Everyone loves a bodega cat. The fabric of the modern world would surely fray were it not for those fine felines who spend their days patrolling the aisles of corner bodegas, dutifully guarding over valuable packets of Lay’s chips and cases of Heineken beer.
This is especially so in New York City, where the local NPR-affiliate, WNYC, is running an Instagram-propelled competition to find the city’s champion bodega cat.
The jaunt will take the form of an NCAA basketball March Madness-style bracket, and at the moment residents are being asked to tag pictures of their local cat with the hashtag #bodegacatbracket. After March 26, the most impressive candidates will be whittled down to a last 16, who will then compete head to head in the first annual bodega cat tournament. (The winner will be declared by a citywide vote.)
While the competition has only just opened, the standard already seems exceptionally high. Here’s a selection of some of the early favorites, starting with this financially prudent feline who likes to take a cut of all exorbitant ATM machine fees.
I’m unsure whether tag-teams are allowed to enter the bodega cat showdown, but these two kittens are counting on cuteness to see them through.
This Clinton Hill cat steadfastly refutes the idea that print media no longer has a useful function.
Trust me, the least hygienic thing about this picture is the Coney Island cat.
This must be the equivalent of white-collar crime for a bodega cat, right?
This brave chap is supping water that might be harbored from the nearby toxic Gowanus canal.
This tuxedo cat knows that placement is key when it comes to point-of-sale purchases.
Check out more bodega cat entrants and read up on the competition rules over at the WNYC website.
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About Phillip Mlynar: The self-appointed world’s foremost expert on rappers’ cats. When not penning posts on rap music, he can be found building DIY cat towers for his adopted domestic shorthair, Mimosa, and collecting Le Creuset cookware (in red). He has also invented cat sushi, but it’s not quite what you think it is.