Is New York City in your travel plans? Do the sights and sounds of this unique and vibrant city beckon you?
Statue of Liberty, Times Square, Empire State Building, One World Trade, Central Park. Maybe the Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks or the Thanksgiving Day Parade. The Rockettes, Broadway, Lincoln Center.
If so, and you are a cat lover, then you should know about the Bodega Cats.
And what is a Bodega Cat you might ask?
Derived from the Spanish word ‘la bodega’ (grocery store) bodega’s are local New York city corner shops, mini-markets, convenience stores. Found in many neighborhoods these mom and pop shops are often the backbone for the community serving residents and visitors whatever they might need. And working along side them are their cats, the bodega cats.
Part of the family, part of the staff these city felines welcome visitors and shoppers, keep the rodent population in control, and give the bodega a charm not found in big chain supermarkets. With approximately 11,000 bodega’s (a working guestimate) no one is really sure how many bodega cats there are. A bane for the Department of Health they do seem to be be able to skirt some of the laws (probably not for lack of trying on the Department of Health) and how they are able to remain and thrive is surely down to the love of people for cats. The fine for rodent sightings and cat sightings in a food establishment is roughly the same but NYC issues many more rodent fines than cat fines. Apparently, the presence of a cat also reduces the amount of chemicals that shop owners might use to control the vermin so the presence of a cat is much more environmentally friendly.
WNYC the public radio station of New York city has embraced these interesting cats and covered them extensively. For an overview you can listen to a podcast covering these cats or you can watch several little videos on “Bodega Cats In Their Own Words” where you can see the actual cats in their bodegas and enjoy the charm of these working cats.