Pets in office cause controversies

Some companies now allow pets in their offices. Some employees are happy, but some are not. What do you think of the idea?
Ti Gong

A cat in a local advertising company

As pets are increasingly popular in local households, some companies are tolerant to allow employees to bring pets to offices, causing controversies among office workers.

Dao Xiaodao, a stray cat, has been an important member of Shanghai 54Traveler Travel Service Co Ltd since she was rescued on the street early this year.“She is the boss of our company,” said Zuo Huimin, co-founder of the company.

The cat, almost dying when she was rescued, was taken care of by several workers of the company in turns at first and taken to the office almost every day.

“Our company has about 60 employees, and every time she appears, we queue to stroke her one by one,” said Zuo.

The cat is taken care by one staff worker now and is taken to office almost every day.

“The cat likes staying with us, but she never bothers us when we work. We will miss her if she does not come to the office, even it is one day.”

“A cat can enhance the bond of colleagues,” said Zuo.

Some workers also bring their pet dogs to the company when they have to work on weekends or holidays.

Zuo said they take these pets because they could not be taken care of at home on weekends when their owners have to work, while dogs may cause some noise, thus they are taken to office usually on weekends or holidays.

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Dao Xiaodao, a stray cat, has been an important member of Shanghai 54Traveler Travel Service Co.

Some companies even raise cats in office as stars.

Doris Li, an HR officer of a local Internet company, told Shanghai Daily that her company had raised three cats in total.

It began when one of her colleagues picked up a stray cat near our office when he came off work late in evening after working overtime.

“Most of us fell in love with the adorable animal and agreed to keep it with us, including our chief executive officer,” she said. “We even decorated one office room beside the CEO to be its home and bought toys for it. We also took it to the vet for vaccination and installed screen windows to ensure its security.”

Li said the cat, named as Yugo, became another CEO (chief entertainment officer) in the company and they created a FaceBook account for it, updating irregularly with latest pictures of the cat. Sometimes, the company would also make small gifts based on Yugo’s image for clients.

The employees were so accustomed to see the cat that they picked up another two — Yo and Bibi, after Yugo fled from the office one day.

Some employees also took the cats home in long-term holidays.

“The cats made us feel relaxed during intensive work,” Li said. “When we are tired, we all like to play with them.”

“They do not bother us much,” she added. “Sometimes, they would occupy our chairs or walk into the meeting rooms when we were having meetings, but these are not big problems.”

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A cat lies on an employee's desk.

But not everybody is happy if a pet comes to office.

“I don't think allowing pets into office is a good idea because there are people allergic or pregnant, and it is more reasonable if companies allow workers to bring their children to office,” said Anna Wang, a media worker.

She said she is afraid of these unexpected visitors.

Shirley Sha, an office worker, said she was afraid of all fluffy animals and she would rather quit the job if her employers allow pets appear in the office.

Some employees, who raise pets, expressed concern over their working conditions.

"If there is a dog working with me, I will spend half a day fondling him," said Stone Shi, a cruise ship company employee. 

"I can not focus on work. And what if the cats and dogs injure people?”Li said none of her colleagues had strongly opposed the existence of cats in the office and those disliking animals just kept away from them and asked colleagues to help remove the cats away from their seats sometimes.

“Even some colleagues who had been accidentally injured by the cats have never asked us to drive them away,” Li said. “They just went to the hospital for vaccination and paid the fees by themselves.”

“Most of our employees are generations born in the 1980s and 1990s, who love pets,” she said. “And when the majority of us love the cats, the minority would not show fierce counterviews.”

And she also believed that cats could live with people in peace when the office had proper arrangement.

Li said some pregnant colleagues and some who were planning to have babies had expressed worries about the parasites or bacteria carried by the cats.

“We have two floors in our office. We keep the cats on one floor and move the seats of the vulnerable people to the other,” she said. “There will always be solutions if you really want to keep the pets.”

Ti Gong
Ti Gong

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