Peter Cohen’s self-proclaimed addiction to cats all began in 1988 with the two feral cats that came with the house he bought.
Sadly, both were hit by cars within a month of each other. Only one survived, leading Peter to making her an indoor cat. So, naturally, he wanted to make sure that his home was a space worthy for her to spend most of her time in.
And so began Peter turning his home into the perfect cat oasis.
Peter, who owns a construction company, didn’t hold back when creating the perfect designs for his cats — he adopted two more to make sure the previously feral cat wasn’t lonely. Drawing inspiration from “The Cats’ House” by Bob Walker, he started off by adding elevated cat walks.
“Once I saw the cats loved them, it became a kind of never-ending hobby,” Peter said. “Further, as we added more catwalks, we could add more cats.”
Now at 24 cats, Peter and his roommates have created what can only be described as a cat house. In fact, they even refer to it as “House Of Nekko,” which is Japanese for House of Cats.
“By giving them lots of walks, bridges, tunnels, etc. to explore and live in, we provide an interesting world for them,” he said. “Cats are like any sentient being. They need an interesting environment to live and prosper in.”
Along with living in a cat lover’s paradise, Peter is also running a non-profit aimed at raising money and awareness for Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). His passion for finding a cure all began when one of his cats, Miss Bean, was diagnosed with the fatal disease.
Miss Bean was the runt of a litter of five. Peter adopted her and one of her sisters, Vanilla, in 2016. They adjusted well, but Miss Bean’s energetic personality quickly changed. She was diagnosed with FIP.
Soon, it seemed that Peter’s only option was to put her down. But before he could make that decision, a friend let him know she might be able to get her into a drug trial for kittens with FIP. With nothing left to lose, Peter accepted the offer.
“Over the next 17 days, Miss Bean and I went on a roller coaster of improvements and setbacks against the dreaded, deadly FIP, including two more miracles overcoming infections and fluids,” Peter said.
Although there were lots of ups and downs, eventually, Miss Bean’s immune system became too damaged to recover.
“She was an amazingly strong kitten who never stopped just trying to play, even when her failing body would not let her,” he said. “[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.”
Although this precious kitty didn’t make it, her participation in the drug trial would go on to help another one of Peter’s kittens: Smokey. After taking the same treatment that Miss Bean did, he’s not just in remission, he’s considered cured!
“He is one of seven cats in the world that, so far, have beaten FIP,” Peter said. “The success of Smokey and the other cats that survived the drug trial clearly show the researchers can cure FIP. They simply need more money to do wider drug trials to get these and other promising drugs to market.”
Instead of waiting for others to make that happen, Peter created a nonprofit called ZenByCat. Ninety cents of every dollar raised goes toward helping researchers. The remaining 10 cents covers overhead and awareness costs. Not a single penny goes to Peter’s own house or the cats living there.
Peter may be leading what most consider to be an unusual life, but he doesn’t mind. Whether he’s running his nonprofit or simply taking care of his many cats, he’s still making a positive difference in the world, no matter how small.
“We can’t solve the world’s problems,” Peter said, “but I can solve this tiny problem for these cats.”
Watch a video of Peter giving a tour of his house below and don’t forget to share with your friends and family who love cats.
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