Erin Cornelius loves the house she bought five years ago, but she didn’t buy it just for her own enjoyment.
“The reason I bought a house was that I was never going to be able to find an apartment that was going to let me have all the animals that I had at the time I was moving out,” Cornelius says.
Currently, she has a dog, a bunny and a few cats inside her home, but she also takes care of feral cats in her neighbourhood.
She says having a house gives her the freedom to trap, fix and release feral cats on her property and be involved in animal rescue by taking in stray cats and rabbits. A front room serves as a safe space for the ferals she takes in.
“When I bring in feral cats from colonies that need socialization or quarantine, they go in here, and they have their own little space.”
She doesn’t ignore features catering to human comfort, though. Cornelius renovated most of her home – which was built in 1911 – after moving in, including completely redoing the kitchen. She did, however, keep some of the house’s quirky elements, like the silver garage with bike plates nailed above the door.
1) Ladybugs “They come in every fall, and they cluster in probably 50 to 100 up there. But you have to get them out of your house, otherwise they die there. Because it’s too warm in the house over winter,
they don’t hibernate effectively.”
2) Record player “My record player was given to me by my dad. He runs a bluegrass label. He’s probably the one who got me into music.”
3) Shelf of CDs “I kind of wish they were records. But they’re, like, half the price of records.”
4) Feral cat homes “I probably get between six or seven cats that come and go. When a new one comes, I fix them and put them back out.”
5) Tools on fence “They were just there. I don’t know. This guy collected stuff, and he has this wall of torture tools.”
6) Bedroom “This top floor was just like plywood and even the walls were particle board. So we put in drywall, and I did a really terrible job of mudding and drywalling.”
Published in Volume 71, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 20, 2016)