It seems that somewhere in the archane, Dickensian bylaws of New York City, that there is an edict that in order to get a commercial lease in Park Slope, Brooklyn, one needs to have a shop cat.

Hard at work, as paperweight

Hard at work, as paperweight

That one, above, is cheating – it’s actually a pet shop. But the cat isn’t for sale.

Neither are the shop cats at my local photocopy shop-cum-post office, who also appear to see their jobs as preventing stacks of files and paper from being blown away, while shedding fur and accepting strokes from strangers. And these felines are in demand: at last count, four cats were holding down files there. In the failing US economy, it’s nice to see at least one sector is healthy.

Cat hair in your photocopies might not be too much of a worry, or in your books – at the bookshop, they’ve got a dog to keep the cat company, which seems perfectly to suit the sleepy, library atmosphere.

The book shop dog

The book shop dog

I’m ever so slightly concerned by the chemist’s part-time cat, although being English, I’d never actually say anything.

But you know, I’m going to draw a line at the ginger tom I saw in the supermarket, hanging out by the canned fish. No joke. Unfortunately, I was too stunned to reach for my camera, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

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