If you have ever visited a corner store or a bodega in New York City, you might have encountered a furry feline friend perched on a shelf or lounging in a cardboard box. These cats have become a staple of the city’s bodega culture and have even gained social media fame. In this article, we will introduce you to Whiskey, a beloved bodega cat who has become an internet sensation.
The Rise of Bodega Cats
Bodega cats have been a part of New York City’s history for decades. They were to control the rodent population that would often find their way into the stores. Over time, they became an integral part of the bodega experience, with some store owners even claiming that having a cat can bring good luck to their business.
Bodega cats have gained a cult following on social media, with accounts like @bodegacatsofinstagram showcasing these furry felines in their natural habitat. These accounts often highlight the unique personalities and quirks of each cat, turning them into local celebrities.
Meet Whiskey: The Famous Bodega Cat
Whiskey is a handsome tabby who resides at Best Friends Pet Care, a bodega located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. He was a rescue cat who was in by the store’s owner, Mohamed Ahmed. Whiskey became a hit with customers, who would often stop by to say hello to him.
In 2019, Whiskey’s popularity skyrocketed when his owner created an Instagram account for him. The account, @whiskeythecat_bk, now has over 10,000 followers and features daily updates of Whiskey’s adventures in the bodega.
Whiskey’s Daily Routine
Whiskey has a strict daily routine that he follows in the bodega. He starts his day by lounging on the counter, greeting customers as they come in. He then moves on to his favorite spot, a cardboard box filled with blankets, where he takes his morning nap.
Throughout the day, Whiskey can be patrolling the store, keeping an eye out for any potential troublemakers. He also enjoys playing with the store’s toys and sneaking a treat or two from the shelves.
At night, Whiskey curls up in his bed, located in the store’s back office, where he sleeps until the store opens again in the morning.
The Role of Bodega Cats in Community
Bodega cats like Whiskey play an important role in their communities. They not only serve as rodent control but also provide comfort and companionship to the store’s customers. Many bodega owners believe that having a cat in their store can help create a welcoming atmosphere and even boost sales.
But, not everyone is a fan of bodega cats. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has strict regulations when it comes to animals in food establishments, and bodega cats violate these rules. While many bodega owners and customers advocate for allowing cats in these stores, others argue that it is a health hazard.
The Future of Bodega Cats
Bodega cats have been a part of New York City’s bodega culture for decades. Yet, their future is uncertain due to health regulations that prohibit animals in food establishments. As the debate continues, what does the future hold for these beloved felines?
Some bodega owners and customers have been advocating for allowing cats in their stores, arguing that they are not a health hazard and can even boost sales. They believe that having a cat in the store creates a welcoming atmosphere that attracts customers and makes them feel at home. Additionally, many bodega cats have become local celebrities, with social media accounts showcasing their unique personalities and quirks.
But, opponents argue that having animals in food establishments poses a health risk. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has strict regulations in place to ensure the safety of food establishments, and bodega cats violate these rules.
In recent years, some cities have started to loosen their regulations around animals in food establishments. For example, in 2018, California passed a law allowing dogs in outdoor dining areas. While this law does not apply to cats or indoor areas, it does signal a shift in attitudes towards animals in food establishments.
In the case of bodega cats, there is no clear solution. Some cities, like San Francisco, have legalized bodega cats, while others, like New York City, continue to enforce the regulations. It falls to individual bodega owners to decide whether to keep a cat in their store.
Regardless of the outcome, bodega cats have become an iconic part of New York City’s bodega culture. They provide comfort and companionship to customers and help create a welcoming atmosphere in the store. Whether they will continue to be a part of the bodega experience remains to be, but their impact on the community is undeniable.