Olly the Cat (r.i.p.) and feline politics in organization

“[…] a ginger mackerel tabby cat is sat on a mat at the foot of the marble entrance. It is sat outside the entrance to its own rather imposing mini ‘Berkshire-style’ wooden townhouse that abuts the tinted windows of the concrete and glass steel tower of Olympic House.” [a building at Manchester Airport, UK].

The airport cat, called ‘Olly’, is the principal subject of a May 2016 paper in the journal Organization, entitled ‘Feline politics in organization: The nine lives of Olly the cat’ – an ethnographic examination of possible feline challenges to orthodox understanding(s) of agency and organizational action.

“As the ethnography becomes progressively more implicated in the entanglements between human and animal, the concept of ‘feline politics’ is proposed and deployed”

– explains Dr. Damian P. O’Doherty, who is a senior lecturer at Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, UK.


“Olly was providing a resource that helped members of organization find a mode of orientation to the wider organization that was not simply representational but also ‘constitutive’ and interventionary, manifest in tangible and ‘material’ form and in behaviours and activities that made the organization work in other ways.”

“This article adds to what we know about the limits of management as it confronts a radical undecidability characterized by the co-existence of multiple and interacting ontological becomings.”

Note: Sadly, since publication of the paper, Olly [ a.k.a. ‘Ollie’] recently passed away.