What is a bodega cat

Bodega cats are NYC's most popular animals

There's a cat in almost every New York convenience store, and that's one of the most adorable things about life in this city.

Rush into any NYC store - New Yorkers call them "bodegas" - and besides the slightly overpriced, possibly expired, and definitely essential goods (where else can you pick up milk, detergent, and condoms at 3am?), You will likely to meet a cat who lives among the goods. These cats are known as "bodega cats," and they are a New York institution. Anyone who has lived in the city for an extended period of time has their preferred bodega to which they are loyal and likely given their first name with their owner and cat.

Most New Yorkers love cats. The animals are alternately brilliant and charming and distant and moody - just as the residents of the city collectively imagine. They are also useful: rats and mice are a common nuisance in the city, and cats rid their homes of vermin just by their presence; many New Yorkers know someone who bought a cat simply as a lazy (or mousetrap) solution to their home's mouse problem.

Bodegas, with their edible goods, attract mice. So your cats offer an elegant and adorable solution, spend their days near the cash register or draped over a stack of beer crates and chase vermin at night. Unfortunately they are also illegal for bodegas. Which, given the rebellious spirit of the city, is another reason New Yorkers love it.

It's a catch-22 situation for bodega owners: they have a fine of hundreds of dollars for a cat

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but about the same amount for vermin proof. Better to have a cat than to have mice, I would say, and almost all bodega owners seem to agree.

Evidence of public support for kittens is abundant. Last October, a Yelp reviewer had the gall to criticize a deli for having a cat, and it seems like all of the internet taught her how wrong it was. A petition to Mayor DeBlasio to legalize bodega cats, written in response to the minor scandal, has received more than 5,000 signatures since then.

And there is even an Instagram account called Bodega Cats of Instagram, a crowdsourced account with cats from all over the city. (Lately it has started showing cats from elsewhere, but still mostly NYC.)

Check out these cute kittens:

A post posted by Bodega Cats () on Sep 5, 2017 at 3:15 PM PDT

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@ caitsschmiedomg

A post shared by Bodega Cats () on Dec 13, 2016 at 4:40 am PST

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@ mariyamhussain21 @ orangedoors

A post posted by Bodega Cats () on Jun 27, 2017 at 5:10 AM PDT

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@ Joshbrocki

A post posted by Bodega Cats () on Aug 29, 2017 at 5:59 am PDT

@ Annora

A post posted by Bodega Cats () on Aug 19, 2017 at 3:25 pm PDT

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@ Toxicshima

A post shared by Bodega Cats () on Jun 8, 2017 at 3:01 pm PDT

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