Bodega cats!

Here at, we have featured blog posts about various kinds of working cats, like barn cats and therapy cats. This article is about another kind of hard working cat, the bodega cat! 

So, what is a bodega? It started as Spanish word meaning a wine shop or wine cellar, but we're not talking about cats who work in wineries (although based on the success breweries have with using cats for pest control, that's probably not a bad job for them!) The word bodega has expanded in many urban areas to refer to a convenience store or small grocery store. Like their more rural cousins, the barn cats, bodega cats are tasked with the job of rodent control - keeping products free of infestations that can contaminate them and lead to fines for shop owners.

In addition to pest control, bodega cats have the added benefit at many shops of being popular attractions that bring customers in to visit with the cats. says bodega cats In New York City often become local celebrities and even enjoy celebrity status beyond their neighborhood with the rise of social media. 

Meowhoo also lists another benefit of bodega cats, which is that they act as companionship to the shop owners and employees during their shift in the store. They also note that interacting with cats can be a stress reliever for both the customers and employees as they offer a chance to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of city life. 

Are bodega cats legal? 

MentalFloss says no - at least in New York. They note that New York laws prohibit animals (other than service animals) on the premises where food or drinks are sold. Fines can be $200 to $350 and even up to $2000 for repeated violations. However, a rodent infestation could also cause a store to incur a penalty of $300, along with loss of product, according to The article goes on to say that in order to reduce any kinds of fines, shop owners may hide their faithful cats for a time if they think they are due for an inspection. 

I for one, know that I would much rather see a cat in a store than a rat! And, as mental floss points out, exterminators often use toxic chemicals to get rid of rodents, which I also don't want around my food! So what do you think? Bodega cats - yes or no?

Cover photo by Andre Blanco on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published