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Bodega cats are having a moment. It all started when a Yelp user slammed a New York City corner store for having a feline who adores napping on beer cases inside the business, leading to outrage across the internet.
A staple in many bodegas across the city, these cats are often beloved by customers and help the stores keep vermin out. Now there's even a petition to make these local feline heroes officially legal.
But in New York, it’s not just bodegas that staff cats. All kinds of business establishments across the city’s five boroughs have opened their doors to resident kitties, who usually become the favorite employees. Tamar Arslanian has collected the stories of many of N.Y.C.’s working cats for the book Shop Cats of New York, which features stunning photos of the subjects from Andrew Marttila.
Read on to meet some of the furry faces working 9 to 5 in the Big Apple.
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Keetah of Bleecker Street Records in the West Village
This gray beauty was brought into the record store, one of the last old school vinyl shops in the city, after she could no longer stay at her previous home. Keetah has become such a staple of the store, her likeness is featured on shirts and buttons — which sell fast!
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Bud at Chenille Cleaners in Midtown
Bud, who is a girl, was born in 2015, and has been at the cleaners ever since. Her soft fur and curious face have drawn in many customers over the past year and a half. One client even offered to buy Bud from the store for $2,500, but the owner refused to let his most adorable employee go.
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Matilda at The Algonquin Hotel in Times Square
Matilda is part of a long line of "Algonquin cats" who have lived at the hotel. The Algonquin has had a cat-in-residence since the 1930s, when a stray feline wandered into the lobby. The current Matilda is the tenth kitty to be put to work, and she is a rescue from North Shore Animal League. Every year, the feline, who is also the subject of a children's book, hosts a cat fashion show for her birthday.
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Tiny at Community Bookstore in Park Slope
Tiny was the runt of the litter, but has grown into a large 6-year-old cat who loves to get feisty with the wild animals found on the bookstore's back patio. Some see his strong personality as a kind of meanness, but really Tiny just wants to be adored on his own terms.
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Jeffie at Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn Navy Yard
Referred to as King Jeffie by the staff at the distillery, which is the oldest whiskey distiller in New York, this cat rules with a gentle paw, asking only that the staff and visiting tour groups shower him with affection.