Kate Benjamin: expert on designing cat-friendly homes

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Kate Benjamin–whom I suggested you could call a cat lady, though noting in this case, the term would be strictly intended as a compliment, given the scope of her expertise and the two feline-oriented bestselling books she’s co-written, as well as the 13 cats she lives with—returns to “Talking Animals.”

Benjamin acknowledges that she plays things case-by-case when deciding to reveal to new people she meets the number of cats occupying her two-bedroom condo (along with her husband).

She charts how her cat population grew to this number, explaining that she’s very involved with rescues and shelters in the Phoenix area, so kitties have landed there from TNR efforts and fostering—and many of those cats are too aggressive, or have other behavioral issues, to allow adoption placement. So those stayed with Benjamin. (Five of the 13 cats are jet black, typically the last to be adopted at shelters and rescues, if adopted at all.)

Benjamin presides over Hauspanther.com–a sprawling website showcasing an array of feline-oriented designs, accessories, other products, information, and other resources–Benjamin recounts how her passion for design merged with her passion for cats. Her ensuing blog led to, among other things, “My Cat From Hell” host Jackson Galaxy contacting Benjamin with an invitation to collaborate; they co-wrote two bestselling books, “Catification” and “Catify to Satisfy.”

Benjamin explains what it means to “catify” a living space, emphasizing the design elements involved, and the environment for feline dwellers it tends to cultivate. She points out that there is scientific literature and other forms of research that document the virtues of catifying various areas where cats reside.

She shares her litterbox strategies and techniques, favorite litters, boxes and other products—expertise and experience developed over many, many years of living with many, many cats—echoing a November profile of Benjamin published by The Washington Post. She concludes the conversation with a rather poetic answer to my inquiry about the best thing about sharing her home with 13 cats.