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The Bookshop cats

I visited a bookshop in Chapel Hill called The Bookshop, a feat of creative naming I have not seen since my 6-year-old self named my stuffed dog “Doggy.” The Bookshop did not feature dogs, but two cats instead.

Red at the Bookshop

Red was hanging out in Kiddie Lit trying to get a catnap when I paparazzied him. I strolled further down the seemingly endless, narrow hallway that comprises the Bookshop, wondering if I’d entered a TARDIS. At the very back, in North Carolina books, I found Elmo.

Elmo at the Bookshop

Elmo gave me a look that seemed to say, “Fine, take my picture and then beat it.” The kitties had beds and scratching posts in the bookshop window with a sign that asked patrons to please not knock on the glass. While we were there, someone entered with their dog who was not on a leash. They were promptly told to beat it before a cat vs. dog battle could ensue.

I wish the book stores in Indianapolis had cats. For now, I have to settle for the independent pharmacy on the north side that has a parrot.

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elty • September 18, 2009 at 11:15 am

I guess you finally got a new camera? I like the cat posts, being the property of two cats myself.


cc • September 18, 2009 at 11:46 am

our local shisha bar has a resident cat who squishes betweent the back of a sofa and the window into the street to sun himself and our local chemist has a fishtank containing most of the cast from Finding Nemo. both provide me with endless amusement.


Emi • September 18, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Wow, you still have an independent pharmacy near by? I’m jealous.

Our laundromat has a resident cat. Last week when we were there we saw the tiniest little white kitten poking it’s head around some stacks of laundry. We’re thinking the resident cat must’ve had babies. Aw, a whole family of laundromat cats!


AbbieBabble • September 18, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Cats at a bookstore just feels right. Although a pharmacy parrot also sounds awfully cool!


Daisy • September 18, 2009 at 2:46 pm

That’s so cute! We used to have a pet shop arounfd here where a cat wandered around doing a good job of praising his favourite food. I used to walk in there a lot just for that cat. Too bad they closed down a couple of years ago. :-(


Lainey • September 18, 2009 at 2:52 pm

In Alberta, we have bookstores called the Wee Book Inn, and they all have a resident cat. Usually a Himalayan. I spend more time playing with the cats than looking at books when I go there.


Jaime • September 18, 2009 at 2:53 pm

the vets office that i got lilly fixed in (i dont go there cause the free fixing costs me 135 bucks) had two cats that just lazed around in the lobby.

but it was also a cat hospital. so maybe they werent expecting doggies to come in.


Quix • September 18, 2009 at 3:00 pm

How cute! The first kitty looks so relaxed. Shame, we wouldn’t spend much time in there as my fiance is terribly allergic to kitties (in that too much dander causes him to have asthma attacks and stop breathing).


Jen @ The Short Years • September 18, 2009 at 4:26 pm

I love bookstores that have cats. It just feels right to me. If you’re ever in Oregon, stop by The Book Bin in downtown Corvallis. They have a very nice cat there.


Rahim • September 18, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Red looks like a baby lion…lol


Rahim • September 18, 2009 at 5:17 pm

I meant tiger.


Brendan • September 18, 2009 at 5:33 pm

My favorite bookstore with cats is Trans Allegheny Books in Parkersburg, WV.


Beth • September 18, 2009 at 7:44 pm

Have you read Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World? It’s about an orange kitten dropped in a book drop and then went on to be raised in the library. We have an orange cat and he is so wonderful that all three of our kids now have orange cats; our son actually has two orange ones.


stephanie • September 18, 2009 at 8:17 pm

I was just reading a few of your back entries and I’m sure you get this all the time, but I just wanted to say that I think you’re an incredibly talented writer. Thanks for putting such a quality blog out there. And I hope you feel better soon, for what it’s worth


cindy • September 18, 2009 at 9:56 pm

OK, you pet people are just strange! A bookstore is for BOOKS, not cats. I having nothing against cats (or dogs or any other pet) but I think it is a safe bet to say that I wouldn’t even notice that there was a cat curled up in the corner, let alone get excited and take a picture of it. It wouldn’t even cross my radar screen. But I do love a good independent bookstore… and a good independent pharmacy!


Sarah Fowler • September 19, 2009 at 12:48 am

While I appreciate the idea of a bookstore with cats, I’m glad most don’t have them. I LOVE books but I’m very, very allergic to cats– I’d start seriously wheezing the minute I stepped into the store!


