Tina and Louise in an undated photo. Courtesy of David Callisch.
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Lots of cats have Instagram accounts to document their daily feline moves. Cat sisters Tina and Louise, for instance, boast more than 1,300, mostly human, followers interested in seeing the cats do cat stuff, which includes a whole lot of nothing.
But now Tina and Louise have something even felines with the highest of assumed importance don’t have: their own, private $1,500-a –month studio apartment in San Jose, complete with Apple TV, private bathroom and 500 square feet of space for all-day cat laziness.
That's right, no humans share their place in the upscale Willow Glen neighborhood.
Landlord David Callisch said the cats don't seem to mind and the unusual arrangement has also proved to be a landlord's dream.
“They don’t argue, they don’t have wild parties, they are nice and they are self- contained,’’ said Callisch, who lives in a home he owns in front of the cat's studio apartment.
The whole thing started last summer when Callisch’s friend Troy Good came to Callisch’s place for dinner. Good told his buddy that he had a cat quandary he needed to solve.
Good had adopted Tina and Louise as kittens for his now 18-year-old daughter, Victoria Amith, who was about to start living in a cat-free dorm when she started classes at Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles County. Amith, a self-described "cat lady" didn't want the felines to go to the shelter and her dad couldn't house them at his place.
Callisch was also in a bit of a quandary about what to do with the empty studio apartment that he had recently acquired. Calllisch said he had given some thought to listing the place on Airbnb but decided it wasn’t worth the trouble.
“Then you have to deal with people,” he said with a laugh.
It was then that his buddy said, “Hey, what if I stuck my cats in there?’” Callisch recalled.
The two settled on the monthly rent with a caveat that Good’s college daughter could bunk at Callisch’s home when she was in town to visit her dad and, of course, see the cats.
So now, Good pays the rent and Callisch makes a daily visit to the kitty crib to feed and play with Tina and Louise.
Jennifer Loving, the CEO of Destination Home, an organization working to end homelessness in Santa Clara County, called the situation “peak Silicon Valley.”
“While this story is funny,” Loving told the Mercury News, “it really does highlight the tremendous inequity in the Silicon Valley. We have thousands of people on our streets, and we’re paying to make sure that our cats have a place to live.”
And while shelling out $1,500 a month to keep cats in the lap luxury, Good is actually getting a pretty sweet deal for Tina and Louise. The average rent for a roughly 500-square-foot studio apartment in San Jose this month is $1,951, according to the rental website RentCafe.
Callisch said he is still a little baffled by all the media attention he's received since the cat got out of bag about Tina and Louise and their private digs.
“It’s a weird situation,” he said. “I was just trying to help out a friend."
But, he said, given that as a landord he doesn't have to contend with renter racket or complaints about leaky faucets, it's worked out for the best.
“I’m not a cat guy,'' he said. "But I do like them.”