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Store Sidekicks: Spoonbill & Sugartown's Ultimate Bookstore Cats

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This is Store Sidekicks, a new Friday feature where we profile the fuzzy wuzzy creatures that inhabit shops across the city. If you'd like to nominate your favorite store animal, drop us a line at

Bookstores are supposed to have cats, especially used bookstores, and the cats of Williamsburg's Spoonbill and Sugartown are everything bookstore cats should be: Self-possessed, unflappable, and devoted to sitting on stacks of fiction.

If you've wandered into the store, which anchors the Bedford Avenue Mall between North 5th and North 6th Streets, you've probably seen Hayes, the bigger of the two, lounging on a stack of books or wedged into one of the small chairs in the children's section. His colleague Rainer is less outgoing (we had to coax him out from under a table for a photo) but ultimately friendlier. Hayes has been known to swat, whereas Rainer has a habit of settling into customer's laps and purring.

Both Rainer and Hayes were rescue cats, adopted by the bookstore shortly after it opened in 1999, meaning they've lived in the neighborhood for longer than most of Spoonbill's shoppers. For cats, ten isn't young, and Rainer's age is starting to show. Six months ago he lost a leg to cancer, but he's bounced back with impressive speed. The Spoonbill staff says he still dashes around the bookstore, and that he's got a doppleganger at Alabaster Books on 4th Avenue and 12th Street, which also has a three-legged cat.
· Store Sidekicks: The Bulldogs of Malin + Goetz [Racked]
· Spoonbill & Sugartown [Official Site]