Cat living in a US store can stay

Depot a cat living at a store USA

Depot a cat living at a large store in the USA

This is the story of a black cat named Depot, who makes her home inside the Home Depot home improvement store in Bluffton, South Carolina. For readers who reside in other countries, Home Depot and Lowe’s are the two top home improvement chains in the U.S.

Bluffton is located in Beaufort County near coastal South Carolina. It’s estimated that Depot has lived in the garden shop and other areas of the home improvement store for 13 years now. Customers enjoy seeing the cat when they visit the lawn and garden department. The sweet feline brings a bit of extra happiness to the shoppers who look for her presence when they do business with the store.

Unfortunately, Depot has been tripping security alarms at night when the store is closed to the public. The idea to evict the cat from the only place she’s known for most of her life recently came up, and faced much opposition from those who loved her.

Enter Daniel Goodell, who decided to take a stand by starting a petition at Change.org that will allow Depot to remain. David resides in Margaretville, New York, but vacations in the Beaufort County area. More than 1700 signatures have been gathered since the petition went online last week.

The power of the internet and social media is strong, and working as an advantage in allowing Depot to remain in her home. In an interview with The State newspaper, Daniel summed it up perfectly….

“The gist of it is, would you want to be yanked out of your home where you’ve lived your whole life?”

Some customer’s threatened to boycott the store. There were also several officers to adopt Depot, and provide her with a stable home in which to spend her final years.

Depot, who is obviously a senior cat, has been the bright spot in the day of many who shopped at the store just to see her. Those who have fallen for this sweet black cat have offered several solutions. A doctor in Germany contacted Daniel with an offer to adopt Depot at his own expense. The Palmetto Animal League spoke with Home Depot spokesperson Catherine Woodling, offering to provide medical care and vaccinations to the aging cat.

Strangers with the only thing in common being a deep love of cats are banding together to ensure Depot isn’t evicted. So far they’ve been successful.

Woodling is concerned for Depot’s health. She wants the cat to have a safe environment. South Carolina summer’s are very hot and humid, and this winter the temperatures are breaking record lows not seen in decades. Perhaps it would be best to find Depot a stable environment. The decision has been made to allow her to stay until a better home can be found. Or until she lives out the remainder of her life.

I live in South Carolina, and while traveling as a photographer I had the pleasure of knowing a “store cat.” The cat I knew lived at a Wal-Mart in Georgia, and she would come out to greet me each time I worked the store. The cat I knew lived in the stockroom and kept the rat population under control. I imagine Depot performs a similar service at Home Depot.

It’s nice that a decision has been made to allow Depot to stay. But is it the best solution for her in the long run? Please leave a comment with your opinion on what you believe would be in Depot’s best interest.

Elisa

Refs and associated:

  1. Ref: thestate.com
  2. Associated page: Taking your cat to work
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Comments

Cat living in a US store can stay — 17 Comments

  1. I think Depot deserves a nice comfy home with someone to love and care for her in her senior years, before she gets much older and maybe has health problems. It’s nice she’s been welcome in the store for so long but if someone is willing to give her a good home then I think that would be in her best interests. Yes strange for her at first at the change of place but in the long run my opinion is that she would be much better off.

    • Ruth I’m inclined to agree with you but it’s a difficult question to answer. Maybe she would feel more comfortable at the Home Depot – I’d need to see more exactly how old she is and what exactly are her living conditions – before making a sure decision. If Depot were to get very ill then she should have somebody available to her day and night like a cat in a normal home.

      • Good point about age. We know that elderly cats are more likely to require veterinary care. An older cat requires more monitoring. I am not sure she can get that in a store.

    • I agree it is like a person going into an excellent retirement home or some sort of place where she can be cared for as a senior cat. A place that is more comfortable perhaps except that cats hate change even more than people and like their area that they know well.

      Nice, though that there is concern for her welfare. The public does warm to vulnerable cats who get some publicity. I wish all cats got the same publicity.

  2. I think Depot needs to stay put if she’s happy and feels safe. Should she fall ill, that would be a whole other story.

    What concerns me some is whether there is a willingness on the part of the store to provide her with a temperature controlled environment. After hours temps in stores are changed. I don’t believe neither heat nor cooling are turned off, but I’m sure they are turned down.

    Home Depot does a good business selling sheds and enclosures. I don’t think it would be hard for them to provide one for Depot that could be made temp comfortable.

  3. I worry more about her containment. If she has access to the parking lot she also has access to the road. Neither is safe for her. She might have issues in the beginning if she’s transferred to a safer home but those can be overcome with good food, a quiet place to sleep and lots of love.

    • I know how you feel, Elisa; but, she’s had that access for 13 years without issue. Unless she shows signs of senility, I don’t see that as a problem.
      I do believe that she should be confined in a temp controlled environment at night, preferably INSIDE the store.

