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Hangin' with my shop cat

You’re never really working alone if you have your best friend with you in the shop.

I talked just a couple weeks ago about working alone and noted that I really don’t mind it – I enjoy it, in fact. That’s partly because I’m usually never totally alone. We’ve always had cats, and because my shops have always been in basements or garages, I’ve shared space with a certain feline accoutrement known as a litter box. This guarantees that I will get company from time to time.

But we have a new cat – just got her this fall – that simply likes hanging out with me in the shop. When I go downstairs, she’s right on my heels, and while I work, she finds a cozy spot, often on top of the hoodie lying on my assembly table, and just chills.

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While our other cat visits occasionally, she hightails it back upstairs if I even look like I’m going to use a machine. But this one isn’t fazed at all by tool noise; she seems to find it comforting for that matter. As I work, she’ll sometimes pop her head up, yawn, and meow for me to stop what I’m doing and come scratch behind her ears. (I always oblige.) She never gets underfoot while I’m working, and never jumps up on tools, but she’s always close by.

I hang out on several woodworking forums and read posts from lots of woodworkers with household pets that spend as much time in the woodshop as they do. Usually, it’s dogs, since cats tend to be more skittish. Every once in a while, someone talks about a shop cat, but it’s rare so I consider myself lucky.

But in all cases, they swear that the companionship improves their concentration, keeps them alert and, by extension, makes them better, happier woodworkers. I agree completely.

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