Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

'Makes people feel special': Beloved cat's eviction from Vancouver grocery store sparks petitions

"We got him for business, essentially. He had a job and he's grown into much more."
The door at Top Ten Produce is covered in pro-Mickey pictures and messages.

Mickey is a black and white cat that lived at Top Ten Produce until recently.

Unfortunately for him, the rules around cats in grocery stores are also black and white.

After Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) received a complaint, the West Point Grey grocer had to bid the feline farewell. Luckily, Matthew MacDonald, the store's manager, had space at his home.

However, staff and their neighbours want Mickey to stay at the store, where he fills a variety of roles, from pest control to mascot to therapy cat.

"I try not to watch people when they're interacting with him because some of the interactions are so deep and people are really into him," MacDonald tells Vancouver Is Awesome.

"He makes people feel special."

Kitty history

Mickey arrived at Top Ten a couple of years ago, after a friend-of-a-friend found they couldn't provide a good home for him. 

"We thought we had a better place for him, a better environment," MacDonald says.

At first he was a bit of a scaredy-cat, but the store had lots of nooks for him to shelter in, and he got more comfortable with people. He also took on the job of mouser; when Top Ten faced a rodent issue a couple of years ago, Mickey took it on.

MacDonald says Mickey might have saved the business by dealing with the infestation and continues to scare off rodents to this day.

"We got him for business, essentially," he says. "He had a job and he's grown into much more."

The role Mickey plays is important to the business, MacDonald adds, and "everything else... was just blessings."

The rules

No order has been given, but VCH has done an educational visit.

"The operation of food premises in B.C. is a regulated activity under the Public Health Act and an operator must not permit live animals to be on the premises. There are exceptions for service dogs and live fish in an aquarium," a VCH spokesperson tells V.I.A.

They note the "use of live animals is also not a recognized component of an integrated pest management program for controlling pests in food premises."

Community response

MacDonald hopes a change can be made, and there's support in the community.

"People can't find a reason why not to have [Mickey] is pretty much the sense of it," he says.

MacDonald says he's busy managing the shop and hasn't had time to run a campaign to support the cat. But the community has taken it on. There's an online petition, social media posts and a physical petition at the store.

Is MacDonald surprised by the response?

"Not really, just because I see how much people love him and how much they like our store. They want us to be here," he says, noting that without Mickey, the store might not be there.

"There's no other stores around here. We do play a kinda important role," he adds. "[We have] a responsibility to the neighbourhood and he's actually part of that."

So far, around 3,000 people have signed the online petition. When discussions with VCH continue, MacDonald says he'll ask how to move forward.

However, he's worried that while other shop animals fly under the radar, Mickey's newfound fame may be to his detriment.

"I'd like Mickey to stay here, but I'm scared. I feel this publicity means he cannot stay here."


A post shared by Mickey (@mickeytopten)