The outgoing feline makes himself useful on the sales floor and demands a seat at the conference table

By Karen J. Quan
Updated July 30, 2010 11:45 AM

He may not be able to talk shop or move inventory, but Sam the cat has the customer service skills that have made him the star of the showroom in Middletown, Ohio.

A staple at Gibson’s Office Furniture, Sam is not just the loyal sales assistant to store owner Sherry Gibson, but he also acts like he runs the place! When it comes time to convene at the conference table, don’t even think about sitting in his chair – Sam will fight for his seat at the head of the table.

“We play cat and mouse with the stool at times, where he’ll race me to it,” bookkeeper Michelle Meyer tells “He sits very poised on the chair as though he was in an executive chair.” If by chance Meyer beats Sam to the seat, just one look from the fearless feline will force Meyer to move. Whether it’s a person or purse on the stool, he won’t give up until the chair is all his.

But Sam’s persistence is nothing new to Gibson, 61, who’s had the 11-year-old domestic short hair since he was a kitten. As a stray, “[Sam] showed up at my house, and he wouldn’t go away,” Gibson tells Even when Gibson went away for a few days, there he was awaiting her return. “Out on the porch,” Gibson recalls, “There was this little black face looking back at me.”

Gibson, who first told Sam’s story to Ohio’s Middletown Journal, took a financial hit two years ago when the economy went south, and was forced to sell her home and move into the store – through the difficult time Sam was right by her side. “He makes it a lot easier to get through some of these hard times,” she says. And his presence at the store is reassuring because “he just loves to interact with people.”

Seemingly eager to make a sale, Sam is the first to make his way to the front of the store, meeting, meowing and greeting customers, welcoming them into the showroom. And if Gibson’s occupied with customers, Sam happily “chats up” other patrons, interacting with them until she can make her way over. But how do Gibson’s customers feel about the four-legged sales-kitty?

“They love him,” Gibson beams. “I have people who come in and ask for Sam. He’s a little celebrity.”