Connie Terwilliger – ISDN Voice Talent

June 25, 2011

Cats in the Studio = Mess and Delays

Filed under: Musings — Tags: — connieterwilliger @ 1:38 pm

I love my cats, but if you leave them alone in the studio, it will be destroyed in less than a day. Even if they have complete in and out access, it is amazing how much “trouble” they can get into.

A pile of very neatly stacked papers (receipts, old scripts) waiting to be filed is the perfect spot for a cat nap and then, when the nap is over, the pile is suddenly strewn across the floor.

The strategically balanced pyramid of new office supplies on the side table clatter to the floor as the other cat tries to jump from the table to the top of the file cabinet. A role of paper towels becomes a toy and is shredded.

The spot directly in front of the keyboard is a favorite place for my big cat to curl up and “make muffins” on my mid-section as I try to do some bookkeeping. I have to wrap my forearms completely around him in order to keep working which just encourages him to continue to poke his sharp claws into my rib cage. This leads to work stoppage as I find the clippers and trim those nails!

The fax machine and printer are monstrous robots that must be set in their place – leaving the modem askew, the wireless hub on the floor and the printer covered in cat hair.

Any small space – a cubby hole, a box, the back of the machine rack – is a heavenly hiding place – which also adds to the work when it is time to clean the studio.

And, of course, a sleeping cat suddenly wakens the moment you hit the record button and starts to talk – and talk and talk – and in order to actually get a clean take the cat must be gently escorted out of the studio. Noisy critters! Even when they purr.

I recorded a few years ago in a large home studio usually used for music production (and by home studio I mean the whole home was turned into a studio) and the voiceover area was one room with the engineer and his computers, a leather couch with the clients, the microphone with the talent and a very large purring cat.

You would have thought that the computer fans and the sound of the client’s leather jacket rubbing on the leather couch would have been the sound issue, but no – it was the purring cat.

But, when they are quiet and relatively well behaved – cats are quite decorative and having pets in the studio is one of the perks of working at home. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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5 Comments »

  1. I was having sudden and mysterious trouble with my ISDN and had to have the Verizon guy out to take a look at things. It took about minutes of this and that, but he finally crawled under my desk and found the cable that the cat had chewed through. :-(

    I don’t have the heart to completely ban kitties from visiting (when I’m not recording, that is). But I now keep a can of compressed air on my desk to ‘squirt’ at them when they look like they’re going to start chewing on something…

    Comment by Amy Snively — June 25, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

  2. Thanks for that Amy! I will be sure to check that connection if trouble crops up on my lines.

    Comment by connieterwilliger — June 26, 2011 @ 7:47 am

  3. I can relate to this! My husband and I have 4 cats and 2 are very persistent when it comes to joining me in the studio. If I close the door with a cat who demands my attention on the other side, she’ll meow and dig at the floor until I boot her from that outer room as well, or give in and take a break from working. Our smallest cat can fit in the space in front of the keyboard, and she’s learned that she can stay in the booth with me if she sits under my desk or moves over to the side and stays quiet. After a few minutes of petting she’ll settle in and take a nap and I can record!

    However I’ve also had to upgrade one of my cables to a thicker shielded USB because it was the target of nomming. I’ve also gone strictly bluetooth for phone directed sessions because the same cat has chewed up 3 Apple earbud/microphone cables. That was mostly kitten behavior but I am conscious to avoid thin white cables for ANYTHING in my studio, just in case!

    Amy – I love the compressed air idea! So simple and harmless, thanks for that!

    Comment by Arielle DeLisle — June 29, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

  4. That compressed air tastes really bad too – there is a bitterant added to prevent stupid kids from huffing it. I didn’t realize that – and was truly freaking out after cleaning my keyboard a couple of weeks ago when my lips and fingertips tasted weird – I tend to nibble on my fingernails a bit when thinking.

    Comment by connieterwilliger — June 29, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

  5. Oh my gosh–thank you for saying that, Connie! I’ve been having a bad taste issue here, too! I was worried that my new keyboard was carcinogenic.

    Arielle–I use a water bottle for a quick squirt in other rooms of the house, but I don’t want to spray water here in the studio. The air gets a funny reaction because they think it’s hissing a warning at them, but they don’t apparently associate the canned air with me. They seem to think that the can itself is issuing the warning!

    Comment by Amy Snively — July 12, 2011 @ 6:24 pm


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