South Jersey Home Depot Cat Goes Viral on TikTok

by Alex Kenney
Home Depot, home to Leo the cat

Meet Leo, the resident cat of the Home Depot in Mount Laurel, NJ. A brown tabby with white socks, Leo tends to blend right in with the rest of the hardware store’s inventory. Upon closer inspection, though, you might notice the store’s cat towers, litter boxes, and food bowls.

Here’s how a friendly feline is drawing people to a South Jersey hardware store.

Home Depot Cat’s Origins

Philadelphia Magazine reports that Leo is a former barn cat that the Home Depot crew adopted from a shelter last summer.

@cat_dad_2020 Replying to @✰ Leo’s closing routine 🐱@The Home Depot #catdad2020 #catsoftiktok #homedepot ♬ original sound – 🐱❤️Jeff (cat_dad_2020)❤️

Employees take good care of him, and they won’t even close until they find Leo at the end of the night. Store owner John Vazquez told Philadelphia Magazine that he was a “skinny little thing” when he first arrived at Home Depot.

Leo’s Claim to Fame

@ronfree1 meet the home depot Cat Leo! #ronfree #fyp #locgang🤟🏾 #cats #homedepot #catsoftiktok #catsbelike ♬ original sound – Ron Free

With fans from his native Burlington County and beyond, Leo receives plenty of visitors every day. One of Leo’s fans posted his interaction with the cat on TikTok. He noted how Leo continued to sleep even while being pet, highlighting the cat’s unusually friendly, trusting nature.

Leo’s story really took off when TikTok user Jeffrey Simpkins, better known as @cat_dad_2020, started posting Leo on his page in June, which was already dedicated to his own cats at home. He records himself bringing Leo cat toys and treats, occasionally taking his cats, Will and Grace, to the store to interact with Leo. He has an Amazon wishlist for Leo, Will, and Grace.

The Mount Laurel Home Depot is a pet-friendly location, according to Simpkins’ reply to a comment concerned about those with cat allergies.

Leo’s Life

@cat_dad_2020 Replying to @Sam Leo has two litter boxes 🐱@The Home Depot #catdad2020 #catsoftiktok #homedepot ♬ original sound – 🐱❤️Jeff (cat_dad_2020)❤️

A social guy, Leo reportedly likes to feel like a part of things, often joining the rest of the team for meetings outside of regular hours. He even has two litter boxes, one indoors and one outdoors in Home Depot’s Garden Center.

Three associates have undertaken the task of looking after Leo, who continues to live in the Garden Center after the store closes. All outdoor doors are locked to keep him safe, and he has enough food and water to get him through the night.

You can find him decked out in one of his many t-shirts, whether he’s lounging in his mobile bed or patrolling the store for mice.

About the Author/s

All posts

Alex Kenney is a third-year Journalism and Media Studies student at Rutgers University - New Brunswick. Having lived in Bergen, Essex, and briefly Hudson County, she calls anything north of Newark home. She is a big fan of NJ Transit and knows most major highways in her area like the back of her hand, even though she doesn’t drive.

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