Fear not, mourners of 40-year-old Aardvark Books.
Friday may have marked the end of another independent bookstore, this time on Church Street, but its beloved store cat has a new life in Albany — one that we can all follow on Instagram.
Before Aardvark closed, Owen could be seen sleeping in the display glass among books like Lindy West’s Shrill or hunting a mouse behind a stack of books but is now adjusting to life as a regular house cat. The first snapshot of this new life was posted on Saturday, showing Owen looking earnestly at the camera next to a scratching pad.
His new account, owen_aardvark, reads, “It’s me, Owen! You might have seen me wondering [sic] the shelves at Aardvark Books in SF. Now I’m living it up across the bay with my good friend Niki.”
Just three other photos are included in the account thus far, the latest being Owen looking taken aback at his reflection in a vanity mirror captioned, “Just reflecting on the day!” Another post shows Owen sniffing the corner of a laptop with editing program Lightroom open.
His new owner, Niki Pretti, is a photographer who posted an introductory photo of the new pair bopping noses on her own account — and on Owen’s account on Saturday, commenting that the bonding is going well.
“Owen seems very happy lounging on my bed, purring away,” Pretti wrote on Instagram. “He’s given me many kisses and sometimes we touch faces!”
Given how much people asked about Owen’s fate each time talk arose of Aardvark’s potential and then confirmed closure, it’s a bit surprising that just 21 people follow the account as of Monday. Then again, influencers have to start somewhere.