CHARLOTTE, N.C. — If you are looking for places to explore this summer, consider visiting a local museum.

North Carolina is home to hundreds of them. However, only one is considered to be the “cat’s meow.” The American Museum of the House Cat is in Jackson County, and some say it is the perfect place for cat lovers.

What You Need To Know

  •      The American Museum of the House Cat is in Sylva, North Carolina

  •      It houses thousands of pieces from Dr. Harold Sims’ international cat collection, which he started 30 years ago

  •      Admission $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12, and proceeds benefit the Catman 2 Shelter

Within minutes of meeting Dr. Harold Sims, you’ll discover his love for cats. He reads about them. He wears images of them. He also surrounds himself with them.

"Well, I've always liked cats. I never had a cat until I got to be about 10 to 12 years old, maybe older than that," Dr. Sims said.

His attraction to felines and their history eventually evolved into this unique space called the American Museum of the House Cat.

The museum opened in 2017, and for this now 88-year-old former college professor, it was a dream come true.

Every inch of the building displays pieces of his international cat collection that he started 30 years ago. It includes everything from paintings and carousels to pottery, books and music about cats. Even the bathroom is covered in cat images.

Sims believes this is the only cat museum of its kind here in the U.S. Hundreds of people have headed to the site to take a catwalk through the aisles to learn more about house cats and their impact on society. Sims hopes the curiosity continues.

"They hear about how wonderful it is, and that's good. It is wonderful,” Sims said. “I've done a lot of work on this thing. I’ve spent most of my life, you might say, getting this thing going, and I want it to go on." 

Admission to the American Museum of the House Cat costs $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Proceeds benefit the Catman 2 Shelter. It is a no-kill, cage free cat shelter in Cullowhee.