Workplace cats spark HR incident over whether the ‘simple’ one can be made ‘smarter’

A cat lover sought the advice of others last year, detailing an issue they had with a co-worker regarding the management of their two workplace cats, Jean and Jorts.

Jean, a female tortoiseshell, had been with the company for a number of years at the time of the Reddit post. The original poster, or OP for short, describes her as a friendly, clever creature who adds invaluable companionship to the team.

Meanwhile, Jorts, an orange tabby, was a more recent addition and in OP’s words is more of a “simple guy”.

OP explains that Jort’s simple personality often caused him to get locked inside rooms. Whenever he attempted to leave a room through an open door, he would rub his face into the door causing it to close.

Jean did not have this problem, and in fact could open closed doors by herself as long as there was a handle.

However, the room in which both Jorts and Jean were fed only had a door handle on the outside.

So when Jorts, being his simple self, unintentionally closed the door on the both of them, they would end up trapped until someone at the company noticed and opened the door for them.

Closeup image of ginger cat
A closeup of the lovable simpleton Jorts. Pic credit: @JortsTheCat/Twitter

Tension in the workplace

A disagreement soon began between two co-workers, one of them being OP of the Reddit post and the other an employee named ‘Pam’, when Pam decided to try help teach Jorts to be less simple.

Pam took it upon herself to set daily learning activities for Jorts, and set tasks for her other co-workers to help — the main area being teaching Jorts how to open doors.

OP had a different approach. He put doorstops in front of the doors in the building so that Jorts wouldn’t get stuck, and so Jean didn’t have to busy herself by letting him out of rooms he got trapped in.

OP believed Jorts’ simple nature couldn’t be changed, and thought that instead of trying to teach him to be “smarter”, they should just help him get out of “minor barriers” like “when he gets a cup stuck on his head”.

While debating how to approach Jorts’ misadventures, OP stated that “you can’t expect Jean’s tortoiseshell smarts from orange cat Jorts” which apparently made Pam furious, as she claimed that this equated to “perpetuating ethnic stereotypes”.

She reportedly then left work early and refused to return until her colleagues underwent “racial sensitivity training”.

Human resources

At the suggestion of the comments made by Reddit users, OP took this issue up with his company’s HR department.

In an update posted soon after, OP explained that after several meetings a new system was put in place for the management of Jean and Jorts’ lives.

This included an end to any “Jorts-related tutoring”, as well as an apology from OP to Jorts about how he had essentially called Jorts stupid.

Apparently before this incident, there were company biographies of both Jean and Jorts. Jean’s was accompanied by a picture of her, but Jorts’ picture was that of a sweet potato.

This was also rectified, with an image of Jorts the cat now acting as his profile picture.

If you would like to hear more about Jean, and specifically Jorts, the OP of these Reddit posts created a Twitter account to keep people up to date with their latest adventures.

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