Cats may be the most refined of all house pets – they certainly beat out gerbils and dogs – but their aesthetic sense rarely matches that of their owners. Not when it comes to cat furnishings.
“A lot of what people get at Petco or the other major pet stores is not very aesthetically pleasing,” says Tom Davies, an artist and web designer turned furniture builder – for cats. “I want to give people something they’d like to see in their home as well as something the cat will like.”
Among his wares, all handmade entirely by himself, are his Post and Beam Cat House and his Googie Cat Bed.
“I started the business as more of a general home décor enterprise, furniture and artwork. But it wasn’t until I designed one of these cat houses that people really took notice,” Davies says. “So focus is on that now.”
Each piece he designs is tested by the family cat, Doug. “He’s my user group,” Davies says.
Davies, who is married to Cindy Olnick, communications director for the Los Angeles Conservancy, is very much part of the mid-century world, furnishing his “plain old 1963 house” in the style and attending conservancy events, where he sometimes volunteers.
So far, his cat furniture is available only through his website. A Baltimore cat shelter has bought a Googie Cat Bed and one of his pieces will be auctioned off to benefit feral cats in Oregon.
In the works are even more ambitious architectural settings for the family feline. “The next will be a parabolic roof cat bed,” Davies says, “like the visitor center at Palm Springs,” which was originally designed as a gas station by Albert Frey.
“I’m starting with the modern stuff because that is the stuff I particularly like. I can see a takeoff on Fallingwater,” he says, mentioning the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. “That kind of thing.”