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Cat In Grass, Looking Off Into The Distance.

The mid-career malaise of a library cat

As library cats strut into their mid-career years, it’s natural to experience the occasional feeling of wanderlust or even an existential crisis. Questions like “Why am I here?” “What are my future goals?” and “What the fluff am I doing with my life?” are all perfectly normal at this crucial mid-career moment.

Two cats on the floor near a computer.
Two library cats, Rory and Sterling, hard at work.

A mid-career library cat is a domesticated animal that has been in a position for more than two but less than seven years. Most library cats begin their work straight out of kittenhood, and by the time they hit their mid-career stride, the average library cat is six years old (that’s about 40 in human years!). With over 300 professionals employed worldwide, the competition to seize the mew-ment is fierce. Faced with layoffs and eviction notices due to patron allergies, some mid-career library cats have been forced to move from participating in programming as the fluffy mascot to more paws-off positions behind the scenes.

However, not every library cat has aspirations to climb to the top of the scratching post. Some cats pre-fur a more comfortable existence during this middle stage of their career.

Cat with head on table, peering at the camera.
Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash

Here are the top five ways that library cats can battle the mid-career blahs with cat-itude!

  1. Become a mentor. Find kittens fresh out of library cat school and guide them through the process. Remember: It wasn’t long ago that you were chewing your own tail and climbing the curtains.
  2. Devote time to more strategic projects. Have you been putting projects on the back burner? Don’t pro-cat-stinate! Start sniffing the catnip and dive into a research project like investigating how one catches that laser or why the humans keep refusing the mice you bring them.
  3. Develop professionally. Does reading Dewey’s job description have you itching for more? Seek out resources to enhance your career and seek out professional growth opportunities that will help you claw your way into becoming the best mouser, snuggler or birdwatcher in the joint!
  4. Embrace change. Maybe your team has restructured, or your job duties have shifted, and you’re feeling out of sorts. Rest assured: If you choose to welcome change, you may find happiness and fulfillment waiting for you. Like the cat that got the cream.
  5. Stay paw-sitive. Remember: As a library cat, you have the best job in the world; they even write books about you!  You get to cuddle with patrons, snooze by the fireplace and make people smile, all while promoting literacy in the community. And if you’re really lucky, you might even be rewarded with an after-hours mouse or two.
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