So far in our series profiling “shop cats” who are fixtures at local businesses, you’ve met Seth at West Seattle Nursery (story here) and Presta and Schrader at Aaron’s Bicycle Repair (story here). Today we head to the southernmost edge of West Seattle for our next “Shop Cat”: Swifty, “the cat who purrs like an engine.”
By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog
Introducing Swifty — whose name exemplifies irony.
Swifty spent 9/10ths of our interview in her big, soft bed on the counter at Roxbury Complete Auto Supply (map). When co-owner Bill Crawford finally picked her up and placed her at the other end of the store, she meandered the aisles for a bit, then went right back to her big, soft bed on the counter.
Who can blame her?
For the past ten years after literally showing up on their doorstep, Swifty has been overseeing the business at the auto supply store by mousing, chasing off encroaching cats, and teasing dogs. Co-owners Bill and Kathy Crawford describe one of Swifty’s games — racing through the aisles with a dog following behind, then turning to whap the dog on the nose. Says Bill, “We occasionally hear a yelp from somewhere in the store.”
Like many of her human brethren in the auto industry, Swifty’s got some grime under her nails — and on her legs, and in her fur. Bill explains: “No matter how much we brush and clean her, she just goes and scratches her back on the underside of a car.”
Seems appropriate for a cat who lives her life around auto parts; and though she does go outside, she’s extremely car-savvy and stays close to the building.
Swifty has her own visitors, both the kid and the dog variety. One youngster became so enamored with her that he cried when he realized he couldn’t take her home. When Bill Crawford’s father comes to visit, he brings his Chihuahua, who crawls in and shares Swifty’s bed. Clearly, she has learned that she can garner lots of attention without having to work too hard for it.
Like other felines, she knows exactly which customers aren’t cat fans — and heads straight for them. Bill and Kathy describe one particular customer who “hates cats”—as he’s at the counter paying for his items, Swifty comes right over to him, rubs against him, purrs, and he finds himself forced into petting her.
Besides her customer-retention program, Swifty helps with data entry; while a receipt is being typed up on the computer, Swifty runs across the keyboard. So if instead of a “Fan Belt” you bought a “Fan Bljsdi9p[“ — now you know why.
We’ve got a few more “Shop Cats” to come. (Plus another reader-contributed “Shop Dog” too – following in the pawprints of Baron at Redline Music and Sports, featured here last week.)