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10 November 2007 @ 09:49 pm
kitties = happy  
Stores with kitties are always better.

My two favourite bookstores in Connecticut both had resident kitties. My favourite bodega in Hell’s Kitchen had a scrawny, Greebo-faced but very sweet tabby. Here in my adopted hometown, the local hardware store has a lovely old cat.

I first met Patches when I stopped in for bird seed. She was sleeping in a box at the counter. As one's purchases were rung up, one could skritch her - or not - as one pleased. I pleased. And, of course, I skritched under the flea collar, ‘cause that’s difficult territory to navigate when coming at it blind with a hind paw. Whenever I stopped in for seed or gardening tools or chain saw lubricant, I always skritched Patches. One day, I had a desperate need for painting supplies. As I crouched in the aisle, eyeing the brushes I heard a rather rusty “mraowr!” which was followed hard on by a lap full of Patches. She crawled onto my thighs and settled down, purring mightily. After the obligatory skritches, I offered my apologies but declared I really did have shopping to do, and I was so very sorry to upset her. She followed me as I finished making my selections and jumped onto the counter to keep an eye on the help as they tallied my purchases. For a time, we went back to our more formal encounters: Patches slept, I skritched.

Today, however, we moved to an entirely different level in our relationship. Don and I found ourselves in rather dire need of a cover for our new log rack. As we’d bought the rack from the local hardware store, we reasoned we’d find the cover there. On our journey into the bowels of hardware-dom, we met with the tiniest gatekeeper: Patches, fully awake and needing some skritching, sat on the base of an endcap. “MRAOWR!” she said, rustily and with rather serious insistence. Completely ditching my lovely husband, I sat down beside the cat. She crawled into my lap, butted her head against my hand, and began purring. And drooling. A lot.

Don, knowing I was lost to kittydom, went on with his shopping. One of the owners of the store walked by. “Huh,” he said, looking at the curled-up purring-drooling kitty in my lap. “That’s rare.” Apparently, Patches isn’t so fond of people. At all. She’ll tolerate them, but she won’t expend any energy. There’s a ninety year old woman she likes. Oh, and - apparently - me. As she burrowed her head into the crook of my arm, I got Patches’ life story (bottle reared eleven years ago with a brother who was killed last year; Patches spent months and months looking for him, going outside where she never liked to do so before) even as the kitty was depositing layers of hair upon my workout pants.

At last, though, I had to go and find my husband. With a final skritch, I deposited the kitty upon the ground and went in search of Don... only to find Patches following me. When I turned to look at her, she “mraoWR!”ed most insistently. What could I do but pick her up? She settled upon my shoulder, purring madly for the remainder of our hardware store excursion. Patches hopped down onto the counter as were rung up (I swear, she watched to make sure we weren’t cheated). After a final skritch, Don and I departed. Patches curled up in her box on the counter. I got into the car, covered in a substantial layer of white hair and kitty drool.

Best. Hardware store. EVER. I love where I live. And I think I need to get pictures of Patches, just because.
Andrewquueer on November 11th, 2007 04:10 am (UTC)
Ea Quae Legiteaquaelegit on November 11th, 2007 04:36 am (UTC)

Seriously. Between you and ursulav, I become more and more determined to have a kitty of my own someday when I can give one a decent home.
Mollyzapthatmonster on November 11th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC)
Powell's City of Books (Nation's largest indie bookstore! yay!) here in PDX used to have a store cat in it's technical books annex. Fup. Fup was found outside the store and hidden by staff, and finally the managers found it and said "oh, alright."

It stayed for 20ish years, and died a few weeks ago. :(
Andrewquueer on November 11th, 2007 06:54 am (UTC)
By my house (back home in los angeles that is) there was this little feminist second hand bookstore that was run by cats.
Dark Angel: KimAndJasonLoveeuph0ra on November 11th, 2007 05:16 am (UTC)
Warwick is my actual hometown and I love it too. Sadly because I have the ponies I must live elsewhere. It is soooo expensive to have any kind of acreage in Warwick. But the school system, when I was there, rocked so the taxes at least go to pay for good stuff.

Anyway, yay Warwick! My brother and his wife and kids and my parents all still reside in Warwick.
imaginatrix on November 11th, 2007 03:07 pm (UTC)

We actually have a store's cat in the bookshop where I work - he's big, and black, and his name's Ink. He likes sitting on people's laps and running up to EVERYONE, asking for a scratch or even better a cuddle.

Getting the inventory balanced out with a rather large cat on your lap, butting your chin for attention, is, ah... an EXPERIENCE. :P
Aifacat: Purr...aifacat on November 11th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
There used to be a used record store in Downtown New Haven on Broadway called Festoon's that had, if I recall correctly, three resident cats. Two in particular would come over as you flipped through the vinyl (hey, it was the early nineties!), traipse across the records in the bins and just climb up on your shoulders. Like, "Oh! My ride's here!" I remember one standing directly on the records in front of me and putting both front paw on either one of my shoulders to say hello, lol.

The store changed names and moved to West Haven, but I just found out it seems to have moved to Hamden, so I need to stop in sometime. I hope the kitties are still there. :-)