Cecil the Safeway Cat Prompts Community Campaign

CECIL-SAFEWAY-CAT-FEATIf you lived in Southeast Portland, a trip to the supermarket was, until recently, a happy opportunity to see Cecil the Safeway Cat. The Safeway supermarket at the corner of Cesar Chavez and Powell blvds was the daily hangout for Cecil, a grey and white tabby who wanted nothing more than to work in the grocery business.


Cecil didn’t hang out near any of the prepared food sections, careful to avoid any health concerns about stray cat hair, fleas, or cat spit on the food. His favorite spots included the beer aisle after which he would frequent the “eetos” section of the junk food aisle: Cheetos, Fritos and Doritos.


But his favorite spot was near the front of the store atop the cases of soda pop. From this spot he could greet every customer as they entered the store.


He’s “a thing” on #catsofinstagram, rarely escaping customers who want to snap selfies with him.  He has a Facebook fan page and his own hashtag, #cecilthesafewaycat.

Every once in while, a customer like Allison Ellermeier would see Cecil and worry that he was lost. Calling the number on his collar,  you’ll get a voicemail message assuring you that Cecil isn’t lost – he just likes to hang out at Safeway.

Cecil has been working in the grocery business for seven years. In human years, that would make him about ready for retirement, and sadly, he has been put out to pasture.

A spokeswoman for Safeway said store workers haven’t seen the cat around the store for a few days, and while the store hasn’t officially banned the cat, non-service animals are not allowed in the store.

John Burr, food safety program manager at the Oregon Department of Agriculture, said non-service animals aren’t allowed in food establishments because of sanitation concerns. However,department spokesman Bruce Pokarney said that unless the department receives a bunch of complaints about Cecil, they’re not likely to crack down on the cat.

“I don’t know that we’d make this a huge issue unless there’s evidence there’s a huge problem here,” he said.

Give Cecil the Safeway Cat Back His Job

Cecil’s fans started a petition on Change.org to ask that he not be banned from the store.

The petition says Safeway banned Cecil from the store earlier this week and asks the grocer to rescind the move. The petition was first posted Monday and had more than 800 signatures by Wednesday afternoon.

However, it may be Cecil’s owner, not Safeway, who is keeping the cat from fulfilling his duties:


Maybe Walmart will hire him as a greeter.

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Category: Featured, Last Week, Working Cats, zzz Previous 3 cat articles

About the Author ()

Mousebreath Magazine is an award-winning online magazine that celebrates cats and the cat-centric lifestyle. Editor Karen Nichols is a popular conference speaker and writer, whose current project is The Cat Scout Handbook. She is also the denmaster at CatScouts.com.

Comments (2)

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  1. Please let the kitty stay in the store! It’s his home!

  2. Seems that Cecil has a loving home, but an urgent need to be in a store environment. He probably even increased Safeway’s bottom line by enticing customers to purchase more “stuff.” He has the best of both worlds! His owners just need to make sure that he doesn’t get snatched.


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