Raider stalks Wharton

The Wharton School is a better place today, thanks to the assistance of a fat cat.

Actually, the cat's not that fat.

His name is Raider, and his job is keeping the mice that occasionally show up in Wharton buildings on the run.


Photo by Candace diCarlo

Bringing Raider to campus was the idea of Wharton Director of Facilities Services Peter Wieck. Like Penn's pest-management specialist Martin Overline (Current, Feb. 11), Wieck believes in natural pest management. When mice began popping up more often in Wharton buildings -- a tribute, Wieck said, to Penn's overall pest-management policy -- he decided to supplement Penn's pest-management team with a natural mouse repellent of his own about two years ago.

"I went to various animal shelters -- I was looking for an animal no one else wanted," he said.

He finally found Raider - then named Bingo - at the Montgomery County SPCA. "He was one of several cats who had worked in a milking barn, but he was old and could not be placed by the SPCA," he said.

So Wieck took in the black cat, then 7 years old, and the Facilities Management staff gave him a name suitable to his new home.

Wieck described Raider as "very affectionate" and says he has adapted well to his surroundings. "He will take the elevator to other floors, and always finds his own way back to our offices."

Any Wharton office can request Raider's services whenever there is a mouse problem. He usually works one-week shifts, which is enough time to do the job.

"He's very effective," Wieck said. "He'll stay there for a week, and the residual effect [of his presence] will last for a while."

Raider has another residual effect, Wieck said. "He reminds people that they are not the center of the universe, and that the workplace can be fun."

As a result, some offices ask for Raider's services even when there are no mice around. "They put in their request through our customer support staff," Wieck said. "We don't verify that there are mice first before sending him."

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Originally published on February 25, 1999