Yesterday we mentioned that Minnie, the McSorley’s cat facing a lawsuit from a woman who claims she was “seriously injured” by the mid-sized feline, has a Facebook page. Curious to hear Minnie’s perspective on her legal drama, we got in touch, and she took some time from her busy life to answer a few questions by e-mail. Seems like this two-and-a-half-year-old domestic shorthair (who’s only on her second life!) would be pretty awesome to grab a few pints with. Herewith, our EXCLUSIVE Q&A with Minnie the McSorley’s cat.
Minnie notes: Transcribed, as always, from my dictation. I do not type well with paws but all answers are in the first purrson.
Minnie, what’s your favorite beverage? How about your favorite food?
The only beverage choices at McSorley’s are light and dark ale. Of course all cats love the dark; we can see in it.
Bar cats aren’t finicky. I enjoy the cheese from the cheese platter, pieces of burger, liverwurst, whatever — although I know, I know, cats shouldn’t eat table food. (And woe to any mouse that tries to get into the kitchen.)
How do you spend your days? Any hobbies?
Is being cute a hobby? In the morning, I have to chase down Pepe to feed me. Sometimes he’s trying to spread the sawdust on the floor so I have to weave in and out of his legs to trip him so he stops. When Old Bill McSorley was here, he’d drop everything he was doing — no matter how many thirsty hoomans were waiting to be served — and feed his 18 cats (sometimes as many as 18). It should still be that way today. Things aren’t supposed to change here.
I spend my days searching out sunbeams in the saloon and avoiding the health inspector. Also, legend has it that when a cat is in the front windows of McSorley’s, it means Houdini’s ghost is visiting. So if I see Houdini’s ghost, I have to get my butt up there. He’s a pretty cool ghost, and we have a lot of them at McSorley’s.
I spend my nights keeping my tail out from under stumbling, drunken feet. Of course all hooman feet tend to seem uncoordinated compared to ours. Being without tails, you find it hard to balance. Poor critters.
What was your major at NYU? Why NYU and not Columbia?
NYU is a lot closer. While our patron Theodore Roosevelt used to walk from his house on 57th Street up to Columbia, do you have any idea how far that is for a cat? Obviously I majored in…history.
How did you end up at McSorley’s?
Cats go where we’re needed. Ever since the neighborhood was called Mackerelville (a name to draw cats if there ever was one), we’ve had a local chapter of the International Brotherhood of Cats Union. It’s the kind of thing you used to see Sylvester go to in the old Looney Tunes shorts. We meet in Tompkins Square Park periodically to discuss what hoomans need cats and which one to assign.
I drew McSorley’s because of my gentle personality, social skills, and the aforementioned history degree. It’s not an easy job. I had to learn everything any cat ever heard or saw of interest in the saloon. Talk about a crash course. Some days I barely got 15 hours of sleep.
How do you feel about the “upgrades” and gentrification of the Bowery?
Sometimes I dream I am a 10-story high cat. I walk to the corner, find Cooper Square is a litter box, and cover up the new Cooper Union academic building like the butt Tootsie Roll it is. By the way, I’m not saying I’m the source of the hairballs found vomited up under it every couple days — and I’m not NOT saying it either. I have enough legal troubles as it is.
What’s your favorite blog?
LOLCats, although I know many of my friends find it offensive ’cause it perpetuates the stereotype that cats can’t spell. To them I say, “Lightnz up had haz uself cheezburger.”
Are you single? Would you call yourself an extrovert or more of a loner?
My Facebook status says, “In a relationship but it’s complicated.” Bob Barker is right about spaying and neutering, but it plays hell with your sex life, Jen. [Transcriber: Here Minnie broke down in peals of feline laughter.] Cats are all loners, and we’re always fighting, but there’s never a shortage of kittens. Figure that out.
Tell us your side of the story about the woman suing you.
I want to say one thing to New Yorkers. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again. I did not have relations with that woman, Miss Cheryl Sibley. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time — never. These allegations are false. And I need to go back to work for the people of McSorley’s.
If you could be anything besides a cat, what would you be?
Winston Churchill said, “A cat will look down to a man. A dog will look up to a man. But a pig will look you straight in the eye as an equal.” That is to say I wouldn’t take a demotion into another species. I guess I could choose to be a larger cat, say an ocelot, but if Bloomberg won’t let a house cat into McSorley’s, can you imagine the fit they’d pitch over a wild one?
By the way, have you seen that line etched in the window, Mr. Mayor? It says, “We were here before you were born.” That’s a message from 30 generations of McSorley’s cats — and we’ll be here after you’re gone, too.
Do you have a Twitter? Will you get one?
I’m a cat. We EAT things that tweet.
ADDENDUM from the editor: E.V. Grieve ALSO has a Minnie exclusive up today, which leads us to believe that Minnie may have been getting around. This interview was requested and conducted completely separately from that one, although, full credit, E.V. DID find her Facebook page first. But props to Minnie for working it. We see good things for her in the future, and since the birth of the tabloid, when has “exclusive” ever meant much, anyway?
Regarding the matter of “exclusivity,” Minnie has gotten in touch to explain:
I am sorry there was confusion. Neither of you asked for an exclusive and I was purrprised to see it posted in both places as such. I know your tongue is planted firmly in cheek, but sometimes all a cat has is her reputation. The press has been very kind so far, and I don’t want anyone to think I mislead them. Meows, Minnie
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 9, 2010