Regulation

Alaskan Officials Evict General Store's Beloved Cat from Home of 6 Years

The 12-year-old cat couldn't live out the rest of her days in peace.

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Facebook/Kady-Lee Hackett

A jet-black, "slightly overweight" cat named Storm (or Stormy, depending on who's talking), who "loves cat treats" as well as "a nice quiet evening at home with her newly captured Mousy," is being evicted from her home of six years, a general store in Homer, Alaska. Blame the one unhappy member of the public who complained about the cat to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

"We did receive a complaint [about the cat]," Jeremy Ayers of the DEC's Food Safety and Sanitation Program, tells the Homer News. An environmental health officer also witnessed the cat, he says, and "if an EHO sees it, they need to take action."

Under the state's food code, live animals, with the exception of service animals, seafood, and pet fish, are largely not allowed in Alaska food establishments.

The general store is owned by Sean Maryott and Diana Carbonell, who took in the cat in 2012 after its original owner, Kady-Lee Hackett, moved to Australia.

Despite concerns that the cat might be a health risk, some frequent customers say that couldn't be further from the truth. "I'm in there every day, and it just seems like if the DEC is concerned about hygienics, having the cat there is a lot more hygienic than not having the cat there, because the cat keeps the rodent population down," Al Breitzman tells the Homer News. Linda Chamberlain notes that state regulations might not always make sense to unique circumstances in less crowded parts of the state.

Some have drawn comparisons to Stubbs, a cat that would often visit both a convenience store and restaurant in Talkeetna, Alaska, where he was elected mayor in 1998. But according to Ayers, allowing Stubbs into those establishments was a violation of state food code as well.

Storm will now live with Maryott's sister, Bridget. Still, as Hackett notes on Facebook, "she doesn't deserve to have to go through this stress or to have to be rehomed at her age." Hackett says she's written to the governor, in hopes that he'll intervene to let the cat stay at the store.

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  1. I don’t know. Does it spray? Spraying cats are the worst.

    1. Obviously they should have the choice to keep the cat. I just don’t know that I’d shop there.

      1. Look, I’m not anti-cat. But they can be disgusting, vile creatures.

        1. Pissed off Eeiquette, shallow be thy name!

        2. All animals can be disgusting, vile creatures. It really depends on the cat.

          1. Not bunnies.

            1. Bunnies are the worst. Both of my daughters had pet ones; what they don’t hump they void on. And chew.

              1. Sort of like Crusty?

                1. You know him better than I do

              2. Also those pellets are disgusting

              3. “Humped by EveryBunny Everywhere” was my nickname in college!

                  1. Note that the acronym for “Humped by EveryBunny Everywhere” is HEBE… By calling us (sarcastically) HEBEs as being non-adults (by implying such), you have just tarred and feathered yourself an anti-HEBE, anti-Semite, racist!!!!

                    Are you PROUD of yer RACISM?!?!?

        3. Henceforth, you shall be known as Cat-hatin’ Fist.

        4. If you people couldn’t tell just by looking at me that I’m a dog person, then that’s on you.

        5. “disgusting, vile creatures”

          As opposed to people? Particulary the narc.

        6. Cats are beautiful. But even if you don’t think so, I expect you’d find the mice and rats who would be living there in the cat’s absence to be more “disgusting, vile creatures” than the cat. I don’t know just what the law here in New York says about it, but it is common for owners of small food stores to keep cats, in order to control the rodent population. And it has been common in places around the world for centuries. Because it works.

        7. LOL. That sound pretty anti-cat to me. How do you describe anything that you are anti of if you use the word “vile” towards something that you are not?

    2. I suspect the store wouldn’t have done so well if there was a spraying cat in the place.

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    1. Would you be willing to adopt the cat?

      1. Foolery’s selling food, so he can’t.

  3. “Under the state’s food code, live animals, with the exception of service animals, seafood, and pet fish, are largely not allowed in Alaska food establishments.”

    OK, call it a service cat and let the paper-pushers tell you it isn’t. No one wants that lawsuit.

    1. Claim that the cat identifies as a gold fish. If the paper pushers say it isn’t, remind them it’s the current year and shame them on social media.

  4. Fucking up life’s simple pleasures is a core function of Big Government.

  5. How about, the people who don’t like shopping in a general store with a pet cat don’t shop in a general store with a pet cat.

