Someone started a petition to make bodega cats legal in NYC

Leave sleeping bodega cats lie. Via
Leave sleeping bodega cats lie. Via

It turns New Yorkers are willing to put up with a lot of negativity and cynicism in our city, except when it comes to bodega cats. If you mess with bodega cats, those lovable, mouse-chasing, not-exactly-legal mascots of bodegas citywide, the internet will come after you, and hard. So since we ran this story yesterday about someone taking to Yelp to complain about a bodega cat, we’ve heard from lots of people who have risen to the defense of the felines, and lots of tweets asking what kind of gentrifying monster would narc out a bodega cat on Yelp (and some who asked what kind of monster would use Yelp at all). One Brooklynite today decided to try to end the controversy once and for all by starting a petition asking the mayor to legalize the felines.

“As a long time New Yorker I grew up seeing cats inside of bodegas,” the petition’s creator Nicholas McMurry writes. “I would like to see it made legal to have cats in a bodega in New York City. Cats keep rodents out of food products and keep other pests at bay. You don’t want to see fecel [sic] matter from rodents in a bodega right? I don’t either.”

The petition needs 100 signatures now it’s 500 and only has a few as of this posting. It’s not clear how seriously McMurry is taking the issue, seeing as anyone can start a petiton for just about anything on (we reached out to him for comment but haven’t heard back yet). He probably doesn’t do his cause any favors by also calling for the mayor to ban dogs in restaurants while allowing cats in bodegas.

It’s a health department rule on both city and state level that makes bodega cats illegal; owners can face fines of a few thousand dollars if they’re not in compliance. It’s doubtful a petition (and a poorly written one to boot) would change the health department’s stance on having animals around food, but hey what is our country if not a land of dreamers and online petitioners?

Here’s a sampling of other responses to YelpCatDegaghazi:

Via @sebastianxmatt on Instagram.
Via @sebastianxmatt on Instagram.

We also learned about the Instagram account bklynbodegacats, an illustrated guide to the creatures that fans of bodega cats will surely enjoy, and this WNYC project: Bodega Cats in Their Own Words.

Much like how New York reacted to a terror threat on these streets, we’re very serious about standing up for our own, even if our own includes lazy allergen machines blocking you from getting the good bread.

Follow Tim for more news from the litter-ati: @timdonnelly.


  1. It’d be wonderful to have a City-approved program where bodegas adopted spayed/neutered, rabies-vaccinated cats from ACC. This would help increase adoptions from our city shelters, and the cats would provide natural, non-toxic rodent control while possibly becoming neighborhood celebrities.

  2. mythoughts

    Ummm, hate to rain on everyone’s parade, but some people are allergic to cats and could have a serious reaction if there were cat hairs in their deli sandwich.

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