy crate pad and some favorite toys.

Keep a Consistent Schedule

Now that you're home, it can be tempting to sleep in more. But the more your schedule changes, the more anxious your dogs or cats may feel. Try to keep your feeding and play schedules as consistent as possible. An automated feeder can help.

When you're working from home, it can be surprisingly easy to live in harmony with your dog or cat. A few play breaks and a consistent schedule can make all the difference, along with some quality time together once your workday ends.

If you're sheltering in place or part of a coronavirus quarantine, your dog or cat can help you feel better about everything. Make the most of your time together and remember that every day is a gift—especially when you've got your furry sidekick.

Working from home with your cat or dog? Snap a pic with the hashtag #WoofFromHome or #WorkRightMeow on Instagram, be sure you tag @khpet. We'd love to hear your tips!

  1. Moustaki, Nikki. "3 Indoor Dog Games to Play When You're Stuck Inside." Dogster, 8 March 2018, https://www.dogster.com/lifestyle/indoor-dog-games-to-play-when-youre-stuck-inside.
  2. Woodard, Sherry. "Clicker Training." Best Friends, https://resources.bestfriends.org/article/clicker-training.
  3. Smith, Lindsay. "How to Keep a Dog Happy and Healthy in a Small Apartment." Apartment Guide, 24 August 2019, https://www.apartmentguide.com/blog/happy-and-healthy-dog-small-apartment/.