    1. I hate these dumb laws. There is no reason why dogs should not be allowed in a restaurant, if the restaurant is ok with it. I understand not allowing animals in the kitchen area, but the dining area has all kinds of filthy humans in it already, so a dog will not make it any less hygienic.

      1. The only problem there is that a lot of people are shitty dog owners and don’t train their dogs properly. But as long as they aren’t shitting inside, that’s not really a health problem, just an asshole problem.

        Of course, it should still be up to the individual business owner.

        1. I lived in Germany for three years, where you are required to have your dog go to training. While I wouldn’t advocate that policy here, their dogs are better behaved than most humans.

    2. In rural Alaska I wager there is nowhere else to go. I also wager they know who made the complaint and that person may now need to travel to another village to shop. That said, I have no idea how large this town is. Can’t be bothered to look it up, I’ve just been to some really sketchy Alaskan towns.

      1. Homer is pretty close to other towns in a relatively densely populated part of the state (for Alaska). They have restaurants and hotels and several stores, if I recall correctly.

        1. So not a town who’s primary transportation is not bush plane or boat, seems about right.

  6. So keeping the varmint population under control is not a service?
    That cat is a service animal, without question.
    In addition, it is a free-range, organic, all natural, dare I say ‘black’, service animal. So many check offs – – – – –

    1. The same people who decry the evils of pesticides demand that cats not be used to control the rodent population. Just how do they think the rodent population can be controlled?

      1. Good ole snap traps.

  7. There is a bar in lower Manhattan called McSorley’s. It claims to be the oldest bar in New York. It is a fabulous place if you ever get a chance to go. Anyway, for decades McSorley’s kept a few cats in its basement that they would turn lose every night after they closed and let them have the run of the place. This solved any rodent problems they may have had. A few years ago the city made them stop that and get rid of the cats because it was supposed to be unhealthy. Sure enough, they got a rat problem and ended up shutting down for a few months because of it. i think they are back open now.

    Cats still are the best form of rat and mouse control there is. Let a couple of good mousers lose in your establishment and you will never have a mouse problem. And rodents are a thousand times more unhealthy than cats. But God fucking forbid any government official anywhere act with any common sense.

    1. I used to live in a really old apartment building, and my apartment was the only one without a rodent problem. I had a cat. Funny how that works.

      It was interesting watching the cat chase mice. I had heard the phrase “cat and mousing” but never really understood it until I saw it for myself. Cats really have a grand old time chasing critters.

      1. They are amazingly patient creatures. Rodents leave a trail of piss wherever they go. This creates a sent line that they then can follow from their dens to any food source they find. So, cats can smell the trail and just set up perfectly motionless and wait. Eventually, the rodent comes by following the trail and the cat has a meal. This is why you can never win a stairing contest with a cat. Their method of hunting involves sitting motionless and waiting for as long as it takes.

        The other think about domestic cats is how they like to play with their food and torture it. Most preditors just grap prey by the neck and that is it. Not a domestic house cat. Once they have something they like to bat it around and get some entertainment out of it.

        1. “The other think about domestic cats is how they like to play with their food and torture it. Most preditors just grap prey by the neck and that is it. Not a domestic house cat. Once they have something they like to bat it around and get some entertainment out of it.
          I attribute this to boredom and the extended state of kittenhood neutered adults experience. My cats tend to smack their prey around, if it’s not particularly lively (mostly bugs in the desert).

        2. Most preditors just grap prey by the neck and that is it. Not a domestic house cat. Once they have something they like to bat it around and get some entertainment out of it.

          You’ve clearly never had the pleasure of watching a dog play catch with itself using a mole or small rabbit.

          1. The dogs I have had have tried to play with things but killed them pretty quickly.

        3. I don’t know if cats are actually playing with food that they catch or are they tenderizing them?

          I wonder if i could get a BIGGGG government grant to study that issue

          1. I think it’s because domestic cats never really figure out that hunting is serious business. If it’s not their main source of nutrition, they don’t figure out that it’s not just a really great cat toy with delicious brains in it.

            1. LOL, the first time my cat caught a mouse and eventually killed it, he sat on the floor next to it poking it with his paw as if to try to restart it. He looked up at me and meowed plaintively as if to say “it’s broke, Daddy fix it”.

    2. Cats still are the best form of rat and mouse control there is.

      No. Engineering and general hygiene are. Don’t leave food lying around and not only do you not get mice, you don’t get a whole host of other diseases that living in a garbage pile normally causes.

