I’ve never wished to be a feral cat. Up until last week.
That’s because I’m relocating 9 cats to a property in Tiburon which is, in a word, unbelievable. This place is a replica of an Italian Villa perfectly situated on gorgeous land facing San Francisco Bay. The view is absolutely stunning…not that the cats will notice.
These 9 felines are not socialized to people so they aren’t adoptable. Instead of being euthanized, they’re placed as mousers on properties, but fed daily, just like domestic cats. Except instead of keeping laps warm they keep gardens rodent-free.
In 12 years of working to spay/neuter cats born in bushes because of irresponsible humans, I travel through much of Marin County and see some amazing properties. But this place takes it to a whole new level.
When I was asked to determine if the property was a good fit for feral cats, I figured it would be typical of beautiful and shockingly pricey Tiburon. But as I headed down the driveway, I soon recognized there’s nothing typical about this place. Nothing at all.
This fact became evident the instant I realized I was lost upon entering through the gates. I actually had to ask a groundskeeper for directions. Now don’t get me wrong; I’m quite directionally challenged but come on! How huge was this place anyway? Glad you asked. The house is 15,000 sq. ft. on 9 acres with 11 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and panoramic views of the bay. In other words, HOLY CRAP.
Anyway, once I found my bearings I met Lourdes, the family’s point person for the house and grounds. Sweet and inviting, Lourdes showed me the property and areas we could place the cats during their 3-week holding period while they acclimate to the sights, sounds and scents of the garden so they accept it as their new home.
And that’s the exact moment I was envious of feral cats. Or, more precisely, their feral cats.
I met their prized white hawk that has its very own house, one I’d be thrilled to inhabit. We climbed the stairs to the veranda, from where I could see the family’s private beach and an enormous pool house and accompanying pool.
A section of terrain juts out over the bay. Chaise lounges sit on a stoned terrace, the perfect spot to watch sailboats drift by at sunset. It’s simply breathtaking.
Oh, and did I mention they also have a gym/recreation room? No? Shame on me.
And how about the exquisite 3-bedroom home Lourdes and her husband occupy next to the Villa? Over a dozen employees work around the property, which explains why there’s barely a leaf out of place nor a weed in sight among the acres of flowers, trees and bushes. I think my mouth hung open the entire time I toured the property.
If I had doubts the ferals would be treated well, that dissipated the instant Lourdes showed me the wooden cat houses the family’s carpenter built. Covered with green carpet for scratching capability, the houses held beds in anticipation of their feline guests. Water and food bowls were already placed beside the houses. How awesome is that?
Granted, with a bazillion bushes to hide in, the cats will probably never use the houses. They won’t care that Tiburon real estate ranks among the most expensive in America. It’s also doubtful they’ll appreciate the coveted views of the bay and expertly manicured grounds.
Yes, the cats will be residing in paradise but what I’m sure they’ll relish is having a secure place to live with a guarantee of daily meals and fresh, clean water while they help control rodents. For feral cats, I’d say that’s livin’ the dream.