Manhattan —

Many New York bodegas, including SK Deli in the East Village, keep cats to keep rodents away.

But Yelp user Diana D. wasn’t happy about seeing Star the cat at SK last week. “Besides having allergies,” she wrote, “I wonder what the health code say [sic.] about this?”

The reaction on Twitter was fast and furious, with one user calling her a “miserable person” for complaining.

Still, state law prohibits cats in delis and owners can be fined $400 for keeping the pets. Professor Andrew Goodman of the New York University College of Public Health says the law is rooted in common sense – and safety.

“For example, if there was a cat there, and the cat’s in the litter box and it was walking in the litter box and then jumps up on the counter where somebody’s making a sandwich… would that be something of concern?” Goodman said.

But SK employees called Star part of the family, and most patrons didn’t seem bothered by the feline’s presence.
“As long as the deli owners, the bodega owners provide a place for the cat to do his business, a little box that’s in the back or away from the food, then I don’t see a problem with that,” said one customer.