      Cats are a sham, they carry diseases just like rodents. They’re just mostly easier to vaccinate. Maybe 1:10 cats are “good mousers” and even the best mouser never opens a pantry door or moves a sack of rice to check in the back of the cupboard.

      1. Bullshit. Most cats are great mousers. I have had cats my entire life and never had a mouse problem in any home I lived in. And rodents will eat damn near anything and will move into a house even if there is no food source. So, being clean helps but it doesn’t solve the problem. And cats being vaccinated means they don’t carry diseases.

        1. I’ve got one cat that’s a terrible mouser. But it isn’t his fault. He’s deaf.

          1. Even the big fat lazy cats have had have been good mousers. As long as there is nothing physically wrong with them, they will hunt out of instinct and for entertainment if nothing else.

            1. Best mouser I ever had was a feral rescue cat. Because at one point in its life that’s how it survived.

              1. Best mouser I ever had was this little tuxedo cat that showed up on my doorstep. She weighed about six poinds and was the sweetest most gregarious cat I have ever seen. Even people who didn’t like cats loved here. But, she was also a cold hearted killer and an absolute terror of a mouser. The worst mousers I have ever seen were big Tom cats. The females have to feed the kittens are are generally great hunters.

                1. Best mouser I’ve seen is the barn cat next door.

            2. My mother had a cat that had been declawed by a previous owner so since he couldn’t catch mice he would bring my mother plumbs

      2. Being a human, you fail to realize how well adapted the cat is to hunting small prey. I’ve regularly observed them detecting and flushing out prey in places I never would have looked or thought to find any.

        1. Being a human, you fail to realize how well adapted the cat is to hunting small prey.

          I’ve trained dogs to hunt birds. I’m familiar with the process.

          On the farm growing up, at one point, we had almost 2 dozen cats. The cats were becoming an attractive nuisance to more dangerous wildlife and we would still, with regularity, discover rats and mice nests behind various feedstacks and grain bins. Mousers aren’t exceptional, but they aren’t the majority and you can suppress their numbers/activity with (over)feeding. I don’t disagree that cats catch mice, but I can’t count the number of people I’ve met who have declawed indoor cats who’ve spent their entire lives 4 stories off the ground and say “I’ve never had rodents and it’s because I own a cat.” No, you’ve just never had rodents and enjoy the company of cats.

          I’ve regularly observed them detecting and flushing out prey in places I never would have looked or thought to find any.

          Which doesn’t preclude what I wrote. I didn’t say that cats can’t or don’t hunt mice. I’m saying cats can and do have the practice, if not the instinct, of hunting domesticated out of them. I’ve seen cats and dogs stalk rodents, rabbits, and birds. I’ve seen the cat or dog win, I’ve seen the cat or dog lose. Your assertion that cats have found mice in places you’d never have thought to look convinces me that you’ve had more mice than you previously suspected, they just got around in the places you *and* the cat never thought to look.

          1. Cool story. You’re still wrong about cats.

      3. Sure, mad. Let’s ignore the several millennia of successful experience with cats as rodent control and trust to … Well, I’m not sure what you plan to trust. If you think “engineering and general hygiene” are going to be sufficient, then clearly you have never lived in a farmhouse or other semi-rural setting.

        Note that it’s a General Store. Leaving food lying around is kind of what they do – keep food around so it’s available to be sold.

        Note also that while cats do carry some diseases, for the most part (and specifically unlike rats) they are diseases that are not transmissible to humans. There’s a reason rats have a reputation as plague carriers but cats do not.

        1. “There’s a reason rats have a reputation as plague carriers but cats do not.”
          Because they don’t make rodent-sized flea collars?

        2. Well, I’m not sure what you plan to trust. If you think “engineering and general hygiene” are going to be sufficient, then clearly you have never lived in a farmhouse or other semi-rural setting.

          Grew up there. Knew that millenia before, we piled grain out in the open and no amount of cats domestic or not could stop the influx of mice. Then we covered it, put it in bins and the rodent problem was relegated to spillage, again regardless of the number of cats domestic or not.

          Note that it’s a General Store. Leaving food lying around is kind of what they do – keep food around so it’s available to be sold.

