Employees Give Cisco Cats a “Paw Up” In Life
Everyone knows that cats rule the Internet. Since Cisco’s focus is the Internet of Everything, it would make sense that when they are abandoned or lose their homes, cats would want to gravitate towards the Cisco San Jose campus (even enter the lobbies!).
Employees that work in San Jose, however, knew that these cats needed a little help, and they would all be “grumpy cats” (and maybe be in mortal peril!) if left on their own.
Cisco employees always seem to jump at the chance to help those in need, even the furry ones. Thus, the Cisco Cat Club was born.
“There are some people who say that we shouldn’t do anything for the cats, but we couldn’t just turn our backs on them and do nothing!” says Jennifer Hull, “Chief Cat Club Coordinator” and Executive Assistant with Cisco Capital.
Jennifer and almost 100 other employees volunteer to help the cats as much as possible. Spay and neuter is their first priority, using humane traps (by trapping experts, and the traps are never left unsupervised.) For those that they can’t catch, or newcomers (there are a surprising number that get abandoned at Cisco, and they’re pretty smart and wily) the volunteers spend their own money to buy food and work from a feeding schedule to be sure the cats get to eat. They also all pitch in if one of the cats is injured and needs extra help.
Of course, a lot of these cats end up being re-homed. If they’re caught early enough, as kittens, they can be easily fostered and adopted (many by Cisco employees – so they stay Cisco cats forever!)
For those that have been on their own for too long and are too feral, the Cat Club makes sure they’re still taken care of, rather than sending them to a shelter to be euthanized.
“A lot of people think these abandoned cats can survive on their own,” Jennifer says. “But when they’re used to being cared for and then dumped off, they can’t.”
By the Cat Club’s rough count, over 150 cats have been spayed & neutered, and a good number of those adopted. Cisco has a program that matches employee volunteer hours with donations, so the cats get extra help. Once the Cat Club submits their hours, the Good Home Animal Society gets funds that help pay for the spay and neuter program.
Even Jennifer herself has a few Cisco cats. One cat, Flaco (which means “skinny” in Spanish,) especially captured her attention (and her heart.)
“We called him ‘the greeter’,” she recalls. “Every time a feeder would come, Flaco would show up to greet us. He was an older fellow, and when we caught him, we discovered he had no teeth! That meant special feedings, but we loved him, so it was no problem. I wasn’t sure how he’d adapt to a home, but I couldn’t help it, I took him in. He had several health issues, and that, combined with his age meant that he was only with me for a year. But he was the best cat I’ve ever had!”
Jennifer’s excitement for helping these cats is contagious. Just ask new volunteer Rebecca Amato, a Business Analyst for Cisco’s IOE (Internet of Everything) Market Development Ops group.
“I just started feeding the 20+ cats that live near my work,” she says. “Jennifer explained how they really take care of the cats: wasp traps, food bowls inside of water bowls in the summer (to avoid ants from getting into the food bowls), spay and neuter, etc. The cat club goes beyond providing food and water for the cats. I am looking forward to watching the cats gather after I fill the bowls for the first time!”
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