Troy Good, 43, is paying $1,500 per month to rent a San Jose apartment for his daughter's cats, Tina and Louise, in a scenario that has been called "peak Silicon Valley."
Good's 18-year-old daughter couldn't bring the cats to live with her in her dorm when she began her freshman year at Azusa Pacific University outside of Los Angeles. But Good didn't want the cats staying in his new apartment, either, because he was concerned they'd gang up on his fiancée's dog.
So instead of putting them up for adoption, Good, a custom furniture designer, came up with another idea. He asked his friend David Callisch if the cats could move into the unoccupied, 400-square-foot studio behind his home, and Callisch, who was about to list the property on Airbnb, agreed.
"Basically I've got two renters that don't have opposable thumbs," Callisch tells the Mercury News. "It's actually great. They're very quiet, obviously. The only problem is they stink up the place."
Tina and Louise, named after characters on the FOX animated show "Bob's Burgers," don't have a kitchen, but they do have a bathroom, a shower and Apple TV. Of all their amenities, the residents get the most use out of their cat tree.
Callisch and Good come by to feed them, and Good's daughter visits when she's on break. She plans to take them with her back to school once she moves out of the dorms.
The cats might not know it, but their apartment is prime real estate. The Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. The median home value in San Jose is over $1 million and you need to make about $274,000 a year to afford an "average" home there, according to financial website How Much. If you opt to rent instead of buy, you could spend an average of $2 million over the course of 35 years.
Thanks in part to exorbitant housing costs, 26,000 people were homeless in the Bay Area last year, according to real estate database Zillow.
"While this story is funny," says Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination Home, a Santa Clara-based organization that seeks to end homelessness, "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."
Callisch acknowledges the issue, too, and says he feels bad about having to waste living space on animals. "It's difficult because there is so much homelessness and there's so much disparity in incomes in this Valley, and it's hard," he tells San Francisco Bay-area TV station KPIX. "One person can't solve those problems."
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