Who doesn’t like bodega cats? The feline sheriffs, whose job it is to fend off rodents and pests in New York’s convenience stores and deli, has long been a unique and popular local phenomenon.
Since 2012, Brooklyn-based web developer and music producer Rob Hitt has been photographing and collecting domesticated cats in bodegas across town and posting them on his social media. Since then, his Twitter and Instagram accounts have had a huge following. Hundreds of posts feature adorable bodega cats patrolling stores, sitting on shelves between products, climbing on ATMs or examining customers with suspicious eyes.
“After many nights coming home on the subway, I stopped by my local bodega for a bite to eat, snap a photo of a cat, and toss it on my Instagram,” said Hitt Hyperallergic from the origins of his photo project. “When I realized that my friends were more excited about the cats than about my own photos, I decided to create the account because I saw that it made so many friends happy.”
While New York Department of Health regulations prohibit bodega cats, they have been a valuable asset to their owners who prefer to pay the $ 200-350 fine for keeping the cat than dealing with a rodent infestation, damage the products while incurring a 10% penalty at the same time as $ 300.
As Hitt’s social media influence grew, he opened an online store selling bodega cat-themed goods, from shirts and tote bags to baby onesies. A portion of the profits will go to animal rescue and trap neuter return organizations in NYC, including Flatbushcats, TrapKing, PAWS NY, and others. Hitt also promotes the work of such organizations on his blog.
Enjoy more pictures of bodega cats from all over New York City now:
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