Brenda • September 19, 2009 at 8:58 am

I get that the dog wasn’t on a leash so it shouldn’t have been there in the first place…but. Telling a paying customer to get lost just for the sake of the cats? Weird. Not to mention I couldn’t shop there because I would be wheezing and scratching within five minutes. Not very smart business moves, IMO.


Callie • September 19, 2009 at 8:43 pm

There were two independent bookstores in the Mission District in San Francisco that had cats. They’ve all since died, unfortunately. The negligent owners have still not gotten more cats. One of them had two sibling cats that would sleep in the window.

Recycled Bookstore in San Jose, CA, has two resident cats. The one in front is pretty attentive when you’re holding a treat in your hand. Otherwise they are both kind of standoffish, unfortunately.

There was a bookstore on the square in Healdsburg, CA, in wine country that had a cat. There was a basket in the window where you could often find the kitty sleeping.

I love finding cats in stores. There was a hardware store in Los Altos, CA, that had a resident cat, a striped orange one. A lamp shop in downtown Los Altos used to have a gray kitty that was quite demanding of attention. She’d get huffy if you stopped petting her to pay for your stuff!


Merry • September 19, 2009 at 11:12 pm

@Jen @ The Short Years – Last I checked, Powell’s in Portland had an attack cat.

Mind you, last I checked was awhile ago. When I arrived here, I called them and asked if I could bring my dog in with me. “Sure!” the woman said cheerfully. Then I did, and was unpleasantly evicted in disgrace. (I found out later that “Sure!” meant dogs that could be carried in your arms only.) Their rational was that some people were allergic to dogs, so they shouldn’t be allowed inside. Well and good, but aren’t some people allergic to cats as well? Specieism!


Julie • September 20, 2009 at 7:54 pm

I am also the property (happily!) of two Maine Coons. Love cats! They “do sleeping” so very very well. We had a photocopying place down the road which had a resident orange cat who loved sleeping on top of the copiers, cos they were warm. Sadly he has passed.


Carm the Crazy Cat Lady from Buffalo • September 20, 2009 at 11:20 pm

I too am a Cat Lady… crazy only in the sense that I am crazy about them. I have 8- 4 pedigreed Maine Coons- HI Julie in the post above- and 1 stray, 3 barn cats.

Cats in public places- I have known people who are deathly allergic to cat dander. Their health would be compromised quickly upon a feline encounter… so unless there were signs stating that cats resided there…

Being that my house is really a cattery- I forewarn anyone who is going to be working in it for any length of time about the # of cats I have. Most of my friends are cat people… the ones who took exception to my mid-life cat crisis are gone now!


Samantha in Oz • September 21, 2009 at 3:31 am

I’ll never forget a restaurant in New Zealand that had a resident cat.

It was mid-winter, and I had to fight the cat for the seat nearest the fire place. Personally, I was charmed by that cat’s presence – but I know several people who would be outraged by encountering a cat in a restaurant. (They served excellent food, by the way).

This discussion also reminds me of the one-eyed Tawny Frogmouth (an Australian owl-like bird) that used to sit on the counter at my local vet surgery. That was one very cool bird. Fun memories.


auntjone • September 21, 2009 at 1:16 pm

The library in my hometown used to have one or two cats roaming around. I’m not sure if they still do. I haven’t been there for several years so I’d have to ask my mom, but it was fun to see them lounging in a chair or creeping along the shorter bookcases.


Haystacks • September 23, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Doctor Who Reference FTW!

Geek Love


Holly • September 24, 2009 at 9:32 pm

I was just scrolling through your page and thought to myself, I know that cat…and I do! I have walked by that bookstore so many times. I am an ex Indy girl that now works in Chapel Hill, NC. Did you see the cute golden that walks himself? I hope you got to go to Medi Deli after The Bookstore. Have a plate of Yats for me. It’s the on thing about Indy I miss other than my family.


Mihla • October 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm

A very long time ago I worked at a publication where the owners brought in their two lab mixes every day. It made the office so much more comfortable.

I’ve been a home-based freelancer for almost 20 years now, and have always had either a dog lounging at my feet or a cat curled up beside me. Wouldn’t have it any other way.


Caroline • February 25, 2011 at 5:14 am

I moved to Chapel Hill from London last year for 9 months to study and I love that cats! They are such sweet guys. Lovely bookstore too.


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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