If you’ve ever been to NYC, you’ve definitely seen those little convenience stores selling sandwiches and snacks on almost every corner. Around town, they’re known as bodegas. Besides their cheap eats, bodegas are also known for some unusual tenants: cats.
In August of 2016, Yelp user Diana D. expressed her dismay at the bodega cat at her local shop. The internet did not respond lightly. Almost immediately, she was blasted on social media for not understanding how important these furry friends really are.
how miserable of a person do you have to be to leave yelp reviews of bodegas complaining about bodega cats pic.twitter.com/7WwCk6spye
— SCHMUCK BASS (@kornyazngurl) October 23, 2016
For some people, seeing a cat in a food store is probably a little alarming. But in New York, bodega cats aren’t just your average pet. They play an important role in the store, and they’re deeply ingrained in the city’s culture.
You see, these cats are definitely not just for show. In fact, store owners can get a hefty fine up to $3,000 for even having one around. But for many owners, it’s the best way to control a common problem in the city: rodents.
Instead of having to put down poison or bait, people found that having cats in the store was a really effective way to cut down on rats and mice. Even if the cat doesn’t kill the pests, just the scent of the cat can be enough to scare them away.
Owners and customers alike value the cats so much that they even created a petition on Change.org to make them legal. There’s also an Instagram account dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the various bodega cats around the city. So if you’re ever around town and you spot a tabby while waiting for your turkey sandwich, don’t be alarmed. These fine felines are hard at work.
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