Man Turns His House Into Indoor Cat Playland and Our Hearts Explode

(cat meows)
(gentle piano music)
– The cats make the house feel alive.
When we bought this house in 1988,
it came with two outdoor,
like, 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,
so we made her an indoor cat.
And then to get her company,
because the other one
had been killed, we went to the shelter
and adopted a couple cats, and that’s just
started down the road.
Cheesecake, Chocolate, Nutter, Butter,
Crumple, Rumple, Cookie, Poppy-seed,
Kuro, Noui, Secret, Wasabi, Coffee-bean,
Donut, so they’re all rescues.
We adopt them from shelters
as far south as San Diego,
and as far north as San Francisco.
– We start getting kittens every year.
Over time we are getting more and more,
and then we realized,
there are so many cats.
– After a certain point,
there’s like, no turning back, it’s like,
this is their house and
we’re living here with them.
– All the rooms are connected.
At night sometimes, at two
or three in the morning,
they’ll start chasing each
other on the cat walks.
And they can go really
fast, and it’s pretty loud.
It does wake us sometimes.
The catwalks, I think the
first one I build in 1995
actually was this one.
For the walk, just the walks,
I’ve probably spent 40 or $50,000
And they can be done a lot cheaper but
the catwalks are for the
cats, they’re also for me,
they’re architecturally interesting to me,
the colors, and we always try
to do something interesting, the shapes.
There’s spirals, there’s
bridges, there’s arched bridges.
A lot of the tunnels have faces on them,
and one of my favorites is in the upstairs
bathroom there’s a tunnel with a shark,
and the carpenters actually made teeth,
and when the cats walk through the teeth
they scratch the back of the cat.
So the cats like to go back
and forth through that.
So you can’t really feel
ever there’s 15 cats,
because they never assemble in one group.
And they’re very calming.
So I like them because when you come home
and if you’re stressed and you sit down,
two or three will come and
purr and it just relaxes you.
The koi pond is one of the
favorite areas for the cats.
They love to watch the
fish, they also walk into
the koi pond on the rocks and even
sometimes put their hands in the water.
They’ve never eaten a fish.
So, with 15 cats we have about
22 litter boxes throughout the house,
and we put a lot of them
in closets, where we add
ventilating fans that run
24/7 that ventilates outside.
So there’s negative air pressure,
so the smell stays in the closets.
We also have five Roombas in the house
that we run almost every day,
that do a really good job
of picking up cat hair.
And then it’s just us, picking
up after the cats a lot.
– At first I thought,
how can we get rid of these cats?
But now I can’t think of a single one
that I’d want to get rid of.
– Cookie was the one that we rescued
who had been traumatized, and this year
we suddenly found huge
tumors on her, took her
to the vet and they said, “It’s cancer,
“there’s nothing to do.”
But we did the surgeries, and after two
major surgeries they were all benign.
And they had never seen anything like it.
So, she’s fine now.
It brings a lot of satisfaction that,
the idea that we can rescue these cats.
You know, we can’t solve
the world’s problems,
but I can solve this tiny
problem for these cats.
(mellow guitar music)
(cat meows)

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