Cohen got the idea for his catwalks after picking up a mini book called The Cats’ House, by Bob Walker. “I thought, ‘I’m a builder. I could do that,’” he says. When there was downtime at his building firm, Trillium Enterprises, Cohen traded tools with carpenters and had them come to his house to design and build the additions.
In Cohen’s home office (shown here), a spiral walkway wraps around a floor-to-ceiling scratching post. His cats, all mutts, climb up the pole and walk down the spiral. “I thought maybe the cats would just look at it, but they use it all,” he says. “It’s like a freeway sometimes with them all over the place.”
Catwalks crisscross the main bathroom. The shark’s mouth is the opening of a tunnel. The yellow platform beneath the skylight is a favorite spot for naps.
“Cats are very calming,” he says. “It’s hard to stay mad when a cat sits in your lap and purrs.”
The cats now have two ways to get in and out of each location. In places where he originally had just a single tunnel, Cohen found that one cat would sit in the tunnel and not let the others pass. He also designed the tunnels so the cats are never more than an arm’s length away in the tunnels, and so he can clean the spaces out easily by hand.
The home is also a smart home, with 25 security cameras (one can be seen here on the ceiling above the door) so that Cohen can check on his cats when he’s traveling for business. From his iPhone he can also control the window shades, temperature, door locks, fireplace, music, lighting and more.
All told, Cohen says he spent about $30,000 to $40,000 since 1995 to build the catwalks. “Way more expensive than a sane person would build, but I didn’t care,” he says. “I love my cats, my house and art, so I designed it to be beautiful to me.”
The interiors were off-white when Cohen moved in. When he decided to change up the home, he added his favorite colors — yellow, green and blue.
While Cohen says he’s done adopting cats for now, the catwalk project is ongoing. “We’ll never stop,” he says.
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