City Government

Mystry Of Dora’s Cathouse


For the past five years or so, an old house on the northeast corner
of Dora and Harrison Boulevard has remained empty, sort of. No signs of human habitation, but signs of fresh cat food.

According to neighborhood lore, the elderly woman who once lived there left it to
her cats, to be fed from the reserves in her estate as long as any cats stayed
alive. A relative purportedly keeps feeding them (I guess from the inheritance.) I had been noticing since the onset of Spring that the property was descending into jungle.

According to the Boise P&Z office, this property has had several complaints from neighbors
about the overgown weeds and shrubs, an obvious fire hazard. Someone recently mowed the weeds and decimated the shrubs. I was told that the city allows one to keep an empty house on property in the city as long as it is properly maintained. (Not sure of the parameters.) With plenty of cats, there are probably few mice! The owner claimed to P&Z that someone visits the house twice a day, but if they do, it’s pretty invisible.

Few years ago, I spoke with the friendly former resident when I was out walking–she said she had a lot of cats. I’ve no idea how many, but I could see a lot of them crowding near the porch screen
where she stood during our conversation.

Since her passing, the cats have no access to anywhere in the house where they could be
seen from outside. P&Z said that there had been three offers to buy the property, offers not accepted. If it ever sells, some say that the house would have to be completely torn down. It could
never be occupied again by anyone, as cat urine no doubt pervades everything.

Sic transit gloria mundi, (“Thus passes the glory of the world”) but I wonder about the condition of the cats left behind, cut off from human contact and even watching the outside world, haunting the old house like ghosts of a former life.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. A five gallon bucket of KILZ and a good mop will take care of the odor. May take a day or two to dry but it will do the job on just about any odor issue in a subfloor.
    Of course you have to get rid of all floor coverings down to the wood subflooring before you mop on the KILZ.

  2. I adopted a cat from that lady about 25 years ago to keep my dog company. What a shame to have the house fall apart and the remaining cats unsocialized. They surely are breeding like rabbits and the new kittens, if not exposed to human contact, will be feral and unable to bond. Doesn’t sound like a good situation to me.

  3. How does the cat food get to the cats? Someone must be taking it inside, hence at least a little human contact.
    And how does one open a door to a room or rooms with umpteen cats inside without having at least half an umpteen scoot our the door? (Not easy to do with even just two cats inside.)

    Also, I believe Boise has a law about how many cats can be kept in a house. Unless all those that were left there originally were spayed and neutered, there’s gotta be a whole heap of the critters by now.

    Plus, after five years, there’s gotta be a few dead ones, just on the law of averages. (No stink complaints from the neighbors?)

    Hmmm. Very strange.

  4. Sam the sham
    Jul 31, 2008, 9:23 am

    As Gordon observed, cats do age and pass on. So if the cats have been neutered, they decline in number, but if one is receiving a stipend for feeding them, would one continue to “feed” the cats even if there was only one – or – none?
    Certainly someone is keeping track of this situation as Dora would have realized that someday the last of her beloved cats would be joining her. What was her provision for her house at that point?
    Note: people are buying up perfect little north end homes and razing them all of the time (just to put up a “modern” look alike (kinda) cottage, only larger.

  5. There are no cats living in the house, just a couple cats that hangout around the bushes in the back and are fed by retired people from the aprtments to the north. No smell either. The owner does indeed visit the home twice a day. Kind hearted neighbors(not me)mowed the grass and brush. The home is still owned by a descendant of the original owner/builder and has no intent of letting it leave the family. She plans to move in one day soon.

    EDITOR NOTE–Thanks Neighbor for the update. It is great the way we all get “linked” by the internet–and the GUARDIAN.

  6. Wow!
    Somebody with some actual facts sure shuts down a discussion!
    (Wonder if that will happen on any of the other subjects.)

  7. Let freedom ring.

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