I chuckle as I stand outdoors the doorway of Chop Suey Books, the place a intelligent signal above the door that clarifies the sale of “Used Books, Not Used Eggrolls” exhibits a cartoon tuxedo kitty and the phrases “Home of the Caturday Miracle.”

Then, after I stroll into the store within the Carytown neighborhood of Richmond, Virginia, I discover WonTon — the indie bookstore’s resident tuxedo cat — standing proper behind the entrance door, peering at me curiously. I sneak in just a few petting strokes, then comply with him to a staircase, the place he awaits with a thumping tail and leads me upstairs.

WonTon — a becoming title for a kitty at a bookstore named after Chinese meals — has been residing on the retailer, which is on its second location, for many of his roughly 14-year life. He has develop into a success for purchasers at Chop Suey Books, which in 2019 MentalFloss.com named the most effective bookstore in Virginia resulting from its broad number of new and used books on many topics.

©Andrew Blossom

WonTon might be noticed patrolling among the many books both upstairs or downstairs or exploring ebook containers. For certain, WonTon — who lives and sleeps upstairs — attracts enterprise to Chop Suey Books, says proprietor Ward Tefft, who calls the cat his buddy. People both walked by the shop and noticed the cat lounging behind a window or the glass door, or they heard about him on social media.

“I think the people like WonTon better than they like the store,” Ward jokes. “We have people who are not customers who come here looking for him.”

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WonTon has gathered many followers in repeat customers.

“I love him so much,” says common buyer Maya Gilliam, 18, of Richmond, as she browses books. “I think … having a bookstore cat is so cute. He likes to make his rounds.”

WonTon could get pleasure from greeting the shop’s clients, however he’s not a love bug and is usually a bit aloof. He would possibly allow you to sneak in just a few pets, however he received’t be loving on guests an excessive amount of. WonTon will simply maintain them firm and amuse them together with his cuteness and curiosity. “He likes being social, but he doesn’t like going too far beyond that,” Ward says.

A younger WonTon found his future house whereas residing with a lady subsequent door to the shop at its outdated location. One day, he began leaping into the shop by a window, and Ward thought he was a stray. The tuxedo kitty appeared to make himself at house, and the workers began taking good care of him.

Then, the lady who owned the kitty mentioned, “Why don’t you just keep him?” It was meant to be.

“He knew he belonged here,” Ward says. “He’s been here so long I can’t even think of (the store) without him. Chop Suey Books has something different with the cat energy.”

You can purchase T-shirts with a print of a cartoon tuxedo cat, impressed by WonTon. The feline additionally impressed the “Saturday Caturday” label, though the shop doesn’t do an precise cat-themed occasion on Saturdays. Learn extra at chopsueybooks.com.


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