We decided to take the scenic route from Asheville to head home. This was a good choice! Otherwise we might have missed the American Museum of the House Cat located in an antique mall in Sylva, NC, which is about an hour from Asheville.

American museum of the house cat
Cat Museum…. yes, please

The $10 admission is for a good cause.

It goes to support the Catman 2 Shelter. It is a local no-kill, cage-free cat shelter run by an 82-year old man whose feline artifacts fill the cat museum.

It was founded by Dr. Harold Sims, a retired college professor who wanted to share his extensive collection of cat-related items with the public.

American Museum of the House Cat
American Museum of the House Cat

The cat museum has over 5,000 cat-related items, including antique cat toys, rare cat-themed art pieces, vintage cat advertisements, and even ancient cat artifacts that trace the history of the domestic cat back thousands of years.

One of the museum’s goals is to educate visitors about the history, culture, and art surrounding domestic cats, as well as their role in human societies throughout history.

Inside the cat museum
American Museum of the House Cat

The collection is one of the largest of its kind in the United States, offering an intriguing and in-depth look at the relationship between humans and cats over the ages.

Inside the museum, you’ll find a feline frenzy.

There are no (live) cats, but plenty of ceramic ones, a few skeletons, pinball machine, merry-go-round, music box, cat TV, and all sorts of crazy cat lady (or in this case, crazy cat man) accoutrements.

You’ll find curio cabinet after curio cabinet filled with historic cat items, along with a helpful museum staff person to explain them all to you.

Cat curio cabinet at American museum of the house cat
Cat curio cabinet

I wasn’t kidding about the cat skeleton. This one is petrified (and not of a dog). It is a petrified medieval cat.

Medieval Petrified Cat
Medieval Petrified Cat

And for the kids, how about a historic merry-go-round cat with a bird in its mouth? How come they don’t make them like this anymore?

Carousel Cat at American museum of the house cat
Carousel Cat

Documentary about the Museum

The American Museum of the House Cat was featured in a short documentary. It details the love that that Dr. Sims (the founder of the cat museum) feels for cats. The film has been shown at cat festivals and museums across the country.

See the short documentary below.

YouTube video

Location of the American Museum of the House Cat

The museum is located in the Smoky Mountains, near Cherokee, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg.

The exact location is on the Google map below. It might make a fun stop on your roadtrip!

Final Thoughts on American Museum of the House Cat

The American Museum of the House Cat is a fun roadside attraction. Plus, the entrance fee goes to a good cause at a no-kill animal shelter.

The next time you’re in the Asheville area, plan to stop by!