Meet Dwight Schrute — the cat

Dwight Schrute the cat is crabby and awkward but also kind like his namesake on the hit TV show "The Office," and that endeared him to his new family.
By Nicole Hamilton

Best Friends in Utah works collaboratively with animal rescue groups, city shelters and passionate individuals who are all dedicated to the mission of making Utah a no-kill state. As part of this mission, Best Friends hosts adoption and fundraising events, runs the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Salt Lake City, operates two spay/neuter clinics and leads the No-Kill Utah (NKUT) initiative. Together, we will Save Them All.

When a cat named Bambi first arrived at the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Salt Lake City from a municipal shelter, the team fell in love with the serious, but endearing looks on his face and his sometimes affectionate, sometimes prickly attitude.

There was just one problem: He wasn’t much like Bambi at all, and so they renamed him after someone with a quirky personality that grows on you over time. That would be Dwight Schrute, beet farmer and assistant (to the) regional manager at Dunder Mifflin Scranton in the popular TV series, The Office. Dwight, like his cat counterpart, is fiercely loyal and even kind beneath his tough exterior.

It took some time for Dwight the cat to find the home he’d been waiting for. But just like in the TV show when Dwight was offered the job as regional manager of Dunder Mifflin, when Dwight the cat was finally adopted, it was time to alert the party planning committee. Whenever a homeless pet is adopted, it’s another life saved. And that’s always a reason to celebrate.

“All of the adoptions staff loved Dwight because we could always see his sweet side and knew when to leave him alone. I think he respected us more for that,” says Sammi Nelson, adoptions specialist at the center. “He just needed a family that understands him and what he has been through.”

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A place where a cat’s offbeat personality could shine

Dwight Schrute, the white and brown tabby cat, sitting on the top of a trash can

After being found as a stray, Dwight was brought to Davis County Animal Control, a Best Friends No-Kill Utah partner. It was clear that he’d likely have a challenging time getting adopted if he stayed at the large shelter. Dwight’s the kind of cat you must get to know to really appreciate. And a shelter full of kittens and more outgoing cats (the Jim Halperts of the cat world) put Dwight at a disadvantage.

Dwight was brought to the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center, where the adoption team could help him find a family to love him for who he is — a goofy, sometimes socially awkward guy with a big heart.

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A crabby cat is a sometimes-misunderstood cat

Dwight Schrute, the white and brown tabby cat, sleeping

Cats like Dwight are easy to misinterpret because they get overstimulated around people. There’s only so much people interaction that Dwight can take, and when he needed to be alone, he let people know by hissing at them or hiding.

“Some people saw him as a mean cat, when really, he’s a big sweetheart,” says Sammi. “He was picky about his kitty friends and had an awkward play style, but he seemed to get along with most cats coming through.”

It took a while, but staff members never lost hope that Dwight would someday find the right home. They just knew it would be with a family that could see Dwight’s quirks as charming and could appreciate what a special cat he really is.

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Dwight Schrute (the cat) finds his Scranton

Dwight Schrute, the white and brown tabby cat, getting adopted by the  Ayoso family

After Kristine and Jordan Ayoso moved from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City, they wanted a companion for PJ, their cat, and a playmate for Kanoe, their young son. So, one day they visited the adoption center. They spent almost two hours meeting a lot of cats, but they especially loved Dwight, who showed them how faithful and loyal he is by following them around the whole time.

Dwight was especially kind and patient with Kanoe, and that helped Kristine and Jordan choose to adopt him (as well as his offbeat personality, which they love). “He’s got a flare about him,” says Kristine. “He’s totally his own person.”

The best cat name

Dwight Schrute, the white and brown tabby cat, with Kanoe, his adopter's young son

They made Kristine’s office Dwight’s very own space, where he could naturally feel at home. There, he could retreat whenever he needed some alone time or when he needed a break from PJ, who today has become his good friend.

Dwight likes to follow Kristine around the house and talk to her as she works. He loves running up and down the stairs, jumping high onto things he’s not supposed to, and taking naps with Kanoe.

Kristine says they never thought once about changing his name. “It suits him,” she says. “He’s an individual and a character and that’s what we love about him.”

The Office wouldn’t be a hit show without Dwight K. Schrute, faithful assistant (to the) regional manager, Michael Scott. And the Ayoso family wouldn’t feel whole these days without their Dwight.

“He’s a part of our family now,” says Kristine. “Before there was something missing, but now we’re complete.”

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Photos by Sarah Ause Kichas

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