The Perfect Cat House Doesn’t Exis…

A feline lover in California spent several decades and over $100,000 turning his home into the ultimate house for cats.

House of Nekko is a 3,000-square-foot home just north of Santa Barbara. It looks pretty ordinary from the outside, so few know that this is probably the world’s most amazing cat house. Featuring over 300 feet of catwalks, 15 feet of tunnels, 8 bridges, individual feeding spots suspended on the walls giant hamster wheels and giant scratching posts, among other feline attractions, House of Nekko is unlike any other house we’ve ever seen before.

Photo: Zen by Cat/Facebook

In 1998, when Peter Cohen, a custom contractor with an artistic flair, decided to buy Santa Barbara house with his brother, he had every intention to fix it up and then flip it for a profit. What he hadn’t counted on was for the property to come with two feline residents, which he simply named The Black One and The Gray One. Cohen fell in love with them and he went on to constantly “catify” the house over several decades.


After The Black One was hit by a car and died, Peter decided to adopt a bunch more cats to keep The Gray One company, and his feline family grew steadily over the years, to the point where he had 24 cats living in the House of Nekko (Japanese for “cat”). He usually adopts animals that most people avoid, like black kittens, or cats that are extremely shy.


Petter Cohen was inspired to create the House of Nekko by a book he read in 1995, called The Cat’s House, by Bob Walker, about a house full of catwalks for felines. He followed the same recipe, making the catwalks the main element of his home, because cats love them so much, and also integrating tunnels that connect all the rooms, viewing platforms, scratch posts and all sorts of other things that cats love.


“I liken it to living in a cat aquarium—there are always cats around me and above me,” Cohen told Daily Paws. “If you put a cat in a room, it will naturally go to the highest point in the room. Catwalks just allow the cats to live in the space three-dimensionally instead of just on the floor.”


“They are very calming and fun to be with; hanging out with cats always relieves the day’s stress; it’s zen by cat. I am a builder and I like art, so I love the fact that catwalks are like living sculptures. The cats definitely enjoy them and I try to build them so I like the look of them as well. In that sense, we both win,” the cat lover told Catster.


Apart from his amazing cat house, Peter Cohen also runs Zen by Cat, a nonprofit designed to spread awareness about Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) and help animals suffering from this condition. The often fatal disease is caused by a type of virus called coronavirus, which tends to attack the cells of the intestinal wall.