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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Gogerly

ANOTHER GAME OF CAT AND MOUSE: Why does my cat get in the way of work?

What does it mean when my cat butts in?

Minx is my 8-year-old beautiful yet batty cat and she's here by my side as I write this blog - see above. I live in a top-floor flat so we went with the Ragdoll breed because they’re supposed to make good house cats. I often spot Minx looking wistfully out the window at birds but she really does seem content to hunt for flies within the confines of her home. Sometimes she eats the plants and seeks out sunshine as it pours into the living room - I think she’s happy. What is more, Minx is delightful company and it’s hard not to purr myself when I run my fingers through her delicious, silky-soft fur.

Ragdolls by nature are meant to be soppy, floppy and easy-going creatures. Minx is all of these things when she’s around me but invariably, if friends or family drop by, then she tenses up, her fur fluffs around her head like the collar of a King Cobra and she goes on the attack. Hissing, spitting and striking out with her claws - she often draws blood. It has been said that my cat is evil but I know very different. To me she is sweet and loyal, a soothing shadow every day through to night…

Except for when she gets in the way of work. Anyone who has a feline friend knows how they like to loll on newspapers and paperwork or squidge into boxes. But Minx seems obsessed with my laptop. She headbutts the screen and sometimes attacks the keys. One time she managed to gouge out the letter ‘I’ - fortunately it wasn't my partner’s eye. I was almost impressed until I realised this called for a new computer.

Another annoying habit is the way she plonks herself on the keyboard and paws the mouse as if it were the real thing. It’s as if she knows I have a deadline looming and this is the best way to muck things up - this leaving behind the residue of fine hairs and cat canker when she decides to slink off. Have you ever tried to clean up cat hair on your computer? It’s a hopeless task; somehow it escapes into the cracks between the keys before working its way into the internal workings, causing who-knows-what kind of damage.

Of course I love her so and always will. But I do wonder why she behaves this way. And why do all cats have this urge to get in the way of what you’re doing? Is it merely attention seeking? According to cat behaviour consultant Marion Krieger (she’s also the author of ‘Naughty No More: Changing Unwanted Behaviors Through Positive Reinforcement’) suggests it is because they are drawn to the warmth of the computer. And, all that rubbing and head butting could be their way of marking their territory too.

All of these seem reasonable ideas for my mad Minx’s behaviour but how do you tackle it? Ms Krieger’s suggestion that I buy a decoy laptop seems less than purrrfect to me… I mean what am I going to do about the card games she scuppers, the tumble dryer in which she lurks and the Christmas tree around which she goes berserk? I guess the best thing is to sit back and enjoy her funny feline ways and give her all the love she craves.

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