California Man Turns His Home Into Cat Paradise For His 22 Rescue Cats And A Very Good Cause


Peter Cohen owns a construction company by day and homes a cat sanctuary the rest of the time. His 22 cats, Smokey, Vanilla, Poppyseed, Butter, Nutter, Coffeebean, Donut, Secret, Cheesecake, Chocolate, MiniBean, Climber, Mikan, Mango, Nugget, Smudge, Jupiter Jones, Blackbird, Cookie Monster, The Professor, Crumple, and Rumple are all truly in good paws, I mean hands, living with Cohen because of his dedication to his furry, feline rescues is unparalleled. After Cohen read Bob Walker’s book The Cats’ House, which highlighted the catwalks the author constructed for his cats, he was inspired to add some of the elevated catwalks to his own home for his own cats! 

In an interview with Adventure Cats, Cohen said:

Once I saw the cats loved them, it became a kind of never-ending hobby. Further, as we added more catwalks, we could add more cats!

Spoken like a true cat lover, indeed.


All of the feline-features in Cohen's home were designed by him! The carpenters that work for his construction company helped finish the work, though.

In an interview with catster, Peter said, "the first catwalks were installed in the upstairs master bedroom, around 1997. 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."

The home may have been re-imagined with cats in mind, but it's easily enjoyable by Cohen as well.
Cohen says he appreciates the architectural details and colors while the cats have the entire house, top to bottom, to explore, climb, run, and snuggle.
“By giving them lots of walks, bridges, tunnels, etc. to explore and live in, we provide an interesting world for them,” Cohen said. “Cats are like any sentient being. They need an interesting environment to live and prosper in.”
And Cohen has a hard time deciding which of his architecturally interesting areas of the home he likes the best, saying "while there are many catwalks I like, one of the most fun is the spiral ramp that is in my office."
Cohen purchased the home in 1988 and back then there were only two stray cats that the previous owners had been feeding outdoors. But tragedy struck and that changed everything for Cohen. Within mere months of each other, both cats were struck by cars, killing the first and seriously injuring the second. It was then that Cohen decided the survivor should be an indoor pet and to help keep her company they adopted two more cats!
From there, rescuing cats became a passion for Cohen. “Simply put, outdoor cats have a life expectancy of less than 4 years in a city environment,” Cohen said. “We adopt all our cats from shelters and they require the cats to be indoor only as a condition for adoption.”
At this point, Cohen is even in the process of adopting his 23rd cat, a kitten named Kabocha. With so much love for kitties, it's hard to believe that there have still been some difficult times but indeed there has been, and that has made something else very important to Cohen.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis, or FIP — a rare mutation of a very common feline virus, affects only about one in 5,000 cats but most cats are carriers of the non-mutated virus. Rare as it is, the disease is almost always fatal and is more common in environments with more cats. Over the years, Cohen has adopted 40 cats and two have suffered from the disease.
This photo is of Cohen snuggling Miss Bean, the runt of a litter of five he along adopted with her sister, Vanilla. But after Miss Bean's spay surgery, she never quite seemed to recover her entertaining kitten energy. Lethargic behavior in a kitten is not normal and eventually, for Miss Bean, it led to a FIP diagnosis.

After her diagnosis, Miss Bean quickly deteriorated but as Cohen was preparing emotionally to euthanize the kitty, a follower of ZenByCat on Facebook contacted him about a drug trial being conducted at University of California-Davis.

While Miss Bean went back and forth between showing progress and regressing, she eventually lost her battle with FIP. That didn't taint Cohen, though. He saw the light in the darkness.

She was an amazingly strong kitten who never stopped just trying to play, even when her failing body would not let her. [The doctors] have learned a great deal from her, and one-day FIP will not take so many beautiful, innocent lives. I miss Bean. It is hard to believe she is gone.

But Smokey, another rescue of Cohen's who also participated in the drug trial, did really well! 11 months into the experimental drug, Smokey remains completely healthy! In fact, his doctors aren't deeming Smokey in remission, they're saying he is cured! Cohen said:

He is one of seven cats in the world that so far, have beaten FIP. 

Smokey, and the other cats from the drug trial are proof that with the right finding FIP can be cured, so Cohen is on a mission to raise the funds. He makes sure to inform that any funds raised for his nonprofit ZenByCat are used only for the cause, and his home (and cat paradise) are not dipping into the fund. 

"Giving rescued cats a better life means giving them a place that is solely their own. They give us unconditional love, and building the catwalks is one way of expressing my gratitude for that," Cohen told catster.

Check it out!

Here's a really cool video featuring Peter Cohen and his cat paradise!
Cats are family.

3 Responses

Helen DeGraffenreid
Helen DeGraffenreid

October 02, 2018


Laurie Miller
Laurie Miller

October 02, 2018

This Gentleman is A True Gentleman!!! I Want to Live there too!!😢 It’s Wonderful!!! Bless his Heart and All his Kitties

Astrid Sburlan
Astrid Sburlan

October 02, 2018


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