It all started back in 1988 when Peter Cohen bought the house he currently lives in, which came with two outdoor feral cats.
Shortly after he started taking care of them outside, one of them was hit by a car, and unfortunately died. The second cat was hit by a different cat in another incident, but thankfully he survived.
He decided from then on to keep the cat inside and make the interior of his home as exciting as out in the wild.
Peter Cohen explained how one cat became many, saying:
“And then to get her company because the other one had been killed, we went to the shelter and adopted a couple of cats”
“A couple of cats“
By 2014, Cohen had 15 cats living in his home with him and his two roommates.
Some of the cat’s colorful names were; Cheesecake, Chocolate, Nutter, Butter, Crumple, Rumple, Cookie, Poppy-seed, Kuro, Noui, Secret, Wasabi, Coffee-bean, and Donut.
Each one of them was a rescue and with so many cats to attend to, the house needed a serious upgrade.
Peter’s home was continually open to any cat in need, and as the years passed, more and more felines settled there.
It has to be a great place if cats want to live there!
For the love of cats
Five years later, Peter was still offering his home to cats in need, but now he also had a mission. That noble mission was to help raise funds for Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) research in the hope of finding a cure for the disease.
In 2015, Peter adopted a cat named Peanut-who was diagnosed with FIP, and only lived for five more days after her diagnosis.
That same year, he discovered that a kitten he had just adopted named Miss Bean also had FIP.
She did not survive long either, but thanks to Peter’s renown for taking care of cats, he was able to get Miss Bean onto a drug trial at UC Davis for the disease.
Strides have been made in FIP research since Miss Bean and Peanut passed, and Smokey the cat is a testament to that.
Smokey was also diagnosed with FIP, but thankfully the treatment which was sadly ineffective for Miss Bean, worked for him and he is alive and healthy to this very day.
This hope of effective treatment spurred Peter on to establish his charity ZenByCat and the FIP Warrior Club.
Smokey the original FIP Warrior is now joined by over 800 cats who were cured of FIP thanks to ZenByCats.
30 years ago, Peter Cohen started taking care of two feral cats that lived in the garden of his new home.
Now he is making sure that cats live out their nine lives by advocating for FIP treatment and research.