Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pets at Work

Feline Friendship, Circle A Cycles
Every time I visit Circle A Cycles, I sift through my pictures of the shop afterward only to discover that they are mostly cat portraits. But who can blame me, when they have such a fabulous shop cat. BT's job is mainly reception, customer service and PR. When it comes to being petted, she is an equal-opportunity practitioner - diligently making her way from one visitor to another, ensuring that everyone gets their fair share of stroking her silky fur and scratching her velvety ears. When this task is done, she slinks around delicately amidst the machinery, inspecting the quality of her colleagues' work. 

I've tried to invite my own cats into my workspace. There was that one time I attempted to have them in the same room while I painted. Minutes later, they'd already managed to dip their little paws into some paint, and were now proceeding to spread it around the entire room while swatting brushes off of shelves and batting at jars of turpentine playfully. Oh how I paid for their visit with hours of cleanup. Oh how they squirmed and squealed as I quarantined them in the bathtub and scrubbed their paws with soap.  

On another occasion, I tried to scan negatives around my whiskered friends. Their curiosity in this task made the scanning process unnecessary, since the strip of negatives was quickly rendered unusable. 

Working on bikes in the same room is excitingly risky. They are intensely interested and make a show out of being very good, so that I allow them to be there. And they are good, up to a point. Until a particularly attractive part catches their eye and they challenge each other to a soccer match. The speed and elegance with which they can cause damage are admittedly impressive.

I can work from home on my laptop, but just barely. The cats like to stealthily make their way onto the table and slowly wrap themselves around the keyboard, until both my wrists are resting on some part of cat and my typing is constricted. "At least help me type if you're going to do that," I try to reason with them. They ignore me, purring triumphantly. Later a friend explained that this really is their way of helping me write: The purring functions as a metronome of sorts that helps me keep rhythm and type faster. Shop cats they are not, but perhaps I underestimate their value as office cats. 

26 comments:

  1. Pets in the workspace are simply great, especially if one works alone. You know, at some point I think you're obligated to show your readers some paintings!!

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    1. Some day. The majority are NSFW I'm afraid.

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    2. I concur. I can only one bicycle sketch from the past (though I could be wrong).

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    3. I posted some bike sketches here, but this isn't what my stuff actually looks like.

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  2. My cat loves to lie on piles of paper, which is great if you need a paper weight, but aren't adding to the pile. Yowling protests accompany even the most gentle lifting to add to the pile. Also climbing into my lap while typing is okay, unless she insists on pacing, tail up, and pushing my wrist while I'm typing.

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    1. When a new object of sittable-upon size is brought into the house, the cats compete for who gets to sit on it first. The look of smug satisfaction on the winner's face is hard to describe.

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  3. Love that picture and this post is just hilarious.

    My cat's favorite bicycle-related activity to "help" with is wrapping bar tape. I'll leave the details of her assistance to your imagination.

    She also really likes sitting and watching the snow slowly melt and drip off after a winter ride.

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  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYK1g-3thYw

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  5. My pet has a wonderful knack to knowing when my work is getting stale and a break is needed. He's sixteen and will be missed :(

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  6. Masterful, cats do not work! I have a maine coone(used to have 2) whom are famous for trying to 'help' their slaves/humans with work. It really just means they lie on top of whatever you are doing and purrr or sitting closely watching whatever you are doing and chirrp approvingly. I like to imagine he will pick up a tool for me, or chop firewood, but no. Usnea will sit and watch my husband as he does woodworking, chop firewood, watch carefully as bikes are worked on, help with the gardening by pushing his head into plants I just tended, or sitting on top of them and squishing them. If I try sewing he will be on top of the fabric I am trying to pin, or chasing whatever. Going through papers, and stuff, he's on it. If piles of work, books and projects start to pile up on tables, they become irresistible to cats and they lie on top of them. Art would be mostly impossible with them around.
    My other cat is more computer savvy and will sleep on laptops if he gets his way. He likes curling up behind the imac which is close to the woodstove so he gets heat and computer heat at the same time! He loves to sit on our laps and watch the screen, occasionally attacking if something offends him. He won't sink his claws into my thighs, but loves to punish my husband with cat scratch crazies.
    Cats tend to be in put in workspaces because of their hunting skills such as at the Hermitage in St Petersburg to kill mice. They are risky around computers and such because the wires are just so fun to chew on which sparks annoyance. Then their charm, silky soft fur and absolute cuteness seduces everyone and they've conquered another empire.

