Library Cats and Book Shop Cats

Books and cats go together like fish and chips. Yet some people object to cats that have set up home in buildings used by the public. In this instance I’m referring to book shops and libraries but it could also be veterinarian clinics and even hospices or theatres. Taking your cat to work is another way that you’ll see cats in places other than a home.

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Personally, and I am bound to say this, there is no doubt in my mind that cats add to a library and book shop. Their presence probably helps to sell books but I would doubt that they are there for that purposes. They make a library and book shop more homely and comfortable. The cat makes a library like a home and gives it a bit of soul, bringing joy to the vast majority of people.

Then along comes someone who complains about the cat. You are almost bound to get this nowadays. Perhaps it is a modern phenomenon; an over emphasis on health and safety in public places.

In this instance I am referring to a Mr Higgins who has complained about Penny, a tabby cat, who has been at the Swansea library for 14 years with not a single complaint – only praise, I expect. This, by the way, is Swansea, USA and not Wales, UK.

Mr Higgins appears to have complained about cat allergies. Perhaps he is allergic to cats. However, most libraries are large places with plenty of options to put a bit space between you and the cat if you are allergic.

Mr Higgins also complained about a fence that is blocking a wheelchair entrance. Perhaps the fence is there to stop Penny going into a certain area. He said the fence was a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and planned to sue the library until the backlash arrived from the public!

Overwhelmingly, the public supports Penny and the library. The kind of comment we are seeing on the internet is along these lines:

It’s amazing to me that in 14 years time…..the only thing that Penny has done is bring joy to the people of Swansea and made a trip to the library an enjoyable one. I am pretty sure that there have been many others that have allergies that visit the library…and they survived. Perhaps Higgins should invest in a kindle and leave a treasured piece of Swansea alone…..(Shana Provost)

That is a smart comment, the general tenor of which is supported by many others, namely: Mr Higgins, it is you who has to go, not Penny!

I love that sort of outcome. The story is not over. Mr Higgins will withdraw his complaint if a sign is put up about cat allergies and provided Penny is not replaced when she dies.

The library directors are meeting to discuss a response to Mr Higgins. What is it going to be? Ban Higgins, maybe?

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Library Cats and Book Shop Cats — 17 Comments

  1. One of many comments re: Penny.

    “Patrick Higgins and his father have been a thorn in the butts of the residents of Swansea for a long time, they need really think about moving!”

    LMAO! Apple didn’t fall far from that tree.

    “Higgins said he does not have a cat allergy and that he doesn’t frequent the library.”

    People like Higgins really tick me off. They go around looking for problems to complain about. Having a cat in a store does NOT violate the ADA. The ADA allows for “companion” and “service” pets if a person has been diagnosed with certain ailments and requires the need of a trained animal.

    Higgins would probably complain about a blind person with a guide dog in the library as well.

    • Well said. I feel the same way about Higgins. He sounds as if he is just a nuisance and professional complainer. He possibly dislikes cats too. The library visitors should make the decision and I know what it will be. Get rid of Higgins, keep Penny. 😉

    • Higgins is a criminal in jail! What a laugh. How he had the cheek to complain about a cat in a library is beyond me. Maybe there is some good in the world. I was beginning to lose faith.

    • LoL – yes Ruth, exactly – and I think the development regarding Higgins and jail puts him in the minus. I do love to give minus points to the monsters don’t I 🙂

      Penny 1 : Higgins -1

  2. Michael, what a great topic. This library is always a favorite place to visit when I go see friends in Branford. When I first started visiting they had 2 library cats. So I went off looking for info on the cats, and found a site devoted to library cats!

    http://www.purr-n-fur.org.uk/featuring/libus02.html

    Scroll down to JAMES BLACKSTONE MEMORIAL LIBRARY
    Branford, New Haven County, Connecticut. Not clear why they don’t have current library cats, but I miss them.

    But, the site has great stories of library cats!

    • Fantastic information. You have a mission: to go in search of library cats and to photograph them! We are looking for the America’s best library cat. Perhaps there are far more than I ever imagined.

      • I help out with the Purr ‘n’ Fur site with those pages on US library cats linked to in the comments here. I came across this page while researching the recent story about Penny at Swansea for a future update to her entry.

        If you or any of your readers can ever help, we’d love to hear of any more library cats, or updates for ones we already have: images and a little information very welcome, or the name of a library known to have a cat so we could contact them ourselves. We’re on the other side of the pond, and it’s not always easy to track down the feline-friendly libraries! Contact us through the site, or we’re also on Facebook. Thanks 🙂

  3. Yes Marc
    Penny 1 Higgins -1
    roflol
    What worries me about if we had library cats here is with the cuts and libraries closing altogether or having only short hours opening,what would happen to the cats then?

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