How to make your home a haven for your cat or dog.
Americans love their pets—so much so that 79% of us would pass on purchasing our dream home if it didn't work for our four-legged family members, according to a recent survey on realtor.com But we can make a multitude of changes and renovations to our homes to make them more fun, friendly and comfortable for the pets we love. Here are a few ideas.
Litter box stations for cats.
Litter boxes are no picnic. They're messy, ugly, smelly, and they create an irresistible attraction for tiny toddlers and other pets to explore. The solution? Hide them away.
Hide a litter box in your bathroom vanity or under the sink—just clear out the space, cut out a small hole in the side of the cabinet or cabinet door, and let your cat slip in and out without scattering litter all over the bathroom floor.
Any built-in storage bench can be converted to do double duty—again, cut a cat-sized access doorway on the side of the bench. A hinged lid allows you to lift the top and remove the actual litter box for cleaning.
Feeding stations for cats and dogs.
Kitchens, where most pets are fed, are crowded places with plenty of foot traffic, and having dishes of food and water on the floor is often just another opportunity for spills and messes.
Built-in feeding station cabinets.
You can create a pet-specific feeding space by converting a standing cabinet into a top-to-bottom feeding station, with pet food and supplies stored in the cabinet above, and open space at the bottom for pet food dishes.
Pull out drawers.
Keep pet dishes out of sight by installing a pet dish drawer—open the cabinets and slide the drawer out with the pet dishes anchored inside. After your pets are done, just slide the drawer back in and close the doors or opt for a doorless design for even easier access.
A simple shelf with brackets is an easy way to elevate pet bowls and keep them off the floor. Elevated bowls can be beneficial for older, larger dogs by making it easier on the hips, neck, back, and shoulders as they eat. They can also be a perfect solution for keeping cat food out of the reach of the family dog if you have both pets—important not only because Kitty wants his dinner to himself, but it keeps dogs from getting sick by consuming too much protein-rich cat food.
Muddy feet, hairballs, potty training puppies—our floors take a beating when we have pets.
High-end, waterproof laminates are a durable, pet-friendly choice—they won't scratch like many kinds of wood (even hardwoods) and can be easily washed in case of muddy feet or accidents.
Some pets really need or prefer carpeting, especially older, larger dogs, as they can become shaky on their feet and find it hard to get up from slippery floors. Using carpet tiles (like those made by Flor) lets you create carpeted spaces as large as you like, from area rug–sized to an entire room. Each tile is removable for cleaning or can be replaced if it gets stained or destroyed.
Nothing beats a good place to curl up and snuggle—but pet beds aren't the most attractive. Ugly fabric and stinky stuffing can make them a less than beautiful focal point in a room. The solution? Build them into the decor.
The dead space under a staircase can be beautifully transformed into a cozy den for your dog. You'll need a skilled woodworker to create a doorway and finish out the under-stairs space before you stash Fido's bed beneath. Consider adding a gate or doorway so your pet can be safely crated there while you're out of the house.
Floating shelves or wall units can be converted to cat-friendly hangouts; line with carpet to prevent slipping and add a cozy bed option for high-in-the-sky snuggling.
It's the ultimate indulgence but adding a dog shower to your mudroom or laundry area can help save your bathroom from mud, hair, and scratch marks. A simple tiled area with a floor drain works, and then add a spigot with a hose and easy-to-use nozzle.
No matter how you choose to improve your home, pet-friendly modifications can not only keep your pets happy, but they can help keep your home cleaner, more clutter-free, and appealing to both the furry and human occupants—not to mention potential future buyers.