What Happens When You Bring Your Cat to Work

by Matthew J.X. Malady

A photo posted by Max Linsky (@maxlinsky) on Oct 13, 2012 at 10:45am PDT

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, Longform.org co-founder Max Linsky tells us more about Feline Fridays at the office and using Dolly Parton records to comfort his dog.

@AnnaHolmes Before I started taking her to work I’d leave Dolly Parton on for Reba

— max linsky (@maxlinsky) January 29, 2015

@harmancipants @AnnaHolmes Nope, Reba’s a pooch. We did make one attempt early on at Cat Fridays but it was a disaster.

— max linsky (@maxlinsky) January 29, 2015

Max! So what happened here?

Well, Anna Holmes was looking for some camaraderie around putting the radio on for her cat when she leaves the house. Usually I avoid Pet Psychology Twitter, but Anna and my dog Reba go way back. Anna once ordered a ribeye just so she could give Reba the bone. Here is evidence:

Remember that time @annaholmes gave Reebs the leftover ribeye?

A photo posted by Max Linsky (@maxlinsky) on Jul 8, 2012 at 2:42pm PDT

So, knowing that Anna loves Reba, I figured she’d like to know that Reba gets lonely too. Or used to at least. Now I take her to work, which I mentioned and which confused people because they thought Reba was a cat and nobody takes a cat to work. Except one time, at my office.

The name was Feline Fridays, not Cat Fridays, and I probably got it wrong in that tweet because I didn’t come up with it in the first place. Feline Fridays was the brainchild of Aaron Lammer and Evan Ratliff, who thought it unjust that only Reba and her fellow office dogs were allowed to come to work. These men are quite attached to their cats, Willoughby and Henry. And they wanted an equal opportunity workplace.

On the first Feline Friday, Reba stayed home and Wilbo and Henry made their entrance. Anticipation was high. The cats had never met before. Or worked a day in their lives. They were pulled out of their carriers, held up face to face. Pictures were taken. The Internet was made aware. Aaron and Evan were ecstatic. Here is evidence:


And here is what happened next: absolutely nothing. As soon as they were put down, those poor cats disappeared. Willoughby spent the entire day hiding in a bookcase at one end of the office and Henry camped out underneath a cabinet at the other end. Neither was seen until it was time to go home. They didn’t say goodbye to each other, or anyone else.

The first Feline Friday was also the last. Nothing about it was casual.

Moving from cats to dogs: Can you tell me about your dog’s affinity for Dolly Parton?

Reba, a rescue from North Carolina, was a mess when we got her. She refused to leave the apartment — I had to carry her to the park for the first few weeks — and only calmed down at night, tucked at the foot of our bed, when she was sure we weren’t going anywhere. That was really her main hang-up: being abandoned again. So every time we left the house was brutal. She wouldn’t get mad, just so sad. Couldn’t even look at us as we left. A few times she chewed up a shoe or a magazine while we were gone, but mostly she just seemed convinced we were never coming back.

After a few days, we started leaving music on for her in the morning, Anna style, just to keep her company. We started with the radio, NPR. But it’s weird to come home to people talking in your house. We tried classical too, but it made walking out the door feel too dramatic. Eventually we settled on Dolly. Reba’s a lady from the South and so is my wife: turns out Dolly is both of their happy music.

Lesson learned (if any)?

Don’t take your cats to work! Or, actually, maybe do take your cats to work! Even though it would mean leaving Reba at home on Fridays, I kinda wish those cats had gotten the chance to acclimate to the office. I mean, look at Henry! Wouldn’t you want him sitting next to you while you tweet at Anna Holmes?

Just one more thing.

Thinking about this a few years into life with Reba, it’s possible that she didn’t give a shit that we were leaving and was just looking sad while actually sleeping with her eyes open, which she does all the time. I’m convinced she appreciated the Dolly, but on that one I have no evidence.