WHAT: Shop Cats of New York, a book about the kitties who greet you at the door and lounge around New York City businesses.
WHO: The author, Tamar Arslanian, is an account director at Avrett Free Ginsberg, founder of social media consultancy Pet-Minded and I Have Cat blogger. Pet photographer Andrew Marttila shot the photos for Shop Cats of New York. Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins, is the publisher.
WHY WE CARE: The rare journalist who moonlights as a cat sitter and once prioritized a visit with Pooper Katzenberger over an interview with one of the stars of Desperate Housewives, I was delighted when a review copy of Shop Cats of New York arrived in the mail.
From bookstores to wine shops, cats are found in all kinds of New York City businesses, and this hardcover book tells their stories. In the introduction, Arslanian admits she used to feel bad for these kitties—she worried about them spending nights alone. But as she was interviewing shopkeepers and their clientele for Shop Cats of New York, she realized these cats—at least the ones featured in the book—are getting lots of love and attention and are treasured by business owners and customers alike.
Mostly rescues, the cats are more than mousers. They are beloved mascots. Patti Gucci, a former feral cat who now lives at outdoor equipment supplier Tents & Trails, is billed by the store as “customer therapist, assistant buyer and HR,” Arslanian points out in the book. The cat also models for the store’s promotional materials and pops up on social media. Just the other day, a photo of Patti Gucci meeting former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was posted on the Tents & Trails Twitter account.
Among the other cats featured in the book are Keetah, whose likeness appears on T-shirts and buttons sold at Bleecker Street Records; Ivy, the resident kitty at Neergaard Pharmacy respectfully referred to as “Her Royal Highness Princess Ivy of Neergaard” by store employees and regular customers; and Molly, the cat who calls British grocer Myers of Keswick home. You may have heard of Molly—she was stuck in a wall in 2006, and the story of her dramatic rescue was covered by The New York Times and numerous other news outlets around the world.
While Arslanian writes thoughtful, interesting profiles, Marttila shot some gorgeous photos, capturing the beauty and character of the book’s feline subjects.