Kittens Take Over City Hall in a Loving, Calming Way

From left, Balie and Scully have found a home in South Pasadena’s City Hall. Photo courtesy of Marc Donohue

The front entrance to the South Pasadena City Manager’s slate of offices is adorned with a sign that says, “Please Close the Door Behind You.” The door needs to be kept closed at all times, one might guess, to keep the cool air inside or reduce outside noise. Not exactly, and the drawing underneath the message should give a person a hint. The drawing appears to be that of cute, little furry critter.

The door must be kept closed at all times to ensure two baby kittens are safely ensconced in their new home.

That’s right. The two kittens recently adopted by City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe and Chief City Clerk Marc Donohue during the last City Council meeting after the Humane Society offered them up for adoption are now living 24/7 in the offices of the DeWolfe, Donohue and support staff.

As the adoption of the two kittens during the City Council meeting was a first, according to officials, the kittens living in City Hall also now is a first.

Baili and Scully, both females, have found a loving home amongst the hustle and bustle of city business that is a constant. Stress levels have been known to escalate when working under government deadlines, producing city reports, dealing with complaints and the endless number of constituents that find the front counter and require attention.

The kittens have taken over City Hall. Photos by Steve Whitmore

But not here, Donohue says, and it’s the presence of the kittens that continually calm the stormy waters.

“We wanted city hall cats and, as Stephanie alluded to before, they can help lower blood pressure and make the work environment more fun,” Donohue said last week while petting Baili, who was snuggling on a cushioned chair behind the front counter. “It’s fun for the guests who come here to visit us.”

The two kittens have been roaming upstairs in the City Manager’s fleet of offices for three weeks and their litter box is neatly placed in the city vault, while kitten toys can be seen scattered about the floor. The scratch box, supposedly a favorite of Baili’s, is nearby.

Residents that come into the office for city business are instantly smitten by the little furry bundles of joy, Donohue said.

“They interact with some of the customers that come in,” Donohue said. “Sometimes when we have meetings with people, they will sit in the meetings and go sit in people’s laps and it creates a very calming effect.”

Donohue, who has worked down through the years in different city halls throughout the southland, said this is the first time in his career that he’s worked in an environment with kittens. He said it’s about time and hopes this becomes a trend for other city halls everywhere.

“I’ve never had any pets in any other city that I’ve worked for, so this is definitely a first,” he said. “I really hope that this becomes a trend. I think it’s something we can be the first of and maybe other cities will follow to see that they really are an asset to a city and are here to help and it’s fun.”