Why Pets Make Good Office Assistants

January 6, 2011

Edits on the novel are zipping along now. I sat down at 9:00 last night, and somehow it was midnight the next time I looked at the clock. Most of this afternoon also went to edits. If any of you are long distance runners… you know that feeling when you know you’re nearing the finish line, and suddenly you have to keep running, even if you’re exhausted? That’s the way I feel now. It’s not a question of whether I want to edit more tonight. It’s a question of how far I can get before I fall asleep at my desk.

However, it wasn’t 100% work today. The Tabby seems to have developed abandonment issues during my absence, and has been spending his time hunched in the corner of whatever room I’m in, watching me with huge, fearful eyes and occasionally uttering heartbreaking little mews. Alternatively, he’s standing on my keyboard or reaching up to poke my back with a single claw.

All of this made me realize: pets actually make pretty good office assistants. During one of our “brushing breaks” this afternoon (the Tabby lives for his pink, blingin’ brush) I compiled the following list.

The Tabby

Why Pets Make Good Office Assistants

  1. Having another living being in the room helps with the ol’ sanity.
  2. Attending to their needs generally forces you out of your chair before Deep Vein Thrombosis sets in.
  3. Similarly, walking your dog or playing with your cat goes some way towards protecting slackening muscles and hardening arteries.
  4. You can talk story problems through with them and they won’t interrupt.
  5. Sleeping animals make excellent paperweights.
  6. It’s cute when they try to help you type.
  7. Stroking a cat or dog lowers blood pressure. Perfect if you find a rejection slip waiting for you.
  8. If you wander through the house muttering dialogue under your breath, they look at you like you’re only a little bit crazy.
  9. Eventually, you’ll have to leave the house for them, for food, walks, or vet trips. Breathing fresh air is good for you.
  10. They’re a perfect conversation starter. Social interaction is good for you.
  11. You can look at them really intensely and wonder how they see the world.
  12. Forget air fresheners. Just hug an animal that’s been sleeping in the sun.
  13. Catz haz no speling skils… but they’ll give you moral support while you edit.
  14. When you work long into the night, they’ll still wait for you.
  15. They eat the flies that sneak through open windows and buzz like chainsaws all over the house.
  16. They don’t mind if you try out different names and languages on them.
  17. Sometimes you really need a laugh. Pets are good for that.
  18. Even if they interrupt your writing time, they’re so cute that you can’t get annoyed (not as much, anyway).
  19. Depending on size, they make good lap-warmers.
  20. No matter what happens with your writing, they’ll always love you.




  1. I think number 8 has a special value.

    Personally, I tried keeping a pet parrot, but he started stealing my ideas. Eventually, he found a publisher and left me.

    Got a rock, so that doesn’t happen again.


    • Yeah, rocks are good at keeping quiet. Hermit crabs aren’t bad either… they don’t get out much. 😉

  2. My muse mews too! And he is an excellent paperweight!

    We have a ritual every night before bed ~ after I turn off the computer, we go out on the deck together for a bit of fresh air. When we come in, he gets a cuddle and a treat. I get repaid in purrs.

    Loved this and glad that you’re in the flow with your editing.

  3. When I first got my kittens (they are brothers and a package deal) there was a definite period of adjustment on both their part and my part. They wanted to play with me…I wanted to write. Now we find time to do both…for the most part when I am at my desk they are content to be in the same room..napping in the sun behind my desk or lying on a nearby shelf…content that their human is there and taking care of them. Sometimes they even move their heads when I am verbally working out some plot point…I know they are listening and have faith that I will work things out. And there is nothing in the world like your #12…I call it bits of heaven…to me…that is what heaven smells like.

    • Ooh… I agree. If my afterlife doesn’t smell like warm fur, I’ll know I’m in the wrong place.
      The Tabby and I have also had to forge a work-play compromise. Unfortunately, he’s a little slow on the concept of “give and take,” and so is often bewildered by the fact that sometimes I pay more attention to that strange, glowing thing than to the feather-on-a-string he’s dragged all the way from downstairs. Like your kittens though, he does enjoy chilling in the same room, commenting on things out the window every now and then.

      • Yes, my kittens also don’t understand why my notebooks and laptop are more fascinating than their feather toys (and I find feathers in the oddest places…) They also don’t understand why I can play with my pens but they cannot. I had an argument with an ex-boyfriend who claimed that cats cannot go to heaven because they don’t have souls. I told him to prove this…I also said, then I don’t want to go there. Many reasons why he is an ex…lol

    • Animals and the afterlife, with a humorous twist:


  4. And when your pet is sick – we are ready to heal their preparations for pets.:-)

  5. I’ve been wanting to get a cat for a while now, it’s just a matter of finding the money to support one, or three, and convincing my landlord to let me. Though if it comes down to it I might just not tell my landlord I’m getting a cat.


  6. Years ago in the days of dialup (strange how that seems so long ago now), I had ferrets that logged on to the Internet. These days, my cats just sit on my keyboard when I’m away from the computer and load programs until the machine locks up.

    I’ve found that my pets work in shifts. One after the other comes to get attention, but never all at once. I keep telling them that if they won’t let me work, they’ll have to get jobs of their own. So far, they’ve ignored me.

    • Woah… dialup does seem like a long time ago. Remember the horrible noise the modem made as it connected? *Shudders*

      I only have the one cat, and he seems to take breaks from “helping” me. Maybe your gang figure they already have jobs… as your supervisors! 😛

  7. And when it’s a dog, especially a big fuzzy Irish Wolfhound, they can make a fantastic footwarmer when writing in the winter with only a fire and a kerosene lantern. Love the kitty photo.

  8. The only pets I can claim are a clan of zhu zhu pets that came at Christmas and our lonely betta fish. I miss having a dog and I can’t convince either of my kids to curl up under my feet for any reasonable amount of time!

  9. Kids make the best pets, but they cost way more than the furry kind.

    — david j.

  10. What a cute post! Honestly, I think that pets just make life better in every way.

    Your cat is just too adorable! (He looks quite similar to mine, so I might be a tad biased.)


    • Thanks! Trust me, he uses his cuteness to his full advantage. 😛

      • Surely that’s the best thing about all pets 🙂

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