          My local grocer, butcher, minimart and gas station tends to keep more food around lying out more available with fewer cats *and* rodents. Of course, they tend the food constantly and seal it up at night, something even a general store would to with perishable goods, but lets just pretend the cat is solving all the potential problems associated with leaving food out, shall we?

          There’s a reason rats have a reputation as plague carriers but cats do not.

          Because cats don’t multiply as prolifically and traditionally don’t remain in as close proximity to humans? Or are we going to pretend that it’s because rats have evil spirits and cats are messengers of the Gods?

          1. I don’t know for sure one way or the other, but I’ve read some things suggesting that cats aren’t really all that effective at controlling rodents and their association with humans is mostly because humans are a food source for cats and people like having cats around.

    3. Ah, McSorly’s. If you’re drinking slower than a pint every 20 minutes you’re getting the side-eye. And I think they even started letting women drink there.

      1. It is my favorite bar in the world. I have been to a lot of bars but if I could only go to one, that would be my choice.

    4. Rodent control is precisely the reason cats became domesticated in the first place. It’s their evolutionary purpose.

      As an interesting aside, some anthropologists have suggested that, unlike dogs (which were intentionally domesticated and bred), cats essentially domesticated themselves. Rodents were never a problem until humans began practicing agriculture. Pests then inevitably found their way into ancient granaries. At that point, cats just started moving in on their own-there were plenty of rodents to hunt, and they were protected from the elements. Those early agricultural humans were quite fine with it, since cats are clean and aren’t interested in eating their grain.

      This is probably why some ancient societies, like the Egyptians, came to worship cats, since they seemed to be a blessing from the gods.

      1. Rodent control is precisely the reason cats became domesticated in the first place. It’s their evolutionary purpose.

        As an interesting aside, some anthropologists have suggested that, unlike dogs (which were intentionally domesticated and bred), cats essentially domesticated themselves.

        Self-domestication sounds like the opposite of an evolutionary process.

        1. Slowly adapting to a new environment over generations is … *not* an evolutionary process?

          1. Slowly adapting to a new environment over generations is … *not* an evolutionary process?

            How about we start with you cracking open a 5th grade science textbook and see if you can find out why ‘evolution’ is not a synonym for ‘change over time’.

            1. Pretty sure that the life expectancy of a domesticated cat is much higher than those in the wild.

  8. “I’m in there every day, and it just seems like if the DEC is concerned about hygienics, having the cat there is a lot more hygienic than not having the cat there, because the cat keeps the rodent population down,”

    “Before the cat every bowl of raisin bran had 1-2 rat turds in it, since they got the cat, it’s down to one turd in every other bowl.”

    Thanks for the backhanded support Al.

  9. I only shop in bodegas which house cats.

  10. I’ve had several cats over the years and never had a mouse or rat problem, except for the occasional dead one they bring me. People either love or hate cats, which is why I suspect this store got ratted out. If they had a dog, this would never have happened because everyone is supposed to love dogs and at least where I live, business bend over backwards to accommodate dog owners, letting them bring their furry friends just about everywhere. (For millennials it seems, dogs are their babies)

    1. I really don’t understand why people hate cats. I understand why someone might prefer dogs or not want to own a cat. But, cats are generally useful and peaceful creatures. Unless it is eating your canary, what about a cat is there to hate. I have never understood people who have some strange hatred of cats.

      1. Nor do I, but it exists. Mostly among less educated males, who drive large pickup trucks [like an asshole], and have problems with women.

        1. The biggest car haters I’ve known are women, a lot of them claim it’s because they are allergic.

        1. It is harder to anthropromorphize a cat than it is a dog. But, to me at least that is part of the charm. Cats really are wild animals who just moved in with us out of convienence. I love dogs too but the wild nature of a cat has its charms as well.

          1. I agree. There is also the argument that when a cat shows you affection, it is because the cat chose to do it, rather than the more programmed response of a dog. Also, since cats are more independent and individualistic, they seem to be more akin to libertarians. If the libertarian mascot wasn’t a porcupine humping a pile of money, it could very well be the cat. Plus cats are so much easier to take care of. I personally prefer dogs, but I like cats as well.

            1. There is also the argument that when a cat shows you affection, it is because the cat chose to do it, rather than the more programmed response of a dog.

              Cats don’t show affection. Just manipulation to reinforce their smug sense of entitlement.