      • I love the idea of her being made a bed inside. I remember the Wal Mart cat allowed me to carry her from my studio where she sleft under the table back to the stockroom. I was told I was the only one she’d allowed to carry her.

          • It was really funny because I thought since everyone knew about the cat that they were used to carrying her around. I had to take her back to the stockroom almost every morning. She wandered the entire store at night, but she had a bed back in the stockroom. She had had kittens and the employees found homes for them and then they had her spayed. She was a sweet tabby cat.

  4. Depot should be allowed to stay as long as she is well. Surely they can find a small area of the store to secure at night so she doesn’t trip the alarms? Perhaps the employee lounge area or business offices?

    • Fair point. I think what you are saying is that she knows the place so well and is settled and to move her would upset her too much. Although as she is old there will come a time when perhaps she will need more care than can be given at present.

      • Yes, without being verbose.

        Depot has lived at the store most of her life. Unless a change is necessary for her health and safety, she should stay, but with protective nighttime accommodations. Home Depot should be able to create acceptable accommodations for her without excessive expense or difficulty.

        As a one-person staff for several felines during most of my adult life, I can verify that cats do not accept change well, even when exposed to it on a regular basis. Depot should stay unless a move is better for her health.

  5. The fact is that Depot has made the store her home for 13 years.
    I don’t think I have the right to impose my will and make her do something that would make her unhappy.
    As I’ve learned here about one cat households, an older cat doesn’t adjust well to changes, whether it be another cat or a move.
    I would never want to be the one to cause Depot such distress by forcing her to leave her home.
    Sometimes, we really don’t know what’s best.

  6. My only concern about leaving Depot where she is, is that the older she gets, the harder it will be for her to adjust to a move. She is thirteen plus years old now and still not too old to settle in a loving home where she will be cared for. Leaving her until she maybe does need more care would mean the trauma of a move on top of feeling unwell.
    Old cats sometimes go a bit senile, sometimes they have loss of hearing, sometimes their sight is poorer, supposing she became confused and was injured in the garden department, not everyone likes cats. Supposing she got out and was killed in the car park, that’s all I’m saying.

  7. This story reminds me of Herman, a stray dog who came to live in the garage where the police squad cars were kept in West Allis. The officers weren’t able to determine whose dog he was, and decided to keep him. They chipped in for his vet care and his food and I’m sure he had a bed someplace, maybe in the office, but basically he spent most of his time in the garage. He never got hit by a car– he looked at the lines painted on the floor, so he knew where the cars would drive and he stayed out of the way. At first the officers felt it would be wrong to have their dog wandering, since members of the public were required to follow leash laws, so they tied Herman to this weight, a large donut shaped metal disc. Herman didn’t like the confinement, so he just dragged the weight around the garage. He became so strong he was like this little “iron dog.” When they would take him out to the dog park, Herman could run like the wind. Eventually, they realized Herman wasn’t going anywhere and quit tying him up. I interviewed a retired officer who was close to Herman, and he said that sometimes he felt badly for Herman because he didn’t live in a comfortable home. He lived in a garage. But Herman, unlike most dogs, was never alone. There was always someone there, plus all the officers coming and going at the shift change, and every one had a kind word or a friendly pat or a treat for Herman.

    So maybe Herman had a better life than dogs with a more conventional home. That could be true of this cat as well, but it will take some effort from those working there and maybe from customers who care about her as well. She can be provided for in her unconventional home, with risks to her being minimized. She’s great PR for the store, just as Herman was for the police department.

    I wrote a song about Herman. The neighborhood kids all loved him and when Herman died he was buried with full honors as if he were a fallen officer. Many of the officers cried. I put that in my song: “Brave men were not afraid to cry, for they loved that dog as their own. They’d been glad to give him a home.” The wife of the officer I interviewed was amazed that I knew that, since her husband hadn’t told me that they cried and I wasn’t there personally. Well, no one had to tell me that the loss of a friend as special as Herman would be enough to make even grown men cry. Herman is buried near the West Allis Historical Society building. He has a nice stone. Although he died in the 1970’s, he’s still remembered around here, and even those too young to have met Herman know his story.

  8. Wow, this is like one of my case stories in a class of mine. Deciding the morale implications of whether it is better for a cat to stay in the home she stayed in her whole life or placing her somewhere that will make a few other people happy. I honestly feel that she should be given all the comforts of home in the store. She may need to move to a nice home in her old age, but for now she should be OK? The alarm sensitivity could be adjusted to allow her to hunt the full length of the store. Heck, get another cat to keep her company. Cats are clean. They keep out vermin, provide love and warmth to all who they come in contact with. The store would do well to keep her.

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