Coffee Shop Cat: Slice of Life #sol19 12/31

This is Toddy. He’s a plump, slightly scruffy alley cat who began hanging around behind my favorite coffee shop. The owner took him to the vet and got him neutered, and then one cold day invited Toddy in to warm his toes by the fire. Cats know a good thing when they see it. Warm fire, milk everywhere. Toddy never left.

There’s something very charming about Toddy, even though he’s not the most handsome cat I’ve ever seen. He has some black spots on his ears that might be frostbite. His eyes get a little crusty. His belly sways from side to side as he moves.

Not every cat has the personality to be a good coffee shop cat, but Toddy is exemplary. He offers to greet each person but isn’t offended if they ignore him and move right by. He escorts guests to their table but never entwines himself around their legs as they try to walk. He waits until you ask before he leaps up beside you. The first few times he meets you, he only puts his front paws in your lap. He leans and rubs and purrs as you give him a good head scratch. Just when you’re wondering if you need to rearrange yourself and invite him to stay, he hops down and saunters over to his favorite chair by the fire for a bath and nap. Upon deeper acquaintance, he will climb onto your lap with all four feet for his head scratch and belly rub. He eyes the crumbles of bacon and pillow of cream cheese left on your plate but he never asks to try them. He stays just long enough to make you feel special because a cat has noticed you and blessed you with his presence, then he heads off for his chair.

When the barista comes through the room and finds Toddy standing on me as I sip coffee around him, her face registers horror.

“Is he bothering you? I’ll take him away right now!”

I imagine plenty of people don’t want to have a cat with their coffee, but those are people I can’t quite understand.

“No, this is fine,” I tell her. “This is great.”

I do wonder about the customers with allergies. I think that people who don’t like cats are kind of like kids who don’t like books: they haven’t met the right one yet. Toddy might be just the cat to convert them. But I do recognize that cat allergies are a real, and sometimes even dangerous, thing. To be deprived of the company of cats because of an oversensitive immune system seems like a great life tragedy to me, but somehow all of the people I’ve ever known who are allergic to cats soldier on and even thrive.






27 responses to “Coffee Shop Cat: Slice of Life #sol19 12/31”

  1. Juliana Ellington Avatar
    Juliana Ellington

    He really does sound like the perfect coffee shop cat–so friendly and so polite. I’m so glad he had a warm, safe place to be during this extremely cold winter!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      He has just the right personality–interested but not intrusive. Unlike some cats we know.

  2. Ramona Avatar

    So thrilled to make Toddy’s virtual acquaintance. “He stays just long enough to make you feel special because a cat has noticed you and blessed you with his presence, then he heads off for his chair.” I’ve felt a bit deprived of cat posts recently, but this one fills the void.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I love a good cat slice too! (Or dogs… or any animal, really!)

  3. Shaye Miller Avatar

    Love this! “I think that people who don’t like cats are kind of like kids who don’t like books: they haven’t met the right one yet.“ ❤️

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It’s true! Unless you’re severely allergic, of course. And then I graciously give you a pass!

  4. arjeha Avatar

    Those of us slightly allergic to cats get allergy shots once a month to help. Sounds like Toddy is living the life.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I love that you have cats even though you are slightly allergic! I feel sure that most people who are allergic to cats probably don’t go through life thinking this is a great tragedy, but I just can’t imagine being deprived of cats!

  5. Amanda Potts Avatar

    I love how you talk about cats. I love how each one comes alive in your writing, their personality developing, the details of who they are popping off the page. I continue to try to figure out how to write about my cats, and I marvel at your introductions. There are so many good lines in here. Some have already been mentioned, so I’ll add that I also like, “I imagine plenty of people don’t want to have a cat with their coffee, but those are people I can’t quite understand.” Nice to meet you, Toddy.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Thanks, Amanda! I appreciate these craft notes! I think it’s an interesting challenge to figure out how to write about cats–and how to continue to find new ways to write about them so I’m not just repeating myself! I look forward to seeing more cat posts from you too! Loved your piece that included Miss Tippy!

  6. Lisa Keeler Avatar

    You describe Toddy in such detail I can really imagine him.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      He’s definitely living the life right now!

  7. Natalie Dunne Avatar

    I love this! I would love to get to pet and snuggle with a kitty at a coffee shop! But like you said, my very first thought was people with cat allergies. It’s almost like they need to have a sign on the door that says they have a cat in there.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I wondered about that too–should there be a sign? Maybe they don’t realize that some people can be severely allergic? I wonder the same thing about bookshops with cats.

  8. Sarah J. Donovan, PhD Avatar

    I feel like Todd deserves a full time gig at that coffee shop.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Luckily, one of the baristas who will be graduating in May plans to adopt him! I’m imagining the good life forever for Toddy!

  9. livinglife816287820 Avatar

    Toddy sounds just perfect through his imperfections and just right for a coffee shop! Sounds like he has the best life for a cat and knows how to make the most of it!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Yes, as I was writing my slice, I watched him give himself a very thorough bath by the fire and then settle down for a nap. It did seem like the life!

  10. Terje Avatar

    I like how you describe Toddy as an exemplary coffee shop cat. In Tallinn we have a cat cafe that is so popular that the place started to charge an entrance fee, whether you take your cat with you or come to see other people’s cats or want to pet the cats who live there.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      That place sounds amazing! I need to go right now! I am a little perplexed by cat cafes, just because most of the cats I know don’t have personalities that would be great fits for that. But the ones who are social and outgoing would love it! I also can’t imagine taking any of my cats anywhere! I see these adventure cats on Instagram where they’ve got their little harnesses and they’re out exploring the world. My cats don’t have the right personalities for that at all!

  11. readingteachsu Avatar

    He sounds perfect. I liked to have a little cat visit with my coffee.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I think a little cat visit is always the right thing!

  12. Trina Haase Avatar
    Trina Haase

    This sounds like THE perfect coffee shop for you. So glad sweet Toddy found a home!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Ha, isn’t it? It’s a pet friendly shop, so people often have their dogs there, and that’s nice. But not nearly as nice as a cat!

  13. carwilc Avatar

    Toddy sounds like a lovely fellow! And I agree with Trina! This coffee shop sounds like it was made just for you!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Doesn’t it? Every coffee shop should have a cat! (Every allergic person is saying please no!)

  14. […] Yesterday, I had feline slicing company: Toddy, the coffee shop cat. […]

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