Strays cats and dogs are a massive problem pretty much everywhere around the world. Globally, it is estimated that there are 100 million or more feral cats, and at least 60 million of those can be found in the United States alone. While they can have a massive ecological impact, most are just trying to survive and looking for new homes.
Leon was one of these stray cats roaming the streets of Brasília, Brazil. That was until he managed to sneak into the Order of Attorneys of Brazil building. Employees adopted Leon and let him hang out in the reception area, but when people started to complain about the cat, they found a pretty interesting way around it: they hired Leon as a lawyer.
Yes, he has his own ID card. The world was alerted to this lawyer cat when Dr Jeanette Laredo posted photos of Leon on Facebook, writing:
"After a heavy rain, this little guy here seeking shelter from the storm went inside the OAB building (the Brazilian equivalent of American Bar Association) and decided to stay."
"Unfortunately some people started to file some complaints about the fact that at the reception desk there was a stray cat hanging around and trying to make friends with the newcomers."
"In order to avoid some new complaints the board gave the solution: Hire the cat as an employee."
That post quickly went viral, with more than 11,000 shares and 30,000 likes. And to reward Leon for his hard work and making the company a viral sensation in Brazil, he was prompted to a lawyer.
In an interview with Bored Panda, a spokesperson for Dr. Leon explained that people had filed complaints because he was small when he first arrived at the building as a kitten, and they were afraid that they'd step on him. He's since grown up, so that's probably not a problem anymore.
The spokesperson went on to explain:
"In February it rains a lot in the state of Amapá (Amazonia), so he arrived at OAB fleeing from the rain and thunder. For a week, he was fed and protected in a box. Until he got hired."
"[They said] that there was no space for him because it is a serious institution. So the President [of the OAB] determined the hiring and gave him an employee badge."
Leon is now a valued employee, in charge of hugs and cuddles.
Leon has even inspired the OAB to launch an animal rights institute – called Instituto Dr Leon.
"Two months ago Leon was neutered and is already fully recovered. But veterinarians say he had a problem with his vocal cords as a result of suffering as a baby. He hardly meows, but we keep taking care of him. This motivated us to create the institute to help abused and abandoned animals."
"Unfortunately, we cannot house all [the animals], so we will fund the NGOs in town. We will be an example for Brazil [to follow]."
Someone needs to make a television series out of this.