In 1919, Charles Erskine Scott Wood and Sara Bard Field purchased a beautiful 34-acre site overlooking Los Gatos to establish a refuge for their creative pursuits. Here they commissioned Robert Treat Paine to create two large statures to mark the entrance. The cat statues, complete in 1922, are made of cast concrete originally tinted a soft brown for a natural, unpainted appearance. Wood and Field retained architect Walter Steiberg to design their house, an Italian-inspired villa completed in 1925. The named the new home "The Cats."
C.E.S. Wood (1852-1944) graduated from West Point and served as aide-de-camp to General O.O. Howard in the Nez Perce War of 1877. Despite having met in battle, Wood and Chief Joseph, legendary leader of the Nez Perce, later developed a deep respect and personal friendship. Wood earned a law degree at Columbia University, resigned from the military, and settled in Portland, Oregon, with his wife, Nanny Moale Smith. A prominent attorney and cultural leader, he helped define the young city's identity. Wood was also an outspoken advocate of progressive causes. During this period, he met Sara Bard Field Ergot, who shared his progressive views.
Sara Bard Field (1882 - 1974) became active in the women's suffrage movement while living in Portland with her husband, Rev. Albert Ehrgott. In 1912, she helped lead a successful statewide campaign, winning the right to vote for Oregon women. In 1915, while living in San Francisco, she led a cross-country speaking tour, ultimately delivering a petition with over 500,000 signatures to President Woodrow Wilson. Five years later, women's right to vote was secured by the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Wood was a prolific published author and poet, as well as an accomplished painter. Field also became a recognized author and poet. They has a wide circle of friends, and The Cats became a gathering place for prominent artists, musicians, and intellectuals. They married here in 1934, and this remained their home throughout their years together. Field lived here until 1955.