You head on over to your local bodega, corner shop, or convenience store to grab a quick snack, and who’s that you notice poking its head around the milk cartons? Why, the local cat that claimed the bodega as its new home, of course!
These fluffy and friendly felines boost the shoppers’ mood, tirelessly work to get rid of nasty pests, and meow at anyone who’s thinking of running out without paying. Could anyone commit a crime while someone with big eyes like Puss in Boots is staring at them? We don’t think so.
The Bodega Cats social media project is all about giving these adorable kittens the attention they deserve. Scroll down to see the newest pics of convenience store cats, upvote your fave ones, read on for Bored Panda's interview with Rob Hitt, founder of Bodega Cats, and check out our previous post about the social media project right here.
Currently, there more than 10k bodegas in New York City alone. While bodega cats are a wholesome sight, they’re not really legal to keep inside because they’re around edible products. Fines for keeping a cat in a corner shop can start from 200 dollars but can reach up to 2k dollars for repeat offenders (the bodega owners, not the cats).
The man behind the Bodega Cats project is none other than Rob. He’s amassed over 422k followers on Twitter. He also has 279k fans on Instagram, as well as 16k followers on Facebook.
In Rob's opinion, every cat tends to be quite unique and how it will act in a bodega when people will come in will completely depend on each particular animal. "Cats will just be cats in terms of Bodega Cats vs. House Cats. They all have their own personalities. Feral cats on the other hand aren’t conditioned to seek out human interaction so they act more secluded."
Rob revealed that because of the quarantine and working from home, he's been staying inside more: "So like all of us I’m stuck inside missing the cats alongside many of us."
Rob has put the fame of his account to good use. He said that the Bodega Cats account is always growing and that within the last year he's partnered up with a number of organizations that help raise awareness around controlling the cat population humanely through adoption, TNR (trap, neuter, return), rescue, and helping with vet bills for rescues. "In some cases like with Greenpoint Cats, they’ll work with bodega owners to help get their cats fixed (spayed and neutered)."
Rob told Bored Panda that he uses social media and donations from the webstore sales to support other organizations like Greenpoint Cats, including Flatbush Cats and The Original TrapKing. "Check out and support these wonderful organizations," he said.
Rob came up with the idea for the Bodega Cats project back in 2012 after he was out late one night in New York, stumbled into a corner shop, saw a cat, and made an Instagram post about it.
“My friends enjoyed the photos of the cats I posted more than the photos of me! At that point, I decided to start the Bodega Cats accounts in hopes of giving people a moment of positivity and smile throughout their day,” Rob told Bored Panda earlier.
“Now, I’d say we get about 75-100 submissions a week. I really don’t think too much about picking the photos other than if they invoke some sort of emotion in me. It never hurts to select a kitten, a cat on top of a bag potato chips, or one protecting a nice warm ATM machine."
Rob believes that the photos posted on the Bodega Cats social media accounts evoke positive emotions and are popular because people love stumbling upon something familiar in an unfamiliar way.
"If you have a cat and then see one out, it brings back that warm feeling of home. I also feel people are excited because they know to date we've been able to utilize the money from the sales in our webstore towards helping organizations that help the feral, community, or bodega cat population. We’ve also been able to find other effective ways of helping by donating social posts (tweets, stories, feed posts, etc) which can help raise awareness for positive organizations."