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Meet New York City’s bodega cats

These furry creatures are more than just pets

Walk into a New York City corner store or bodega, and you might have a furry surprise awaiting, sleeping next to a loaf of bread.

Cats have a long history as rodent eradicators, dating back to World War I when they were deployed to war zones and used in trenches and ships to get rid of vermin. Now, present day cats are similarly used by shopkeepers to help combat rodent issues.

Other cities have embraced cats, too; Chicago even has a program dedicated to putting fixed feral cats to work. Not everyone is as enthusiastic—for those who are allergic, it can be off-putting, but many city residents have a soft spot for their local bodega cat. One New Yorker even sent Mayor de Blasio a letter petitioning for the legalization of these furry creatures inside shops.