Love them or hate them, shop cats in New York City are part of the urban landscape. Going far beyond the bodega cat, the book The Shop Cats of New York by Tamar Arslanian and Andrew Marttila document the stories behind 36 of these feline friends, from the unknown to the more famous like Matilda the Algonquin Hotel cat and the cats at Pratt University. Arslanian, who also is the author of the website IHaveCat.com has really situated the cat into a framework of discovery and exploration, much like the animals themselves. She writes in the introduction, “Life in New York is all about magic moments of discovery. Finding something wonderful others may not know about or notice. One microcosm of New York City is that of the shop cat.”
Photo by Andrew Marttila
In The Shop Cats of New York, published by HarperCollins, you’ll discover the story of a cat who is the mascot of a dog boutique, a wine store cat that has a chiropractor for his bad back, a camping store cat who has the official title of “customer therapist,” and more. The story of each cat is accompanied by beautiful photographs by Andrew Marttila, a pet photographer. Marttila was originally a neuroscience major and extremely allergic to cats, but his photographs became so popular on social media, he decided to pursue his passion for photography.
Photo by Andrew Marttila
Jeffie, the Kings County Distillery king. Photo by Andrew Marttila.
Despite being a cat owner herself, Arslanian says,
“I admit that before getting to know Jack and the other cats in this book, I felt bad for felines who lived out their days in businesses. Not only did I wonder if they were being used merely as marketing gimmicks, I pitied them, thinking they’d be better off in more traditional living situations. I was saddened at the thought of them spending their evenings alone while I was home doting on my felines. However, as I spent more time with them (and their humans), I noticed they were extremely well taken care of–spoiled even–and adored not only by the employees but also the clientele.”
In The Shop Cats of New York, you’ll find the stories of cats at Shakespeare & Company, Bleecker Street Records and C.O. Bigelow pharmacy (which has a long history of cats going back to the company’s founding in 1838). The cat cafe, Meow Parlor, is also documented.
Get the book The Shop Cats of New York on Amazon. See the slideshow below for more photos by Andrew Marttila from the book:
Next, get to know Matilda, the Algonquin Hotel cat better.