Imagine what it might be like to share a space with no less than 15 cats. That’s exactly what life is like for New York mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa and his wife. They have an apartment on the upper west side, but they also have some rather interesting roommates. Them and their 15 cats share the space, something that most people couldn’t possibly begin to fathom. For many, it’s hard enough to think about living with that many cats when you have an entire house to share the space with. Imagine doing it in a New York apartment building. Nevertheless, he and his wife have made it work for some time now.
A Small Space
You might be thinking that this is one of the larger New York apartments, a penthouse apartment that takes up virtually the entire top floor of a commercial building. Think again. This is not some sprawling apartment that has one room after another. Instead, it is a 320 square-foot studio apartment with windows on only one side of the building. Imagine what it must be like to live in an apartment building that is only 320 square feet, not to mention cramming another person and 15 felines into that same space. That is enough to drive most people absolutely mad, but Sliwa and his wife seem to be perfectly happy in the space. In fact, they don’t see any need to change a single thing.
A Dream Home for Cats
As it turns out, the mayoral candidate and his wife spend a lot more time making sure that the apartment is comfortable for the cats than they do for themselves. A quick look at the apartment tells you that this is where their focus lies. They don’t have a lot of furniture. They say there simply isn’t space to put it, even if they wanted it. However, they do have plenty of space for their cats to roam, complete with all the cat related furniture that one could imagine. This gives the cats an opportunity to rest, play and hone their hunting skills without ever leaving the apartment. It does crimp the humans a bit, but the thing is, they don’t really seem to mind. To be more accurate, they seem to like things exactly the way they are.
Going the Extra Mile
They even made the decision to go the extra mile and put chicken wire on the windows so that the cats could have an outdoor space. Try to imagine what it’s like to remove the windows from an apartment building and put chicken wire in their place. This is all so the cats can go out on the windowsill and feel like they’re outside, even though they’re still inside the apartment building. That takes a lot of love, to say the least. Remember all of the cat furniture that was mentioned in the above paragraph? It takes up an entire wall of the studio apartment. Considering the fact that the apartment is basically one room with a stove and a bed and an adjoining bathroom, it says quite a lot that an entire wall was taken up by the cat furniture. The couple even decided to place some additional perches for their cats on top of the counters that make up the tiny kitchen. It’s all so the cats can stay high up and look down on everything that goes on below, making them feel more like- well, cats.
In addition to all of the cat furniture, there are literally boxes and boxes of cat toys. In fact, the collection has grown so much in recent years that it’s sometimes difficult to navigate through the apartment without tripping over various cat toys or landing square in a whole box of them. Add to that the fact that there are no less than six different litter boxes scattered throughout the apartment, and you can imagine what it must be like to live in such a tiny space with so many cats. It definitely isn’t a decision for the faint of heart. This is indicative of a couple’s love for their cats, as it requires a significant amount of their space and their time.
A Labor of Love
In addition to all of the space that the cats take up, the couple spends a good chunk of their day dealing with them. They say that they clean out all six litter boxes a minimum of three times a day. They don’t want the apartment to smell like cat litter, nor do they enjoy the smell of ammonia. Therefore, they make it a point to diligently clear those little boxes every few hours. If you’ve ever had a cat, you probably know how hard it can be to keep up with cleaning the litter box out once a day when things get really busy. Now, imagine what it would be like to clean out six of them three times a day. That’s 18 different litter boxes that you’re cleaning out on a daily basis and sometimes, you’re doing it more often than that. If that’s not enough to get your attention, imagine how much it costs to buy enough cat litter to pull this off on a daily basis. It’s definitely not easy, nor is it something that comes cheap. It’s akin to Sliwa’s desire to crack down on crime, but with felines. Even he admits that it takes a lot of time, effort and love to pull it off.
At the end of the day, it’s not just about living with cats. The couple have always considered themselves animal activists and they adopted all of these cats from the local animal shelter. More importantly, all of the cats they adopted were scheduled to be put down. Many of them have significant health problems and a couple of them have had previous injuries that were so bad that the animal shelter considered euthanasia the only option. They were all nursed back to health and they are currently all living healthy, happy lives with people that truly love them. The couple can’t imagine life any other way and claimed that they will always be there to rescue more animals when the need arises.