Mariano, a Persian cat, appeared unimpressed as he gazed down on bustling Franklin Avenue from inside a home — a concrete temple, really — that Lloyd Wright dreamed up when he wasn’t busy designing orchestra shells for the Hollywood Bowl.
Likewise, Mariano didn’t seem to care that, as he groomed his stone-grey coat, he was sitting near the very same fireplace where Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Beckinsale filmed a scene for the 2004 movie “The Aviator.”
And when it all got to be too much, Mariano escaped to a narrow passageway hidden behind the living room bookshelf, connecting to a basement where many believe the Black Dahlia murder took place.
It’s fitting that Mariano roams freely through the $4.7 million-dollar landmark Sowden House. Because if it wasn’t for the 10-year-old cat, his owner, Dan Goldfarb, wouldn’t have had the motivation or the means to buy the infamous Los Feliz property.
Goldfarb made his money selling cannabis products for pets.
“Our goal was not to start a business or proselytize cannabis or anything else,” said the 42-year-old New York City native, who talks fast and rarely sits down. “Our goal was to help animals.”
Thousands of customers across the country say his Canna-Pet products have done just that. But Goldfarb says he’s just getting started.
As part of an ongoing mission to educate people about cannabis, Goldfarb and his wife, Jenny Landers, have started opening the landmark Sowden House for marijuana-friendly events and fundraisers that support causes close to their hearts.
“I just feel like this house is meant to be shared,” Landers said.
And it all started with a sick Persian cat.
Goldfarb has been a cat lover for as long as he can remember. And he’s had a love affair with cannabis since he started studying film, media and economics at MIT when he was just 17.
He was consuming marijuana recreationally then. But at the time, in the early 1990s, his prestigious university was also on the forefront of studying how cannabis actually works in the body. And even as he went on to pursue a career in computers, the plant’s potential stuck with him.