Working from home with a cat companion could boost your mental health

using a desktop computer with a cat
How WFH cat cuddles could boost our mental healthMarioGuti - Getty Images

It’s official. New research has confirmed what many of us already know – cats play a key role in our work from home days.

While the data suggests that our feline companions can improve our mood and general wellbeing, their significance in our WFH routines also rings true on a physical level. The data, collected by cat care company Tippaws, found that more than half of UK cat owners have their beloved pets close to their designated working areas (cosy on a nearby bed, or an unwanted recline across your laptop).

It’s not something that we’re ashamed of either, and as many as one in three of the cat owners surveyed admitted to showing their feline friend on screen during a work meeting, while 82 per cent said their colleagues know their cat’s name.

Are our feline colleagues really that beneficial?

Fortunately, this affection has wide-ranging benefits, and 96 per cent of respondents said their pet plays a role in improving their mental health – whether it’s from being there as we rant about work stresses or offering us a cuddle break.

‘Cats may be independent creatures, but they strike the perfect balance of affection, support and distraction,’ explained Tippaws Founder Rachel Andre. ‘We believe this makes cats excellent WFH colleagues, enhancing the wellbeing of their owner and making their workday more enjoyable,’ she added.

It’s not necessarily a one-sided thing either. Research suggests that working from home can also benefit our feline friends. ‘Early studies suggest that there may be a link between the number of hours a cat is left alone in the house per day and negative behaviour. Conversely, spending more time with your cat during the day may help reduce the risk of behavioural issues,’ explained Andre.

Still, much like humans, cats are capable of taking on a wide array of WFH personas, and Tippaws have revealed the five most common.

CEO aka Boss Cat

You’ll likely know if this persona applies to your feline friend just from the name. These cats are ready to call their owners into mandatory meetings (lap naps) and they have no shame about asserting their priorities. Mealtimes are served according to the boss’s schedule – not yours. While positions of authority are usually sought after in the office, this feline WFH persona is the most common, making up 36 per cent of the respondents’ felines.

HR Manager aka Head of Purr-sonnel

Think perfect people skills. If you have one of these kitties on your hand, you’re probably pretty lucky. They have a sixth sense for picking up on your work-related anxieties, and seem to understand your moods better than some of your real colleagues. A calming presence, their nuzzling and purring is likely to diffuse even the most stressful of work situations.

Marketing Manager aka Meowk-eting Genius

Marketing managers are some of the most innovative felines of our line-up. Who needs workplace inspiration when you’ve got a cat chasing a mouse one second, pawing at the window another, and jumping on your lap the next. Definitely not a dull co-worker, they’re always up for a game of chase. They’re not rare either, making up a whopping 33 per cent of our pet population.

businesswoman working from home trough video conferencing from her home during coronavirus lockdown
vgajic - Getty Images

IT Manager aka Digital Whizcat

Like any good IT Manager, these feline colleagues can be found pawing at your screen – or if you’re lucky, sprawled across a laptop. While other WFH’ers might have to rely on Google, or an IT team a phone call away, these lucky owners have an assistant on demand.

Quality Control Manager aka The Purrfectionist

Last but not least, we have the felines who like to keep WFH standards high. You can find them making sure all supplied (or stolen) treats are of the best possible quality, and if you’re lucky - they might even taste test your lunch for you.

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