Have you ever been to a library and seen a cat lounging in the stacks, on the book return cart, or maybe warming itself on a computer tower? You may think it’s unusual, but actually it’s quite a common thing the world over. According to the Open Education Database (OEDB), over 300 cats live in libraries all over the world, with over 200 of them in the United States. (oedb.org) There is even a “Library Cat Map,” that shows where all these cats are. Granted, not all of these are living domestic cats; the creator of the map includes virtual library cats, 2 stuffed lions, a stuffed Siberian tiger, a stuffed cheetah and a ghost cat among the 236 in the United States and four statute cats in the United Kingdom.
Still, even if you subtract those from the list of actual cats, it’s still a big number. And why are there all these cats in libraries? According to OEDB, “Library cats have been welcomed as rodent-killers since the early 19th century in Europe and even dating back to ancient times in Egypt in the libraries of temples.”
Meet A Few of These Library Cats
#1 – Elsie
Elsie is the library cat at the St. Helena Public Library in St. Helena, California. She is a rescue cat that was adopted by the library to help with their mouse problem! According to her Facebook page, her other duties include:
Greet staff in the morning and give night report, investigate file drawers, help unpack boxes, management by walking around, direct staff in maintaining my celebrity lifestyle
#2 – Dewey
Dewey – full name Dewey Readmore Books – is a special library cat from Spencer, Iowa. He was actually stuffed into the return slot of the library when he was just a kitten, on the coldest night of the year. His story captured not just his town, but the whole world. You can read about it in his book, Dewey: the Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched The World.
#3 – Stacks
Another rescue cat adopted to rid a library of mice, Stacks has done her job at the Litchfield Public Library (Litchfield, Illinois) and now patrols the library helping patrons pick out a book. She has been on the cover of magazines and even has her own merchandise at the library which benefits Benld’s Adopt-a-Pet rescue, where she was adopted from in 2009.
#4 – Pages
Pages is the resident kitty blogger at Valley Center Public Library in Kansas. Her blog “Posts From The Paw,” keep residents informed of events going on at the library and she even posts on Instagram.
#5 – Trixie
Trixie was dropped off outside of the library that she now calls home – the Independence Public Library (Independence, Kansas). She has her own Facebook page as well and her likeness is even used as the library’s logo.
#6 – Emma
Emma is a Main Coone that was adopted from a local animal shelter by the Lyme Public Library in Connecticut. Again, for rodent control. She then became “library royalty” and was dubbed “Queen Emma.” She passed away in 2014 and the library sent out a heartfelt tribute on Emma’s Twitter feed and their Facebook page.
#7 – Whispurr Nap
Whispurr Nap is the resident at the Bradford Public Library (Bradford, Pennsylvania). Her job is to help get the word out about events at the library. She does with the help of her own Facebook page.
#8 – Library Cat
This kitty just showed up one day at The University of Edinburgh Central Library in Scotland and stayed. The students and staff welcomed him, and he has been a part of their lives ever since. He even has a Facebook page like many of the cats on this list.
#9 – Miko
Miko is the library cat for the Texas A&M University libraries. Her main place of residence is the Medical Science Library, where they use her for pest control. She has become the “mascot” of the libraries, and they even use her in advertising.
#10 – Kuyza
Kuyza is perhaps the most interesting kitty on this list because he has papers giving him the right to live in a library! One day, he walked into a library in Novorossiysk, Russia and buttered up all the people in it – purring and rubbing against them as only a cat charmer can. The people who ran the library gave him food and drink, and then took the steps to get him a cat passport, which allowed him to stay in the public space. Read his full story here and watch a video of him at work here.