Pets at Work
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.