New Jersey resident Cheryl Sibley is suing McSorley’s Old Ale House, a 156-year-old Manhattan pub, claiming that she was attacked by the establishment’s pet cat.
Sibley alleges that in October 2009, she suffered a vicious attack at the hands of bar cat Minnie the Second which left her with “serious injuries” requiring medical care, according to papers filed last week in Manhattan Supreme Court.
In her complaint, Sibley did not say exactly what happened during the incident or the extent of her injuries.
Matthew Maher, the owner of McSorley’s, says he is surprised by Sibley’s allegations.
“I have no recollection of any attack,” he said. “If I would have known, I would have been the first to call her and say ‘Are you OK? Can I do anything for you?’ “
In August, the pub was fined $1,000 when a health inspector said he found a cat walking on the bar. Since then, Maher has tried to comply with city laws forbidding animals in restaurants or bars during operating hours by keeping Minnie in another part of the building when the establishment is open for business.
“[Sibley] must have been here after hours,” he said.
The East Village pub has had many famous visitors in its 156-year life including Harry Houdini, Woody Guthrie, Babe Ruth and many presidents. It has an equally long history of keeping pet cats: for more than 100 years, felines have had a home at the establishment.
In fact, the cats’ presence at the bar is so well known that in 1928, artist John Sloan made a painting called “McSorley’s Cats.”
When contacted by a New York Post reporter, Sibley and her attorney declined to comment.
Maher isn’t sure when Minnie the Second, generally known as an easygoing and good-natured cat, came to McSorley’s. But he says he will stand by her.
“There have always been cats at McSorley’s, and there always will,” Maher said.