              1. Show me on the doll where the bad cat touched you, mad…

          2. Cats don’t automatically love you and slobber all over you the way dogs do. You have to earn their respect. That said, you never hear of anyone being mauled by a cat who the owner claimed “was such a nice kitty”.

            1. That said, you never hear of anyone being mauled by a cat who the owner claimed “was such a nice kitty”.

              Not quite never.

            2. You have to earn their respect.

              No. You earn the respect of an 120 lb. Tibetan Mastiff. A cat you just refuse to be so easily and stupidly manipulated by such an inferior creature.

        2. With cats it’s all in the eyes; if you don’t want you eye scratched out, watch theirs. You’ll know.

      2. I think among male cat haters they are just trying to prove their masculenity and I’ve encountered a few female cat haters but they were clearly dog lovers and their excuse for hating cats is that they destroy the bird population which i call BS since cats have been around just as long as birds

        1. Cats don’t kill birds, wind and solar farms do

      3. I really don’t understand why people hate cats.

        Your cat would shit in its litter box until it was overflowing and, after that, continue to shit in your litter box and walk all over your breakfast table, dishes, silverware, counters, etc. same as any rodent. If you got a dozen of them, they would all do the same as long as there was food available for them.

        I don’t mind a cat or two around the barn lot or roaming around the neighborhood. It’s the fetishism about how no greater hunter or domestic partner has ever or could ever be invented (as they have their claws surgically removed) that bugs me. It’s like the like the people who own horses except most of them are reasonable enough to understand that horses should live outside.

        1. A dog would just shit on your floor. That’s better how exactly?

          1. To add to this, this is an absolutely ridiculous criticism. You can say that about any pet, cats, dogs, birds, fish, hamsters, iguanas, snakes, monkeys, etc etc etfuckingcetera.

            No animals are currently capable of cleaning after themselves even close to humqn standards.

            What a stupid comment.

            1. What a stupid comment.

              Fish, hamsters, and maybe birds will die long before overfilling their containers with shit.

              No animals are currently capable of cleaning after themselves even close to humqn standards.

              That’s not even remotely true. There are still plenty of humans that, to this day, shit in their own drinking water.

              1. I suppose you think that even remotely addressed my point, but you are quite wrong.

      4. People hate cats either because cats don’t worship them or they are overly attached to birds.

      5. I feel the same. I love dogs, and would never own a cat because I find them boring and aloof v. dogs. But they do little harm (unlike dogs).

    2. Yep. One time many years ago we had a mouse problem out of the blue. Not sure how it started but the number of mice quickly escalated and they were all over, pissing and shitting on everything. It was crazy. Nothing we did made it stop. We could trap them several at a time, but it never seemed like enough. Then we found a stray cat out on the street and brought him home. Yes, he was definitely a stray, not someone’s pet, but not ferral. Anyway, the cat was in heaven for about a week while he killed a couple dozen of the fuckers. He would eat the bodies but leave the heads. Anyway, after that we kept him and never saw another mouse after that. We fed him well though to make sure he stayed around. Good kitty.

  11. Please don’t name your pets ‘Storm‘ (or ‘Stormy’ or ‘Darwin‘). It will not end well for them or their siblings.

    1. “Or Stormy:’ unless you want them to grow up to be horse faced.

  12. Blame the one unhappy member of the public who complained about the cat to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

    Dox his ass!

  13. It’s because it’s black, isn’t it??

  14. Is there anything bureaucrats can’t ruin? I’m not going to blame the whiner, as whiner’s gotta whine. But bureaucrats ain’t gotta be pandering to the whine.

  15. Black Cat is my crush forever. MJ is pretty dependable, predictable, reliable, good for going steady, and it’s hard to find a girl like that in NYC, but secretly my heart will always belong to my Felicia. I must assemble the Suder-Mans from all dimensions to find the cruel villain who threatens my amore.

    1. It’s on, pajama-boy. This dark-suited dame is gonna fall for the mack in black – we match like cigarettes and coffee, like steak and eggs. We’re too black-clad peas in a hot, dark, steamy pod.

    2. Whoa. 80 years into the past and we’re just going to the big ol’ Frozen 49th? FYI Alaska 2099 is sponsored by Camping World and you really can see Russia from the summit of Denali where Palin 2099’s fortified spaceport is located.

    3. We all got bit by the radioactive Suderman and now we converge across time and dimensional rifts to avenge this Prime Earth feline.

    4. Oink.

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