A Cat Conundrum

There are innumerable obstacles that can block the flow of brilliant words from a writer’s brain to the page. Lack of caffeine, the presence of a crying child, sheer laziness.

But I get cat block.

That’s right. Cat block.

The issue is that I like to write whilst leaning back in my comfy red IKEA chair. Typically, I prop my feet up on a stool or the desk, and the keyboard rests on a lap desk that’s placed, well, on my lap.

You see, my cat believes that my lap is his territory and his alone. He typically chooses to assert this belief when I’m on a prose-spinning, plot-escalating roll.

So I’ll just be typing along and then WHOOSH, clacka clacka clacka, BANG! Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

The result is this.

What? You’d rather work on your novel than give me a back rub? Tough kibble.

Cat on lap desk. Keyboard on floor. (And Logitech must build keyboards fit for a war zone because it still works after multiple instances of this abuse.)

Depending on what mood I’m in I’ll either A) indulge the cat, or B) scrape the cat off my lap desk and return to writing. But whenever I choose Option B, I am often treated to some ear-melting cat yodeling that is equally effective at preventing me from writing.

I realized what I ultimately need is some way for me to continue typing while the cat is snuggled up on my lap. Because as long as he’s sitting there, he’s content and less inclined to yodel.

I’ve tried reaching over the cat to type on my keyboard. My arms, alas, are too short, and this strategy led to shoulder strain. Also, Disco is not an insubstantial cat. He’s big enough that I can’t see the keyboard, and because my touch typing is the self-taught, full-of-bad-habits variety, I hate not being able to see the keys.

I have tried putting the keyboard on top of the cat too. That move ultimately led to wobbly typing, an uncomfortable position for my hands, and a perturbed cat who was inspired to yodel despite my effort to keep him on my lap.

My current compromise with Disco is that I will encourage him to curl up on my feet instead of my lap. He must view my feet as inferior real estate because that only works once and a while. I’ve even tried wrapping him around my shoulders, but see my earlier point re:not an insubstantial cat. Inhaling fur tends to inhibit creativity too.

Cat block is not the worst thing a writer could be facing, so I consider myself lucky. Still, that hasn’t stopped me from looking into getting an ergonomic laptop stand in the hope that a cat will fit nicely underneath it, or hoping that my cat finally comes to the realization that he’s not Billy Idol.

If anyone else has any other ideas, I’m more than happy to hear them. One caveat: It must not involve harming the cat.

Because cats always get their revenge, and they always make a point of savoring it.




One comment

  1. I have a cat who likes to sit on me while I type. I solved it by setting an empty box (the type my cats love the best are the one you get attached to cases of green beans) next to my keyboard. Anyway, hope this helps!

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