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    1. We used to have the occasional mouse before we got the cats, but not anymore. I don't think they ever caught any, but more likely the mice sensed them and cleared out.

      My husband and I will sometimes set up our laptops across from one another at the kitchen table. The table is so small, that opening both laptops at the same time forms a little teepee type structure underneath where the lids touch. One of the cats delights in crawling in there and making herself comfortable in the teepee. She gets so sad and offended when we try to escort her out.

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  7. A workplace with a cat will get my custom before any others. I had acat who loved to watch me work on my SAABs. She would look at me,back at the nut, back at the wrench and the look on her face said "no, dummy, that's a 13mm nut."

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    1. Similar with my cats, except their look says "Enough already, it's time to feed me now."

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  8. Our cats' knowledge of keyboard shortcuts never ceases to amaze me - including sending a partially completed (by me) email on at least one occasion!

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    1. The youngest generation is simply amazing; computer literate since kittenhood and they pick it up so quickly!

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  9. Madness, madness I tell you! My terrier Rufus is not impressed.

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  10. It took my wife a year, yes a year, after giving birth to our first to get back on a bike. Girls are weird.

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    1. To your first... pet? (trying to grasp the connexion to this post)

      But speaking of birth and bicycles, check out the cycling midwives on LGRAB.

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  11. No, our first child, not pet. Our first pet was a goofy dog and also the first clue of what was ahead. I completely missed. So busy.

    She's been back to her usual pre-prenatal fast 20 miles per day, without fail, for some years now. Still weird, though.

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  12. Happy New Year and thanks for all the fun posts in 2012!

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  13. cats do seem to be in favor at my local bike shops. some of the more hyper ones like to launch themselves into a box full of parts. they also love to take naps in bike baskets and sniff new bicycles. and they're pretty entertaining while i wait for work to be finished on my bike.

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  14. In a previous life, I tried my hand at being a full time potter. I also had 2 full time feline assistants. The short haired male was forever stealing the sponge I used while throwing a pot. I eventually had to make a special "sponge storage pot" so I wouldn't be chasing down a soggy, clay laden sponge ever time I went into my studio.
    The long haired female loved to sit in my lap while I worked at the pottter's wheel. A bit awkward to say the least. And she would start swishing her long, fuzzy tail about as the pot neared completion - to the point that it would start dragging across the wheel head and getting all coated in wet, sloppy clay. How undignified !!
    I did try to make an imprint of her front paw in clay. It took two of us to hold her and she was totally p***** off with this action. To the point that she found the clay imprint while it was drying and proceeding to scratch it al to hell. It was the ONLY piece of pottery she ever damaged. Naturally, I had to call my pottery "Cat's Paw Pottery". Perhaps that was her goal??!!
    I've been "owned" by several other cats since then and continuously marvel at their curiosity, intelligence and ability to create havoc - at my expense !! I wouldn't want it any other way.

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  15. I think the trick to having a "good" studio pet is to have one that is disinterested enough and quasi-lazy.

    I am a potter, and have two dogs. One is too hyper and excited around the studio, so she rarely visits. My middle-aged pug is great, though! He sniffs everything for about five minutes, then decides to nap on an empty shelf near the ground, and assists me by providing a soundtrack full of snoring, which is kind of like a metronome!

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  16. If you had Border Collies they could do the typing for you...

    Spindizzy

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  17. Scientist have revealed different gradations of cats' purrs. Some are mire insistant others restful. Recently, there was even a BBC video clip of a cat with the loudest purr in the world. You can probably find it on YouTube.

    I love cats and dogs, wish I were stationary enough to keep one. Love your sketches btw, look forward to seeing your artwork one day. Velofeet.

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