What Started Tony Collecting Cat's Meows?

He doesn't look a day over 35, but avid Ohio State fan, Tony Okuley, has been collecting Cat’s Meows for over 29 years. “I got started collecting in 1987, recalled Tony, “I was working in food service at the time, and a banquet group used Cat’s Meows as centerpiece decorations. After the banquet, they let everyone, including us workers, take them home!” That one piece started Tony’s passion for the Village!


Tony with OSU fan and friend, "Big Nut"

Tony at an OSU football game with "Big Nut"


Tony's Ohio State Cat's Meow Collection displayed on Cat's Meow ladders in his home.

Tony's prized Ohio State Collection fits purrfectly on a Cat's Meow ladder.


Tony says he has a problem choosing a favorite Cat’s Meow from his collection.

But if he were forced to make a choice he would definitely pick his Ohio State University and Halloween Collections as his favorites.

His collection of Ohio State University pieces was growing rapidly and Tony was wondering how to display them all together in his home. The answer came when he attended a Cat’s Meow Open House at the factory a few years back. He saw the ladder shelves, took some measurements, and they were the perfect fit for his wall and his collection. In the meantime Tony has purchased a few more ladders to hold his ever-expanding collection.


More of Tony's Cat's Meow displays in his home.

Tony brings out his North Pole Collection during the Christmas season.


The collections, especially the Ohio State ones, get a great deal of attention.

When friends and acquaintances visit his home, they are drawn to Tony's Cat's Meow displays. “They all seem to have their own favorite”, recounts Tony. “My Cat's Meows are always an attention grabber.”

Tony also loves the Christmas, Santa, and North Pole Collections. As the seasons and months change, so does Tony’s displays.

“I really enjoy my collection,” continues Tony, “but there is nothing like finding one you have been looking for and making that purchase!” For older retired Cat’s Meows, Tony searches sites like eBay or sifts through antique stores.


Living room above the door where Tony displays his first Cat's Meows.

A doorway ledge is reserved for Tony's very first purchases.


Tony has multiple displays of Cat’s Meows throughout his home.

These include the living room, hallway, kitchen, bedroom, above doors, tables, and more. About his kitchen display, Tony says, “When people walk in the back door this is the first view they get of my Cat's Meow.  I love that ledge, I change the Cat's Meow out quite a few times a year to showcase different ones.”


Tony's kitchen display of Cat's Meows

Tony's kitchen display greets everyone who enters through his back door!


To say the least, Tony has really enjoyed collecting his Cat’s Meow over the past 29 years! And the Village continues to be a highlight of his day, something that brings a peace and flood of memories when he glances at them as he moves throughout his home.


How about you? Do you have a unique way you’ve displayed Cat’s Meows in your home? How does your Cat’s Meow story begin?


We’d love to hear from you…and share your story, too! Give us your comments below!




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I used to have them over all the windows and doors in my home and had a large chair rail also and I have the ladders. His displays are wonderful and I'm sure he gets lots of comments about them. I have quite a few older pieces of Ohio - especially the Amish pieces - sitting in boxes since we downsized.

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