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10 Excellent Bookstore Cats

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Not all bookstores have cats: the big chains don't have cats, and some mom and pop stores keep their cats at home, so if you are allergic to cats, you can still find a place to browse for reading material. But you'll find resident cats in many independent bookstores because they are nice to curl up with (just like a good book), they don't eat the merchandise, and they protect the premises from rodents who will eat the merchandise. Let's be honest, though - this list has more than ten cats. What it is is a list of ten bookstores that have cats.

1. Ralph

Mudsock Books & Curiosity Shoppe in Fishers, Indiana sells books, games, and children's toys. The resident cat Ralph is another draw, as he has quite a few fans. And he doesn't mind posing for a picture. Photograph by Flickr user Phil Jern.

2. Mojo, Molly, and Cupcake

Awesome Books in Pittsburgh has several cats. Pictured here are Cupcake Slim and Mojo. Mojo is the ginger cat; I know because there are other pictures of Mojo with his lion haircut. The third store cat is named Molly.

3. Parit

Pegasus Books in Berkeley, California, is proud of all the pets that belong to their staff, but Parit lives at the downtown store. This photograph was taken by an avid Parit fan who is also a blogger.

4. Sam and Trouble

The Other Change of Hobbit is a science fiction and fantasy bookstore in Berkeley. They have two cats, Sam and Trouble. Sam is the more outgoing of the two, and will jump on the shoulders of customers if given a chance.

5. Ginger

Orinda Books in Orinda, California features their bookstore cat right on the website's home page. They welcome you to come in and pet Ginger, who is accustomed to customers. Here you see her drawing attention to a table of books for sale. Photograph by Karen Lile.

6. Spike

Left Bank Books in St. Louis is home to Spike. Spike has his own page at the store's website, with an interview and some of his literary recommendations.

7. Hawaiian Bookstore Cats

Ed and Cat - Talk Story Bookstore

Talk Story Bookstore in Hanapepe, Hawaii is the sole bookstore on the island of Kauai and the westernmost bookstore in the United States. Owners Ed and Cynthia Justus are credited with revitalizing the small town of Hanapepe, and have a restoration project going for other downtown buildings. Talk Story Bookstore has three cats, whose names are not recorded online. Here you see owner Ed Justus with one of the cats. Photograph by Flickr user brewbooks.

8. AlleyCat

The American Book Center in Amsterdam has an auxiliary clubhouse nearby call the ABC Treehouse. AlleyCat lives there, and has her own Facebook page, where her activities and interests are both listed as "eating." Photograph by Harald Seiwert.

9. Dante Kot

Then there is Dante, who is quite the celebrity in Poland. Dante lives at a secondhand bookstore in Wroclaw. My Polish is rusty, and Babelfish translates "secondhand books" into "scientific antiques," so I haven't found much about the bookstore itself, but Dante has his own blog, and his own Facebook page, where he interacts with fans and other internet cats -in Polish.

10. Heterochromatic Cat

Love Her -Eyes- 4 of 4 -Bangalore-najeebkhan@hotmail.com

There's not much information available, but I couldn't resist this picture of a colorful white cat who lives in a bookstore in Bangalore, India. Her name is not recorded, but aren't those eyes something else? Photograph by Flickr user najeebkhan2009.

This list was inspired by a post at Metafilter which linked all five previous mental_floss Bookstore Cat posts, and where I found comments leading me to several of today's entries.

If your favorite bookstore cat isn't listed here, it may be found in one of the previous posts, 12 Bookstore Cats, 8 Bookstore Cats, Our Readers’ Favorite Bookstore Cats (Volume One), Our Readers’ Favorite Bookstore Cats (Volume Two), or Our Readers’ Favorite Bookstore Cats (Volume Three).

See also: 8 Library Cats

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Animals
Why Your Cat Can't Roar, But Jungle Cats Can
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Your kitty may have the swagger of a mighty jungle cat, but it’s hard to take the tough cat act seriously once it opens its mouth. Unlike their roaring relatives, domestic cats have a high-pitched, mewling cry. However, they do purr—a trait that isn’t shared with lions, tigers, leopards, or jaguars, the four species of cats with loud, growling vocalizations.

In the video below, SciShow’s Hank Green explains the science behind why your beloved ball of fur can’t roar—and how it’s linked to their ferocious cousins' lack of purring ability.

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats Love to Knead?
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If you're a cat lover, chances are your favorite feline has shown a penchant for kneading, and at some point has given you and/or a favorite piece of furniture a massage with his or her rhythmic paws. Colloquially called “making biscuits,” kneading is a common behavior among kittens and adult cats alike—but animal experts still aren't sure exactly why they do it.

Scientists have a few theories, some of which SciShow’s Hank Green outlined in this fascinating video. One theory is that your cat's kneading is an attempt to mark its territory—yes, even if that “territory” is you—with the scent glands in its paws. Another rationale is that kneading is a neotenic behavior, or a juvenile trait that sticks with cats into adulthood. Kittens knead their mother's belly to stimulate milk production—an act that’s nearly identical to that strange, Shiatsu-like practice it’s doing in your lap. (This could also explain why some adult cats also "suckle" the items they're kneading.)

Green does point out that domestic cats knead, whereas wild cats don’t, which raises the question: Why have only domestic felines retained this behavior? Green attributes this to the fact that house cats were selected over thousands of years for their friendlier, less aggressive traits, but says they've "probably also held on to some of their more social, baby-like behavior, just because it serves them well when they’re around people."

"I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but wildcats are not super social," Green jokes. "They don’t come up and cuddle, so much as try to eat your flesh. Felis silvestris, the ancestor of all domestic cats, is a solitary hunter that only socializes with members of its own species when it’s time to breed. So wildcats only developed social behaviors for two situations”—mating and caretaking behaviors between mother cats and their kittens.

“Unlike wild cats though, domesticated cats have a lot of social behaviors as adults, because they’re not wild loners anymore," Green adds. "They have us to cuddle with, con treats out of, and demand food from. So their innate tendencies for snuggling with mom and hitting on the lady cats are put to good use on us."

While occasionally painful or bothersome, kneading one’s owner is definitely a loving act on the part of the cat, a way of letting you know that it feels comfortable and safe with you. That said, don't sweat it if your cat isn’t big on the habit—or, conversely, worry that it kneads too much.

“Some cats are more needy and knead more than others,” Dr. Michael W. Fox, a veterinarian and author of the syndicated newspaper column "Animal Doctor,” advised one anxious reader who reported that her kitty had taken to kneading the family dog. “This behavior is exacerbated when a cat is weaned from its mother too soon. It’s an anxious cat’s way of seeking contact comfort.”

If you’re not a fan of kneading, it's futile to train your cat to cease a perfectly natural behavior. Instead, consider investing in a pair of nail clippers—and when you’ve finally had enough, gently push the cat away and enjoy the fleeting freedom of an empty lap.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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