Saturday, December 22, 2007

Great story...

... in The New York Times about working cats -- mostly adopted strays who work in small city markets keeping mice and rats under control.

Luis Martinez, 42, has managed his brother’s grocery in East New York, Brooklyn, for two years. At first, despite weekly visits from an exterminator, the store’s inventory was ravaged constantly by nibbling vermin.

“Every night I had to put the bread in the freezer,” he said, pointing at shelves filled with bread and hamburger buns. “I was losing too much inventory. The chips and the Lipton soups all had holes in them.”

Then, last winter, a friend brought Mr. Martinez a marmalade kitten in need of a home. Mr. Martinez, who was skeptical of how one slinky kitten could fend off an army of hungry rats, set up a litter box in the back of the store, put down an old fleece jacket and named the kitten Junior.

Within two weeks, Mr. Martinez said, “a miracle.”

“Before you’d see giant rats running in off the streets into the store, but since Junior, no more,” he said.

Junior sometimes brings Mr. Martinez mouse carcasses as gifts, which he said bothers him less than the smell that permeates his store when the exterminator’s victims die and rot under a freezer.


Sadly, though, the same New York City health code that bans food stores from having rats and mice also makes it illegal for them to keep cats. That's a shame -- you can tell from reading the story how much these owners love their cats and even how much pride they take in them.

“That’s Oreo,” he said, as he lifted a tiny black cat with white paws into his arms and carried her like a football. “No one’s ever complained about cat hair in their sandwiches, and if she weren’t here, you bet there’d be bigger problems than hair.”


There's a blog devoted to covering these Big Apple felines, called, appropriately enough, Working Class Cats.

1 comment:

nyanko =^.^= said...

Hi! I found this blog a few weeks ago accidentally. It is sad that cats are less desirable companion in some countries. I am a Korean and I know so well how it is. You mentioned about donation many times in the blog but I do not find where and how to donate (maybe I didn’t look carefully). I’m not in a position to donate much but I’d like to contribute.

I was wondering if you have ever considered accepting Paypal donation. I believe availability of instant online donation would increase the donation activities. If you are considering of accepting Paypal donation, please be aware that Paypal charges transaction fee to receiving account (that would be 30 cents + about 3% of transaction amount: the percentage might be off by +-1%).

I’m only suggesting Paypal here because when I found here, I was ready to donate via Paypal. Plus I sell (I have a store) and buy stuff on eBay, and people like the instant gratification of online transaction: no waiting to clear the payment, no writing a check or getting out of house to get money order to have a second thought, etc.

I wish you, your family, Danica and everyone who comes here regularly happy holidays and happy new year!!