THE appointment was for 2 p.m. but I was already at the door 30 minutes before. I was to interview the company CEO. I've done this kind of high-level interviews many times before, but this one was different. I had no idea how this CEO would like to be approached, how he would take to questions, how he would react to being photographed and, most of all, if I would be able to shake his paws.
The CEO, after all, was a cat.
Oreo, a black-and-white Persian and Siamese mix, is the Cat Executive Officer (CEO) of Papemelroti, the country's well-loved gifts, decor and trinkets shop.
“Oh he's so cute,” was the first thing I said, which probably didn't sit well with the whiskered CEO who threw me a cold gaze with his amber eyes.
Weighing almost 7 kilos, Oreo is quite a big cat. To prove that he lords it over everyone in the office, he jumped from a low chair to the top of a cabinet to shoot a disapproving glance at mostly everyone that he'd soon ignore.
The family has three other beautiful cats, but Oreo is the boss.
“He used to come to office with us everyday as CEO, but ever since we got a new cat he doesn't seem to want to come along much,” said Peggy.
Tote bags, postcards, stationeries, pencils, coin banks, paper mâché items, doodads and what have you bearing the face or likeness of Oreo have become shop staples. Elyse said Oreo merchandise are very saleable.
Destined for greatness, Oreo then moved to having his own floor-to-ceiling mural done by Peggy's brother, Robert Alejandro, somewhere on the second floor of the UP Town Center in Diliman, Quezon City.
“I was not an animal person. I didn't really want pets inside the house, but Oreo converted me,” she said.
“We announced in Facebook that he went missing and my sister Patsy prayed to the Blessed Sacrament and I cried like someone died,” said Peggy.
Their anguish ended when Oreo was eventually spotted hiding at someone else's garage nearby—shaken but not quite stirred by the experience unlike his humans. How long was he gone? Overnight.
“But he was hurt. The veterinarian said he probably got into a fight (with another cat),” said Peggy sheepishly.
As the company celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is only fitting that Oreo is the subject of a collector's item—a complimentary postcard given to loyal customers.