Office cats eat, sleep and ‘work’ in Japan firm to counter stress

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TOKYO // Workaholic Japan is known for long hours and stressed out employees, but an IT firm in Tokyo claims to have a cure.

A total of nine cats eat, sleep and walk freely in the small office.

Hidenobu Fukuda, who heads Ferray, introduced an “office cat” policy in 2000 upon request from one of his employees, allowing members of staff to bring cats to work.

“I also give ¥5,000 (Dh165) a month to those who rescue a cat,” he said.

Other Japanese companies are also allowing animals in the office to help reduce stress and anxiety.

At Oracle Japan, an Old English Sheepdog named Candy works as a “greeting and healing ambassador”, according to the company website.

The company said it has had an office dog since 1991, and Candy, the fourth one, now has Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Meanwhile, Pasona Group “hired” two goats in 2011 and two alpacas in 2013 as full-time employees, partly for healing purposes.

Tokyo is also home to some 60 registered cat cafes, thanks to a growing number of feline lovers.

Eri Ito, who works at Ferray, said she is sold on the animal’s soothing ways.

“Cats are sleeping just beside us ... It’s healing,” she said.

Mr Fukuda said there is a downside to having cats in the office.

“Sometimes a cat will walk on a phone and cut off the call, or they shut down the computers by walking on to the off switch,” he said.

* Agence France-Presse