Categories: working cats

Famous NY Pub Needs Their Cats Back

Six years ago New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene banned cats from a famous pub, McSorley’s Old Ale House, and guess what? The pub got shut down very recently because there were signs of rat activity in the basement.


McSorley’s dates back to 1854. It is one East Village’s ancient, famous eating and drinking establishments.

On November 10th it was closed with a sticker outside from the NY Dept of Health.

Way back (in the good ‘ole days!) there were kitties lounging around the establishment. You can just image it, can’t you? A great place with life and soul. The proprietor had to remove them (no idea where to) under orders from the DOH. The mentality behind that kind of order is that cats spread disease but, in truth, this is a nonsense. If domestic cats spread disease why are there 93 million of them in America sharing homes with their adoring human guardians?

The rat activity in Mc Sorley’s basement, which would have been prevented, I’d say, by the presence of the bar’s cats, is thought to have come from building activity in nearby Cooper Square. It seems that the building activity disturbed the rats and they migrated to the basement as the door was open a few weeks ago. That’s what they think.

Anyway, the crux of the matter is this: we know that the presence of cats in bars and office environments is a good way to minimise rodent activity. The cats might not eliminate them but we know for sure that there will be less rats and mice when cats are about. They are working cats and we love them.

I’d say that the DOH made a mistake in banning these cats. One aspect of this DOH order puzzles me. Bodega cats are still found in may corner stores in NYC as far as I am aware. Are these cats exempt? Or does the order cover a section of NY? I have no idea. The authorities need to be more open minded about working cats in businesses. Damn it, there are three domestic cats in major UK government departs in the centre of London with the sole purpose of keeping down rodents.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • Cats actually attract rodents. When rodents are infected with cats' brain-hijacking T. gondii parasite, this make any rodents infected attracted to the scent of cats. More cats = more rodents. As Disney discovered. Their rodent problem appeared at the very same time that the cats showed-up. They wised-up and destroyed all cats on their properties last year and got rid of any rodents the right way, instead of having cats that were just attracting even more rodents.

    There are millions of bars and restaurants across all of N. America which have no cats on the premises, as required by all health-codes. There are millions of bars and restaurants that don't have any kind of a rodent problem. This isn't a no-cats problem, it's a filthy pub problem.

    • Yes, that theory has been circulated but it is not a solid theory and unproven I'd say. Also I think you have misstated it. Rats lose their fear of cats if infected with the T gondii parasite. They are not "attracted" to cats.

      Your dislike of cats shows I am afraid and therefore your bias. A lot of people like the presence of cats in bars and libraries etc..

  • Do we really believe that authorities have what it takes to put 2 and 2 together, ie. cats = no rats? Someone that they will listen to will have to tell them. That's where public outcry comes in. Be vocal, be loud, be heard.
    Why are people so intimidated that they won't speak out for their beliefs and principles?
    I believe that Elisa will agree that our mammas didn't raise any wussies!

    • The authorities are programmed to follow the establishment view that cats in public places are dangerous. It's crazy. They need educating.

  • Yeah, cats are THE best defense against rodents and they maximize anti-infestation, period. If people who are supposed to know that, don't, we don't have people in places they need to be in. All the time I hear of government over-reaching or not reaching at all... because they'd rather sit on their brains behind a desk. They don't think "How can I best do my job and serve the community?". They seem to just ask themselves "What does it pay and how can I get away with doing as little as possible and not get called on it?". Freakin' idiots.

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