Sound and fur: the bookstore cat is a story in itself


BY BEN TOGUT | Before Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books moved from Carmine Street in June, one of its biggest attractions was a 2-year-old cat named Alex. After being picked up by Unoppressive owner Jim Drougas, Alex’s lively personality quickly became a major selling point for the bookstore.

According to Drugas, Alex often lolled outside the store and tried to attract potential customers with his charm alone.

“She was giving people on the sidewalk a look like, ‘Aren’t you going in? You’re not going to buy anything?’ ยป

Enchanted by his presence, people often followed Alex around the place and shopped accordingly.

Drugas started putting up fun signs around the store to help with the Alex mystique and attract future customers.

“I put up a sign that said, ‘Alex will be giving psychic readings,’ Drougas told the Village Sun. “Some people took it seriously and asked, ‘Wait, how can a cat do that? you are a republican, she will attack you.

Alex attracted customers like a magnet, but sometimes it was difficult to get her back inside the store at closing time. (Photo by Stacy Kim)

Despite Alex’s magnetic personality, his antics could be a downside for Drougas.

“Sometimes Alex wouldn’t stay in the store overnight and would try to hide from me when I was closing,” the shopkeeper explained. “I should wait an hour and come back before she agrees to come in.” Other times, people who lived near the bookstore would call me at 3 a.m. and tell me they had seen her outside the store and that I was driving to pick her up.

Alex’s independence was about Drugas. During the day, she often wandered to the Downing Street playground near the bookstore and Drugas worried about her safety.

“I thought a kid on the playground might see her and think, ‘Look, a cat! Let’s take her home! But, of course, she never let that happen.

In June, after a rent hike forced Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books to move, Alex moved a bit downtown, where she is staying with friends from Drougas. However, despite Alex’s departure from the bookstore, it is hoped that she will return in all her feline glory. Drugas said the owner of Temperance, a wine bar that now houses Unoppressive’s “summer pop-up,” is open to Alex’s presence in the space.

“Maybe,” Drugas hinted, “she’ll be back for events.”