How a little calico cat left a shelter to become a bookstore cat

Calico feline adopted from Best Friends' NKLA Pet Adoption Center becomes a bookstore cat at Small World Books in Venice, California.
By Nicole Hamilton

Franny the cat is living a book lover’s dream. That’s because every night, when they turn off the lights at Small World Books in Venice, California, Franny gets to stay. The bookstore is her permanent address, and a perfect place for a cat who, in equal measure, loves both people and quiet time. There, she can mingle with customers, and then curl up with a good book — or stacks of them.

A home for Franny

Franny lost her home and ended up at a Los Angeles Animal Services shelter, and from there she made her way to Best Friends’ NKLA Pet Adoption Center. The center is part of Best Friends’ work to make L.A. a no-kill city, and it houses pets from organizations that are members of the No-Kill Los Angeles Coalition, with the goal of helping as many pets as possible find homes.

How we’re working to make Los Angeles a no-kill city

Franny wasn’t overly gregarious or flashy when she met potential adopters, but rather, gentle and kind. She’d hold out her paw to people as they came by to pet her. Just a week after she arrived, she met a woman who came in looking for a cat for her mom’s bookstore. She met a few cats that day, but fell in love with Franny’s beauty and sweetness.

The next day, she returned to the adoption center with her mom, Mary, and as soon they walked into the room where she was, Franny walked up to them as if she had been waiting for them all along.

That’s when Mary knew this beautiful little cat would be a perfect addition to the bookstore. Most of the previous cats calling the bookstore home were named after characters in J.D. Salinger stories, and so they decided that their newest kitty would be named Franny.

A cat working the nightshift

Franny’s predecessor, Conan the Librarian (and the only cat not named after a Salinger character), is now retired from his job at the bookstore and living in a home. But he enjoyed all the attention at the store, and customers loved his larger-than-life personality.

Franny, on the other hand, is more demure and it’s taken her a little more time to get adjusted to her new life. But following Conan, she had big shoes to fill. And besides, the life of a bookstore cat is filled with photo ops and meet and greets that take some getting used to.

Today, Franny’s popularity often equals the store’s latest bestseller, and visitors love snapping photos of her as she naps or roams the aisles. “Everyone loves Franny,” says Mary. “Just check out our Facebook page and see all the photos and things people say about her.”

When she needs a break from the attention, Franny likes to lounge behind the counter while her human coworkers work the register. And when they close up shop, Franny’s second job begins.

“Mice love books,” says Mary, who always has a cat in the store to help keep them away. And so far, Franny has done a great job deterring rodents. They’re just not the kind of book lover Mary wants around.

A cat’s Shangri-La

These days you can find Franny relaxing on a chair at the bookstore. And while she’s still occasionally a little timid around customers, Mary says she’s settling in just fine. All Franny needed was a little time and patience. “We’re enjoying watching her personality unfold,” she says.

It seems the bookstore is the perfect place for Franny, whose personality is more bookworm than life of the party. But because she also loves people, she can find a friend fast when she’s ready to mingle. Then, when she’s ready for a good nap, she can always find a quiet place to rest. For this sweet cat, it’s really the best of both worlds.

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Photos courtesy of Small World Books

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