Local personality not a person

Published 4:59 pm Monday, February 4, 2013

By DALE BRAKHAGE/Community Columnist

Eight years ago, a new worker arrived at the Sunny Food Store/gas station on Caldwell Mill Road at U.S. 119. Today, he is so popular that people visit the store just to see him.

Sunny, the famous Sunny Food Store cat.

Children love “Sunny,” the Sunny Food Store cat. Sara Akhter, who works there, said children ask their mothers to stop just so they can see Sunny! Adult customers often add a can of cat food to their other purchases, just for Sunny. The cat works the night shift. You can see Sunny on the store’s 24-hour security camera recordings. He disappears and reappears all night long, keeping the property safe from mice, rats, raccoons and, of course, from other cats.

“He’s the king here,” remarked Akhter. “He reminds me of the Royal Bengal Tigers in Asia,” she explained. Akhter began working at the store five years ago. Ever since then she has been impressed with Sunny’s loyalty, classy demeanor and beautiful color. Akhter took Sunny’s photograph for this column.

During the day, the king holds court. Sunny sits by the front doors and greets regular customers with regal nods of his furry head. Occasionally he graces a visitor with a “Meow.” That is not panhandling! This is his store, and he works here every night. Sunny does, however, graciously receive cat food and treats from his fans and store customers.

When he gets tired, Sunny sleeps safely under Akhter’s car. Before her shift ends, Sunny rises and moves one shop over to sleep beneath Steve Woolsey’s truck. Steve owns A Winning Streak soccer shop next door. Somehow, this cat knows Steve will be there until closing time that evening.

“That cat is a genius,” said Steve. “He never wants for anything. I’ve driven up and seen milk in his bowl.” Sunny knows how to work the crowd, and he knows who to impress. Steve adds, “He only meows at women.”

Sunny is a likeable cat, but do not try to pick him up.

He may allow you to pet him a little. Just remember, the king is not here for fooling around.

He has work to do!


Dale Brakhage writes a weekly column about Indian Springs and its residents. You can reach him at dale@dalebrakhage.com.