December 22, 2007

Run, Stuart, run!

Holly scares the rodents away at home, a deli in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Photo by Richard Perry for the NY Times.

So, where would you rather shop: a deli kept free of rodents by a resident cat, or a deli with no cat? [Hint: the deli with no cat has poisons, traps AND live rodents leaving their calling cards all over the merchandise.]

Cat, please.
Across the city, delis and bodegas are a familiar and vital part of the streetscape, modest places where customers can pick up necessities, a container of milk, a can of soup, a loaf of bread.

Amid the goods found in the stores, there is one thing that many owners and employees say they cannot do without: their cats. And it goes beyond cuddly companionship. These cats are workers, tireless and enthusiastic hunters of unwanted vermin, and they typically do a far better job than exterminators and poisons.
Many bodega owners reason that a cat is less of a health threat than an army of nibbling rats. “If cats live in homes and apartments where people have food, a cat shouldn’t be a threat in a store if it’s well maintained,” Mr. Fernández said.
Amen. I'm all for the legalization of store cats -- and they even have a site of their own: check out Working Class Cats.

I am not much of a cat person, and can't have one as long as someone whose initial is B lives here, but I am totally wanting a cat now.

"I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul." - Jean Cocteau

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