When shoppers visit Dover’s BLUvintage Boutique, they’re usually looking for more than a new purchase.
Often, they’re looking for Larry—a middle-aged tabby.
Larry the Security Cat found a home at BLUvintage a few years ago, bringing pets and purrs to the shopping experience. Now he’s got more than 8,000 Instagram followers and will soon have his own T-shirt line.
Boutique owner and Larry’s caretaker Teresa Owens says proceeds from the shirts—on shelves this summer—will benefit local animals through the BLUPAW initiative, which helps them in various ways, including by placing them in homes. (Shirts are priced at $26, from which $5 will be donated.)
A self-proclaimed animal lover, Owens has tried to help pets find their forever homes for as long as she can remember. One day she found Larry wandering outside her home with a broken leg. He was no match against the other strays in the fight for food.
So Owens began offering him meals, and, after about a year, the cat finally began to trust her.
By the time she could get him to a vet for an exam and shots, his leg had already healed, but he had a slight limp. Owens called him Limpin’ Larry.
However, when she tried to bring Larry home, Owens realized he wasn’t one to live with other pets. So, she brought him to BLUvintage, where he can roam independently throughout the store and in a small courtyard outside.
Always on “pawtrol,” he earned a new name: Larry the Security Cat.
Owens says he’s a huge hit with shoppers, who give him plenty of love and attention. When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the boutique to offer curbside pickup and delivery only, she says customers reached out to ask how he was doing and share how much they missed him.
Some customers would even walk by the shop to see if they could catch a glimpse of him.
“He’s still a big deal,” Owens says.
And Larry has started a bit of a trend in Dover with other businesses giving homeless cats permanent residences.
“We are hoping to build a movement where more business owners can be inspired to have rescues visit or stay in their businesses,” Owens says, noting that other companies have taken up causes like BLUPAW. “We were not the first to invent it, but we are happy to push it and inspire others to think of the animals.”
Published as “The Cat’s Meow” in the July 2020 issue of Delaware Today magazine.