My cat does an excellent impression of a car alarm, usually when I have to remove him from his favourite sleeping place, my computer chair. He retaliates by striding up and down the landing outside my work-room, going, 'Waaaa! Waaaa! Waaaa!' in a shrill, rasping, repeated wail which bores through my concentration in seconds. Throwing things at him distracts him only for a moment. Closing the door means louder wails and scratched paintwork. Shutting him in the yard means that he batters the patio doors with both paws, rattling them in their frames, still howling, until you'd swear looters were breaking in. He's a large and determined cat.
The only thing that shuts him up is allowing him to jump onto my lap. (Sometimes he's too idle to jump and waves his front paws at me, demanding to be picked up). Once on my lap, he settles comfortably, front paws folded under, assumes a smug expression, and vibrates gently with contentment. He watches the screen as I work, ears pricking with interest as it shifts and flickers. Happily, he's never shown any interest in getting closer to it, though once, when I printed off a book proposal, which showered from the printer onto the floor, he sprang from my lap and killed all the pages. (Critics! They're everywhere).
Working with a cat on my lap means having to type round a pair of hot, silky little ears, and occasionally having a thick, furry tail wafted across my face, or coiled round my neck like a boa. It means having to stop and wait while the cat stands up, turns himself round two or three times, and then drapes himself across my legs like a heavy, furry scarf. But he's quiet - apart from some snoring - for hours, so it's worth it.
The next time I'm asked one of those questions - 'Do you write by hand or computer? Pen or pencil? Blue ink or black?' - I'm going to say, 'Personally, I always write with a cat.'