Gottesman Cat?

| October 27, 2010

It is not an exaggeration to say that library cats are everywhere. The above clip honors the most famous of them all, Dewey Readmore Books, now deceased.

I admit I’m biased. I fit right into the stereotype of a librarian-cat lady, having acquired 2 kittens after moving to Brooklyn 1 year ago. The first, Penelope, was found on a sidewalk amidst rocks and a broken umbrella, 4 days old, crying for the mother that had abandoned her. The first time I saw her at my friends’ apartment, I was given strict instructions not to wake her, but I quietly got in close to make sure she was not actually a rodent. We named her after the black cat from Pepé Le Pew. She’s now 1 year old and very much a hyper and mischievous kitty, running laps in our small apartment with our second kitten, Jiji, whom we adopted to be her buddy.

They’re most popular in public libraries, but a few universities and colleges host felines as well, including Wesleyan of Georgia, the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, and Pratt Institute, where numerous campus kitties haunt the Steam Engine Room and are fed by the cat-loving engineer. The cats all have names–Lestat, Nicky, Handsome, Big Mama, Big Daddy,  and Two Dish, to name a few.

Patrons in favor of library cats praise the comfortable atmosphere the felines create, cherishing the opportunity to cuddle while they read. Many library cats, like New York bodega cats, are enlisted for rodent control. Some Pratt Institute students even say that presence of Two Dish, Big Mama and others were the impetus for accepting admission to Pratt.

It doesn’t hurt that medical research tells us cats are good for your health.

Of course, there are cat allergies and phobias to consider. Our (newly steam-cleaned) giant stuffed bear may serve as a less-playful substitute. He doesn’t eat mice, but he’s just as fuzzy, without the dander.