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Can I Bring My Cat to the Bar? An Open Letter

Dogs are common in bars these days. Why not cats? After all, they are the better behaved species.

Phillip Mlynar  |  Jun 19th 2013

Dear Proprietor,

Greetings! First of all, allow me to congratulate you on your fine drinking establishment. Without doubt, it is one of the five best new faux-divey bars in the area. The thrift store furniture is a unique touch. As I find myself frequenting your watering hole often, I feel qualified to write to you with this mutually beneficial proposition: Can I bring my cat to the bar?

Now, I know that as a bar serving a gentrified clientele you are beholden to open your doors to the twin lifestyle accessories of dogs and babies. But have you considered the cat? I have. And I can think of many advantages to allowing cats in your tavern based on their behavior and facts about their species. I will now list them in the order that I can best remember.

1. Cats are clean creatures

During my many years of research sitting on a barstool I have witnessed — and allow me to indulge in a false range for the sake of setting up my main point — everything from small yapping terriers depositing their poop onto the wooden floor of a bar to hulking Great Danes squatting in a corner and letting a leaky trail of liquid seep out from their nether regions. Cats do not do this. Cats are naturally clean creatures — and certainly more hygienic than the mainstay of your happy hour crowd. Set up a small litter box in the corner — possibly next to the jukebox that has since been unceremoniously usurped by iPhones playing non-premium Pandora accounts — and watch how it preserves your vintage wooden floor. Also, they make mechanical, self-cleaning litter boxes these days. Consider the possibilities.

2. Cats are the world’s most efficient predators of undesirable rodents and bugs

These are things you do not want in your bar. Put a cat in your bar and you’re basically employing an in-house, environmentally friendly extermination service. Also, I can name at least two cats who would have a mighty hearty go at curbing your fruit fly problem. Their names are Gertrude and Jennifer. References upon request.

3. Cats are proven to have a naturally soothing effect on humans

There are many studies that present this as irrefutable scientific evidence. Many of these studies are even funded by some of the world’s most prestigious cat food manufacturers. Dogs, on the other hand, yap and bark and yelp and strain at their leashes and create an atmosphere of boisterous hostility, which can only result in a cold-blooded bar brawl. Think how this affects your patrons’ enjoyment of the aforesaid non-premium Pandora music station! Why, it’s nothing less than aural and environmental pollution. You’re after a certain ambiance, remember? Cats would sooth your customers. Think of them as pleasing little fur balls whose natural adorableness will magically calm down a customer who’s fast approaching the hazy danger of “the whiskey zone.” With cats on board, violence will not ensue.

4. You would have fewer sleazeballs in your bar if you switched your open-dog policy to an open-cat one

At any time in your establishment there will be a guy — and it is always a guy — who is sitting at the bar looking lonesome while a small-sized dog is perched on a barstool next to him or on his lap. Sometimes there will also be a rocks glass filled with a dash of beer, ostensibly for the dog (although I have my doubts about these thrifty types). Dachshunds are a popular choice for this type of character. This is concerning: These dogs live an abused life. They are there to merely attract girls.

My experience lets me know this as another irrefutable fact: I remember once sitting at the (almost empty) bar and striking up idle conversation with a young gentleman who had a Beagle with him. Being something of an amateur expert zoologist myself, I remarked to him how Beagles were widely considered to be the cats of the dog world. It’s a fine conversation starter.

He told me in stern tones and with a furrowed-mustache to stop talking to him. My fascinating conversation, he explained, would stop girls approaching him to talk to the dog. I quickly realized the dog was but a prop. Horrified, I left him alone. Answer me this: Do you want to be the sort of bar owner who promotes dogs as sexual accouterments? I would hope not. Cats, however, are way too smart to let this ruse take place. You do not stage-manage a cat — a cat stage-manages you.

At this point I am sure that you are already putting the mechanisms in place to allow cats into your bar. Good decision. But let me end with an encouraging anecdote. Another bar I frequent (this one has walls adorned with many vintage metal signs) has already taken pioneering steps to welcome cats into its family. Every Friday, a well-mannered gentleman comes to the bar with his cat and enjoys a couple of leisurely microbrews before heading out of town for the weekend. Not once have I seen this particular cat pester another patron, incessantly beg for food, create excessive noise or foul the floor. Admittedly, the cat remains in a cat carrier the entire time. But I like to think of it as an endorsement as to the upstanding character of the cat’s owner. This could be your bar. The dream is possible.

In closing, thank you for considering the salient points I have made in my correspondence. I look forward to bringing my cat to your bar. Her name is Mimosa. Feel free to name a drink special after her.

Yours sincerely,


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