I FIND IT hard to work with a live animal on my head. But then, I've always been easily distracted.

I've never been picky about where I work. I spent 10 years at home chasing children, then 12 years in a newsroom chasing stories. I'm no stranger to hazards in the workplace.I work at home now. Yes, in my pajamas. I don't need much. A desk. A chair. A laptop computer with a wee little keyboard and the world's slowest modem. Some peace and quiet and a Diet Pepsi, and I'm good to go for days.

But I must say, pajamas or not, home is one of the most hazardous and distracting places on the planet.

Especially if you have a cat. Which apparently, I do. At this moment, she is sitting on my head. Yes. I don't make this stuff up. If I wanted to write fantasy, I wouldn't write about a cat. I'd write about Antonio the pool boy stopping by for tea.

No, I don't have a pool boy named Antonio. I don't even have a pool. What I have is a cat driving me to distraction.

It's the same cat I wrote about three months ago after my husband died. I told you then how she followed my son home? How I let her stay, against my better sense in the hope she might be some comfort to the boy after losing his dad? And how I thought she was pregnant?

Well, I was right on the comfort, wrong on the kittens. I don't know which makes me happier. She looks pregnant, but it's been much too long. I said that same thing about myself once. "Much too long" is now 6 foot 3.

This cat didn't like me at first. If I looked at her cross-eyed, she'd bite me. But I have a way with creatures that don't like me. The way is, I keep out of their way. So I ignored her. It was easy. I had other distractions.

Late one night I was lying on the sofa, listening to the rain and watching the fire turn to embers. I was thinking about my life, how different it was without my husband. I won't recall all my thoughts that night, only that I was tired of thinking them.

And then for some reason, the cat deemed me worthy. She jumped on the sofa, stared in my eyes, curled up and fell asleep on my chest. I didn't move for two hours for fear she'd rip me to shreds.

But pretty soon, the sound of her purring filled my head until there was no room in my mind for tired thoughts.

Being driven to distraction isn't always a bad ride. At times, it can be a pleasure.

Lately, when I'm trying to work, the cat likes to hop up on the back of my chair, plant her front paws on the top of my head, sink her claws in my scalp for balance, then peer over at the computer to see what I'm writing. I assume she likes what she sees. So far, she hasn't tried to edit.

Some of you asked about a contest to name her. I'd love to hear your suggestions, but I think she's been named, more or less. My son calls her Miss Kitty. I asked him if that's because she looks like Amanda Blake on "Gunsmoke," and he said "Like who on what?"

I call her Cat. Or Beast. Or She Who Must Be Obeyed. I don't know whether she's male or female, really. All I know is she's awfully distracting. Maybe I'll call her Antonio.