Welcome at Cat Cottage!

bobbi arbore

Hey there, this is Bobbi!
I’m an illustrator and designer, and I live at Cat Cottage. Yes, Cat Cottage is a real place! It’s a cosy little house in the countryside, not far from Lake Garda. Here, I draw, run my small business and rescue cats.

I’ve been an animal lover since I was born. My mum always told me my first proper word was Micio, which means kitty in Italian. This alone should have indicated something about my future. Still, everyone ignored these first few signs of a future cat lady. I went straight for it and began rescuing pets in elementary school.

During my childhood, I was either spending time with animals or drawing. I could sit for hours with pencils and paper, illustrating the stories in my head. My mum worked at a publishing company and brought me home beautiful illustrated books. I discovered the works of Beatrix Potter and Tasha Tudor, realizing it was possible to earn a living by drawing stories!

Illustrated books and comics ignited a passion for words, and I began reading novels very young. The titles of what I read were also clear hints of my inclinations, but the adults around me just tagged them as ‘childish’. I read Born Free, Life with Bears, all the Jack London’s, all the ‘Anne of Green Gables’, not to mention Pippi Longstockings, who was my style icon.

I craved adventures, freedom, time with animals, nature. I decided to make a living as an illustrator and live on a farm overlooking the lake, where I would save animals. But I was in downtown Milan.

I went on to study art and fashion design for reasons too long to explain here and then worked in a fashion company for some time. But the Pippi Longstocking, the Anne of Green Gables, The Moomins and Peter Rabbits were screaming and kicking inside me. And when you have Pippi Longstocking as a style icon, you cannot work in the fashion business and not feel like a total fish out of water. I needed to run away.

So when the fashion company I worked for went under, I took the ball and ran. I had no directions. I only knew my future new hometown had to be small. And the smaller, the better.

Ignoring all the signs I gave in the past, people reacted to my leaving Milan like: ‘Yeah yeah, move to the country, you’ll be back in a month’.
I’ve been here for 22 years.

‘Here’ is where I found a job in interior design and, six months later, Cat Cottage.

The first time I saw it, I didn’t believe my eyes. An ancient, pint-sized cottage with a massive garden, all for me! Next to an organic farm, no less! It wasn’t exactly how I pictured it in my childhood dreams, but it was close enough!

cat cottage design

When I arrived, my neighbour’s cat was the lone furball around. I started lending a hand to local animal groups, and before I knew it, folks were spreading the word about how I helped cats find their new families. In no time, I had a crew of kitties occupying my garden. I’ve been fostering cats ever since, finding forever homes for many and keeping others as part of the family. Some are indoor, while others have residency in the garden, depending on their personalities and health needs.

Cat Cottage is basically a five-star resort for cats. There are no cars, no predators, and my neighbours are big fans of our furries. So, if I come across cats who need help, I welcome them with open arms. And with an open wallet, too. Keeping up with these rascals can be pricey. Currently, I’ve got 25 furry tenants.

These furballs have pulled me through some rough patches. Cats and colours – they’re my therapy. Whenever I’ve felt blue, I cuddled a cat or picked up a paintbrush. Sometimes I’ve done both, and it’s always made things better.

After the design company went under, I tried my hand at running a shop for four years. I’ve had several bad ideas in my life, and this one is definitely in the top five. At times, it was more like a near-death experience than a business! I should’ve closed up that shit way sooner, but when I finally did, I made a pact with myself to honour my childhood dream.

I began publishing my drawings on different marketplaces, but it wasn’t enough. I wanted to offer and share the benefits cats and colours have always given me. So, I created this website, and here I am! Drawing and saving animals in the country, like I wanted as a kid.
Yes, those are cats and not lions or bears, this is not a farm – but it’s next door to one – and the lake is 20 km away. But I’m happy anyway.

Try to stick to the dreams you had as a child as much as you can. Children know what real happiness is.

Pippi Longstockings is still my style icon.


Illustrator and designer, mother of cats. powered by plants and chocolate. Former city girl, currently living in an old country house in the middle of nowhere.

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