Tosca, SF’s chicest store cat, goes viral on Twitter


In the photo, a stylish tuxedo cat perches on a stool, with bottles of vermouth and lip balm tucked away in the background. The cat in question: Tosca, the 8-year-old store cat from Nabila’s Naturals in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco.

“Oh my God, she’s becoming a celebrity, this one,” said Ramiz Yousef, who owns and manages the store with his wife, Elena Rios.

There are a multitude of beloved local store cats, and most San Francisco residents declare their loyalty to a singular feline friend. But that level of fame looks a little different – all thanks to her adorable little bow tie.

She’s become something of an internet celebrity since this image of her, shared Sunday, went viral on Twitter, amassing over 120,000 likes in less than two days.

Tosca is around 8 or 9 years old and was first adopted in 2016, Rios said. She recounted the first time she and Yousef met Tosca – a charming and fiery thing, even sitting in her small cage at the animal shelter. (If you’re wondering, her name comes from Puccini’s libretto. Yousef and Rios chose not to change her name, thinking it already suited her so well.)

Tosca lying on a Modelo box.

Courtesy of Elena Rios

“We reached Tosca… and we tried to move on to the next, the next cage,” Rios told SFGATE. “She got really mad, and she did, like, [hissing sound] to Ramiz, and as soon as she did, my husband knew it was her. It was a very special moment there.

And in the more than five years that she has made Nabila her home, the always sociable Tosca has charmed many buyers – and even some non-buyers who come just to take a picture and hang out with her.

“She’s a very social girl,” said Rios. “She loves greeting customers and being with people and sometimes hanging out behind the counter and watching the action – what happens, who gets what.”

Tosca, Rios joked, will even stand right at the door, holding court for anyone who enters her realm of natural food.

“Sometimes she’s standing at the door, and she’s stretching out her little paws, and everyone, you know, she stops traffic outside the door,” Rios said.



Courtesy of Elena Rios

As for the bow ties? Rios says they’re changed seasonally, depending on the holidays and, at times, Tosca’s mood. When she’s bored of her necklace, Rios said, she gets picky – pacing in a bad mood until that changes. (She even has a dress that she wears on special occasions, Rios said.)

Rios and Yousef are both delighted that their “little house baby” is receiving so much love online. They didn’t get wind of it until late Sunday night, when Yousef spotted Tosca’s photo going around Twitter.

“We are very happy that she can offer her love to so many people and that she really makes an impact and [gets to make] the day a little sweeter for someone each day.

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