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Purrrfect Day Trip: House Cat Museum

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Purrrfect Day Trip: House Cat Museum

Discover Sylva’s “American Museum Of the House Cat”

DSC_7392I had heard whispers of it blowing in the wind and yes, it’s true – There is a respective “heaven” for us crazy cat lovers called “The American Museum of the House Cat”, located just south of Sylva.

It was opened on April 1 by an incredibly knowledgeable (as I found out on the tour) retired junior college biology teacher Dr. Harold Sims, who has a heart just as big as his collection of cat memorabilia shared with his wife Kay.

Dr. Sims is also the owner of Catman2, a cat only no kill shelter in Cullowhee. Your $5 admission fee goes directly to helping the shelter.

I can’t begin to describe the awe I felt walking into the museum when I saw the amount of cat dolls, cat paintings, cat advertisements, cat steins, cat carnival toys and even carousel cats which are very rare indeed! Walking around the museum taking each piece in one by one is a delight and I highly recommend not missing any of them but the real treat is being guided by Dr. Sims. We were fortunate enough to walk in just as he was beginning a tour and were stunned by his stories. He knows the history of every piece and it was fascinating.

DSC_7397He’s been collecting for about thirty years, and there’s only about a quarter of his art actually in the museum. The rest are at his home and at Catman2. There are antique cat lamps, a working “Bad Cat” pinball machine, Disney art, cat toys and figurines from the mid to early 1800’s, a huge wooden cat (someone painted over it causing it to lose it’s antique value but it’s still very impressive), and a mummified medieval cat. There’s a poster of a cat passed out under a stool surrounded by beer cans. The caption reads, “Rocky Mountain High” and strangely, it reminded me of my brother.

I even recognized a few things from my childhood which kinda choked me up. As I spoke with Harold’s assistant, Kelly, we discovered that we both had the same set of cat sheets when we were little that Harold had on display. Once a crazy cat person, always a crazy cat person!

“The American Museum of the House Cat” is a must-do in the 828. Tt’s only the second museum in the nation devoted to cats. If you’re a history buff it’s worth every minute, and if you’re a cat lover your heart will explode and once you see the effort that went into making this museum a reality. You’ll want to share its magnificence with everyone you know!

DSC_7387Remember, when you do, every dollar goes to the Catman2 no kill shelter. The Museum is open 10 am to 5 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 Sundays.

Piper Phynnie

On a quest for all things "left of center" I love a good quirk. I'm a weekend rock chick on 105.9 the Mountain, I have two 4-footed fuzzies (cats) and one 2-footed fuzzy (the hubbs). I dig a good trivia night, love me some yoga, coffee and good cider. I've been known to cut a rug a time or two and am at my best when I'm left to my own creative devices which usually leaves me covered in glitter.

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