MADISON — Despite claims making the rounds on social media, the Hannaford supermarket in Madison does not intend to ban a cat that has spent a few years greeting the store’s customers, according to a company spokesperson.

Shoppers will continue to see the familiar face of Rascal the cat, Caitlin Cortelyou of Hannaford said Saturday.

Shoppers came to the defense of Rascal the cat, shown in this undated photograph posted to the Skowhegan Community Matters, Resources and Information Facebook page, after there were concerns she would be banned from the Hannaford supermarket at 225 Upper Main St. in Madison.

Rascal, owned by a Madison woman, roams about town and her travels often take her to the entrance of Hannaford at 225 Upper Main St., where she plops down and receives affection and treats from shoppers.

People recently took to social media to say Hannaford had banned Rascal, but Cortelyou said the store has taken no such action.

The confusion might stem from the supermarket’s having asked recently that shoppers not feed Rascal when she is in the store’s foyer. Cortelyou said if people want to give Rascal a treat, they should do so outside the store.

One person who commented on the matter on social media, believing Rascal had been banned, said Hannaford was being “criminally unfair.” Some shared emails they had sent to Hannaford’s corporate office in Scarborough. Others said the situation was blown out of proportion.


Pets that are not service animals cannot enter the store due to food safety and health concerns, Cortelyou said. It appears Rascal spends most of her time in the foyer, not roaming inside the store.

Naomi Lisherness, 66, of Madison said she shops regularly at the store and has seen Rascal there for the past four or five years.

“She causes no problems, she’s very friendly, she doesn’t bother anybody,” Lisherness told the Morning Sentinel. “She’s kind of a little icon.”

Lisherness said a cashier at the store told her a few days ago that somebody had complained about Rascal.

Rascal is owned by Madison resident Ernestine Shemwell, whom Lisherness described as “a wonderful woman.”

Efforts to reach Shemwell for comment were unsuccessful.


Rascal has grabbed headlines before. WABI-TV in Bangor has reported that Rascal on a couple of occasions was the victim of a kidnapping caper. It seems a customer or two in the past picked up some groceries and then also grabbed Rascal while exiting the store.

The cat went missing earlier this year, but was found a few weeks later in Anson, the station reported.

Cortelyou said customers and employees of the store have grown fond of Rascal.

“Our associates feel very connected to Rascal and care about her well-being,” she said. “We are currently exploring ways to best support Rascal, who holds a special place in the hearts of the Madison community.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated Sunday, Nov. 19, with Hannaford explaining that Rascal has not been banned from its Madison store.

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