NYC Fines for Rat-Hunting Cats

Inspectors charge $300 and up for feline guardians
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2007 2:32 PM CST

(Newser) – New York food shops and delis have a way to deal with rats, but health inspectors aren’t purring: Many NYC stores have a cat around to keep out rodents, the New York Times reports. Unfortunately, health inspectors frown on cats and rats with equal fervor. “Any animal around food presents a contamination threat,” one rodentologist explained.

If inspectors find a cat, fines start at $300—the same penalty rodent feces incur. But shop owners tend to fear rodents more, and prefer cats to exterminators. “[The inspector] wants me to get rid of the cat, but the rats will take over if I do,” one grocer lamented. “I need the cat, and the cat needs a home.”