In pictures: cats act as stress beaters at offices in Japan, home of the workaholic

An IT firm in Tokyo lets staff bring their cats to work, and pays a monthly bonus for rescuing one; other firms take animal healing a step further and put dogs, goats and alpacas on the payroll

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 May, 2017, 10:42am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 May, 2017, 10:42am

Workaholic Japan is known for long office hours and stressed out employees, but one company claims to have a cure: cats.

Nine fluffy felines eat, sleep and walk freely in the small office of IT firm Ferray in Tokyo.

Hidenobu Fukuda, who heads the firm, introduced an “office cat” policy in 2000 at the request of one of his employees, allowing staff to bring their cats to work.

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“I also give 5,000 yen (US$45, HK$350) a month to those who rescue a cat,” he says of his charges.

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.

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The company says 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 cat-lovers.

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

“Cats are sleeping just beside us ... It’s healing,” Ito says.

But there is also a downside to having felines in the office, Fukuda admitted.

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