Peter Cohen of Santa Barbara, California, adopted 15 rescue cats before remodeling his entire home into an indoor cat playland.
Cohen bought the home in 1988 and found a couple of unexpected residents who inspired his grand idea.
“When we bought this house in 1988, it came with two outdoor feral cats. And then one of them was killed, hit by a car. And then the second one was hit by a car and had to go to the vet for quite a bit of reconstructive surgery.”
These two accidents made Cohen decide that any other cats he got would strictly be indoor pets. After the surviving cat had lost its best friend, Cohen decided to adopt another to keep her company. “That just started down the road,” he explained.
The number of cats Cohen owns is not clear. Catster reports there are 18 cats, Houzz says 15, while LoveMeow claims a whopping 22. Regardless of the number, however, all of Cohen’s cats are happier than can be.
After deciding that his cats would now be staying indoors, Cohen figured the kitties should have a few things to entertain themselves.
“The first cat walks were installed in the upstairs master bedroom, around 1997,” Cohen told Catster. “From then on, it just kind of grew into a hobby.”
“I would often trade tools with some of the finish carpenters who would build the catwalks in their downtime. We would figure out something fun to build and they would then have pretty much free license to be creative.”
Since then, Cohen estimates that he’s spent between $30,000 and $50,000 on building catwalks. He says he could probably get the walks cheaper, but he enjoys them for their design as well, often picking aesthetics that appeal to him, like spirals, arched bridges, and faces.
The kitties even have their very own Koi pond— and surprisingly, Cohen says they’ve never injured a fish.
All throughout Cohen’s house are tunnels that connect rooms, a myriad of brightly colored perches, and an inspiring array of ramps and custom climbing poles.
“We always have new catwalks on the drawing boards and will add them as time/money allow.”
Although more than a dozen rescue cats live with Cohen, it’s hard to spot them with all his upgrades. In addition to 5 Roombas that are constantly roaming to pick up hair, Cohen also has 21 separate litter boxes set up around the house.
“I am a general contractor and wanted to create an environment that was good for both cats and humans,” he said. “The fact that the little boxes are ventilated closets helps keep odors of out of the house.”
Cohen says his cats comfort him and provide him with a sense of zen. Usually, when given a choice, he opts to take in kittens that no one wants— especially the ones who’ve suffered from trauma.
“[It] brings a lot of satisfaction, the idea that we can rescue these cats. You know, we can’t solve all the problems… but I can solve this tiny problem for these cats.”
Listen to Cohen’s incredible story below!
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