Tips to Create a Pet-Friendly Computer Room
Working from home? Check. Pets as your unofficial coworkers? Double-check. Now, let's make that space work for both of you. From chew toys to cozy corners, here's how to keep it pet-safe while you stay focused.
Safety around electronics
Love tech? Love pets? But let's be honest, the two don't always mix. From chewed cables to knocked-over monitors, here's how to keep your tech and pets from clashing:
1) Keep electronics high
First up, raise those electronics off the floor. You avoid fur in the air vents and save your gear from becoming a pet toilet. You can easily prevent disaster by placing your tech on a higher surface—like your desk, but away from the edge.
2) Secure your cables
Cables are a tripping and chewing hazard. Opt for pet-resistant cord covers or use Velcro to secure them. The goal is to keep both your pet and your gear safe.
3) Secure your peripherals
As well as power cords, headphones, speakers, and gaming controls can be chew toys for pets. Stow them away when not in use. Close your laptop and keep the extras out of sight.
4) Cats love keyboards and computers
Cats love warm spots, and your laptop is prime real estate. Those moving fingers? Instant cat toy. To keep your workspace and sanity intact, use software like KeyFreeze. It freezes your keyboard and mouse, stopping accidental reboots or changes. To unlock it, press Ctrl + Alt + Del, then Esc. A quick fix for an ordinary pet problem.
5) Keep it clean: no more hair and dander drama
Cats on keyboards aren't just typo culprits; they shed hair and dander that gets into your keyboard.
This buildup can slow down or disrupt the keyboard's functionality over time. Keyboard covers are your first line of defense. Check out our keyboard cleaning guide.
But it doesn't stop there—Pet fluff can clog air vents, causing overheating and the cooling fan to work overtime. This harms your computer and spikes your electric bill. Keep your tech clean, and you'll keep it efficient.
6) Pet Monitoring: your extra set of eyes
Ever wonder what your pet's up to while you're lost in a spreadsheet? Get techy with pet monitoring tools. Pet cams let you spy in real time, and noise-activated devices ping you if Fido starts digging through the trash. Keep tabs without losing focus. Your pet's mischief is managed, and your workflow is uninterrupted.
7) Cat-proofing your digital domain
Dogs want to please, birds like to watch while chewing on something, rabbits can't climb, and reptiles are generally calm and solitary. On the other hand, cats are agile, curious, and drawn to action—traits that make them the ultimate computer space invaders.
These tips might help to get yourself some quality work or gaming time:
- Cats love attention, so regularly take time away from work to pet or play with your cat.
- Have a scratching post and toys available to keep them occupied away from your desk.
- Cats love being inside a box, bag, or basket, especially if it's off the ground, so try placing a box they can squeeze themselves into on a piece of furniture.
- Your loving cat is comforted by your scent. To help this, leave a T-shirt you've been wearing in the box you've set up or a sunny spot so the cat can curl up on the shirt.
Protect your computer room
Keeping your home office clear of clutter promotes clear thinking and enhances productivity. So, it's a great idea to keep it fresh and clean. Birds, for instance, will make a mess wherever they land—your chair, desk, or even your tech.
Got a big, untrained animal? Think twice before giving them office access. They'll mess up more than your workflow; your equipment and furniture are at risk, too. Bottom line? Keep the space clean for maximum efficiency.
1) Accidents happen
Even house-trained animals have the occasional accident, so it's best to have an office that's easy to clean. Think:
- hard flooring vs carpets or rugs
- painted walls vs wallpaper
- metal, leather, or vinyl vs soft-covered furniture
2) Claws and jaws
Home office surfaces must be durable to withstand claws or the occasional munch on a chair leg.
As well as keyboard covers that keep debris out, you might consider a screen protector if your cat swipes at your screen instead of your fingers.
Don't leave shoes, cables, cords, papers, books, pens, pencils, remote controls, USBs lying around, or other things that might seem appealing chew toys.
Dogs are opportunists regarding food, so nothing edible – including snack wrappers – should go into your wastepaper basket.
3) Pet food or water doesn't have a place in the computer room.
Pet food smells, attracts pests, and doesn't belong in your office. Steering clear of the cage-in-a-pet-rescue-center aroma makes your home office a nicer workplace.
Water near electronics is a disaster waiting to happen. It's also no friend to your paper docs. Switch from cups to spill-proof bottles or thermal cups with lids on your table. Play it safe; keep liquids at a distance.
Stash important docs and small gear in chew-proof spots like filing cabinets or sturdy boxes. Your office isn't a free-for-all, even for your pets.
5) Ventilation and air quality
Breathe easier and work better. As you're sharing your workspace with a pet, which means you're also sharing odors and potential allergens. Your four-legged coworker might not mind, but you probably do.
a. Keep the Air Flowing
First, ensure good ventilation. If possible, keep a window cracked open or use a fan. Fresh air dilutes odors and reduces airborne irritants. It's not just good for you; it's healthier for your pet, too.
b. Use an Air Purifier
If you're still dealing with persistent smells or allergies, consider using an air purifier. Look for ones with HEPA filters that can trap pet dander, pollen, and even some odors. Choose a model that's appropriate for the size of your room for maximum effectiveness.
c. Plants as natural purifiers
For a greener solution, indoor plants like English Ivy or Spider Plants are known to improve air quality. Just make sure they're non-toxic to pets.
Protect your pets
Pets don't get your love of gaming or why you're tapping away at the keyboard and talking to someone they can't see, so you must protect them from their lack of understanding.
1) Toxic or choking hazards
Young pets are like toddlers—they'll put anything in their mouths. From small objects to toxic stuff, it's fair game to them if it's within paw's reach. Your move? Keep anything risky out of their zone.
Here are some examples:
- Keeping small indigestible objects, such as batteries or USB drives, out of their reach. Pets can be curious, but swallowing these items can lead to serious health issues. Tidying up and securing these objects is a responsible move.
- Storing cleaning products safely. Cleaning products have exciting scents, and plastic bottles might seem like tempting chew toys. Ensuring these chemicals are securely stored prevents accidents.
- Choosing pet-friendly plants or putting toxic ones out of reach. Taking the time to manage house plants can avoid potential problems for your furry friends.
2) Loud noises
If sudden loud noises frighten your pets, set your volume low or use headphones instead of speakers while you game or work.
3) Secure a space for your pet
Make a secure play area with portable fencing or a playpen if you have the room. Opt for enclosed setups like cat tent tunnels or large cages for climbing cats.
Having their own space means that your pet can access water, toys, and their own bed to relax on. Your space stays productive, and theirs remains fun.
4) Train your pets to behave in the computer room
Loving a pet doesn't mean letting it have free rein in your home office. Teaching your pet what's off-limits, where not to go, and what not to mess with is crucial in ensuring their safety in your workspace.
Review and adapt
Your pet's always exploring, always adapting. Your workspace should keep pace. As you roll with the changes—new tech, new pet behaviors, new challenges—keep iterating on your pet-friendly setup.
Take these tips as a starting point, not the finish line. Keep fine-tuning that pet-friendly setup, and you won't just make remote work doable—you'll make it fantastic for you and your sidekick.
Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.