SAN JOSE, Calif. • Looking to make some extra cash, David Callisch found perfect tenants for the $1,500-a-month studio apartment behind his Willow Glen home. A pair of cats.
“Basically, I’ve got two renters that don’t have opposable thumbs,” Callisch said. “It’s actually great. They’re very quiet, obviously. The only problem is, they stink up the place.”
The rent is paid by 43-year-old Troy Good, who couldn’t abandon his daughter’s pets but also couldn’t keep them in his new apartment.
It’s a situation that perhaps could only come about in Silicon Valley, where rents are astronomical and residents treat their pets like children, feeding a booming demand for amenities such as pet-friendly offices, doggy day care and pet massage clinics.
“While this story is funny, it really does highlight the tremendous inequity in the Silicon Valley,” said Jennifer Loving, CEO of Destination Home, an organization working to end homelessness in Santa Clara County. “We have thousands of people on our streets, and we’re paying to make sure that our cats have a place to live.”
Callisch says he does feel bad wasting living space on animals, as scarce housing in the Bay Area drives prices through the roof and forces residents to live in cars, RVs and tents. But to help his friend, he took the offer.
“It’s just a weird thing that happened, that’s all,” he said.
Good and his cats got a decent deal. An average studio apartment in San Jose rents for $1,951 a month.
Good adopted Tina and Louise as kittens for his now 18-year-old daughter, Victoria Amith. The tiny, inseparable duo grew into huge cats. Amith thinks they’re Maine Coon and Bombay mixes, and her father says they weigh about 20 pounds each. The cats, whom Amith named after characters on the animated TV show “Bob’s Burgers,” still sleep snuggled together in the same bed.
Amith is devoted to them, even creating an Instagram account to document their antics (@Tina — and — Louise). But she couldn’t take them to the dorm at Azusa Pacific University. About that time, Good moved into a new apartment in San Jose with his fiancee and her dog. The animals didn’t get along.
Meanwhile, Callisch was getting ready to rent his granny unit. Good thought, why not rent it for the cats? They moved in over the summer.
“They definitely have the nicest cat apartment in Silicon Valley,” Good said.
Callisch pops into the “casita” every day to feed and play with the cats. Good stops by regularly, and Amith visits on her breaks from school.