Over the years, I’ve learned that clutter is a cat magnet. Between years of sharing my home with cats and years of working from home, I’ve discovered that the cat/clutter combo is simply irresistible.

Normally, I’m a neat person. But when you work at home, the work sometimes just piles up. My weakness is what I call “admin.” “Admin” is the un-fun stuff about running a business—all the stuff that you’d have other people do if you didn’t have to do it all yourself. (I realize some people love “admin,” but I am not one of them.) I procrastinate when dealing with the admin. The dreaded “admin” makes piles, and piles draw cats.

What happens? Fun ensues!

If stuff is in a stack, the cats sit on it or knock it over, or both. Even more attractive is admin clutter that I’ve piled on the floor. Cats can’t resist it. But why?


1. The cats are saying, “Mom, clean up the mess!”

I’ve always said that cats are our greatest teachers. Here’s a lesson they’re giving me: Focus on what you want to avoid. You’ve heard the saying, “Energy flows where attention goes.” Perhaps if they sit on the piles long enough, I’ll be forced to do something about them.

I do have a love-hate relationship with clutter. It torments me. I hate it, yet I can’t always deal with it. So, maybe the cats are attending to my sanity by forcing me to focus on the piles. “Mom, get rid of the piles, and you will find contentment.” Ah, something to strive for.


2. The cats want me to redirect my attention from my work to them.

cats lounging on floor

If one of my cats sprawls on the piles of “admin” on the floor, he could be trying to direct my attention to it. But knowing my cats, they actually might be trying to get me to forget about the work. If I forget about the clutter, then I can pay attention to the cats. If the cat is big, so much the better. My Ragdoll, Zorro, is a big, sturdy cat and easily able to cover a pile of clutter. I can almost hear him saying, “I’ll sprawl all over these papers, and you’ll be forced to pay attention to me.”


3. The cats think the clutter is a cat bed.

I’ve witnessed my cats sprawling on “admin” clutter on the floor and then falling asleep, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. I have nice cat beds for them, and I would think these would be more comfortable than sprawling on a bunch of papers. But the cats don’t seem to care. Once they plant themselves on a disheveled and disorganized pile, they fall happily asleep. You’ve gotta love the mind of a cat.


4. Cats love paper clutter because they can push it around and make it move.

In this case, clutter turns into prey. And prey means play. If you’re a cat lover and you’ve ever had fabric in the house, you know what I mean.

cat lounging on paperwork

Nothing drives cats into blissful craziness faster than dragging a light piece of fabric across the floor. Many cats love the movement of the fabric. They also love the movement of papers in your pile of clutter. So, beware! Get those papers off the floor if you don’t want to lose something important—forever.

Your car title is just another fun toy for your cat to slide across the floor and shove under the piano, where it will never get found. If that’s not an incentive for keeping the clutter picked up, I don’t know what is.


5. Cats are drawn to chaos.

Got a neat pile? Count on your cat to create chaos instantly. With their efficient shuffling techniques, cats should be blackjack dealers. At a casino, the house would always win. In my house, when it comes to clutter, the cats always win.

Got clutter? Got cats? You have an irresistible combination. Sit back and enjoy the ride.

Catherine Holm (who also goes by Cat) is a contributor to Catster.com She is the author of “The Great Purr and the cat-themed memoir “Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time,” the creator of Ann Catanzaro cat-fantasy books and the author of two short story collections.