About two thirds of people in America have a pet. Quite a few of those are cats or dogs, which is awesome. But it also means that tens of millions of people are also facing some pretty common pet challenges in the design of their space.
You love your pet. But aspects of its existence like kitty litter might be improved by being a little less obtrusive. And making it easier for your cherished little pal to move around your home (or outside your home) or take a mid-afternoon nap without getting fur all over your couch would not be a bad thing. Here are a few tips for designing a better pet space in your home.
Your pet’s sleeping place
Most dogs and cats like a cozy place to curl up that’s a little bit hidden away. Common areas are under the bed (where they can roll around in dustbunnies) or snuggled up under your desk (right next to all those chewed-up electrical cords). You can do better. How about a square “cubby hole” built into your shelving?
Or a cozy blanket and pillow laid out for them by a window, elevated so they don’t freeze from the cold floor? Maybe a “dog house” built into a wall or long cabinet? You’ve got options so you never have to make excuses for why your pet should sleep in your bed with you (unless you want it to – and that’s cool).
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Mealtime décor for your pet
Watching a pet slobber, gnaw, chew or gulp down their vittles kind of loses its appeal after a little while. To give your pet the discreet privacy that they deserve so you can eat without losing your own lunch, consider applying the cubby-hole principle to their eating area. Put their food or water dish in a small-closet sort of space built into your kitchen island or pantry.
If you want them to be part of the action, consider designating a part of your kitchen area just for them, perhaps next to a window so they can enjoy the meal with a view… even if we know they’re not going to look up from their food bowl until the thing is licked clean.
Who says your doggy door has to be built into an actual door? Sure, that’s an option – and a common solution to the problem of how to give your pet enough independence so they can run outside in an emergency if you’re not available to walk them at 2 am, or in the middle of the afternoon.
But there’s no rule that says you can’t build a door into a wall, say, below a window sill. Consider a doggy door for both the front and back to give the little guy the freedom to roam.
Make that litter box invisible
It’s not exactly a pleasant sight, and the odor can overpower even the most generous helping of potpourri. Since your pets don’t have opposable thumbs, you can’t keep the litter box behind a door, but you can at least obscure it. Again, the cubby-hole solution comes into play. Build a little “room” that opens out into the main bathroom, where you can store the litter box in a place that’s easy for you and your pet to access, but remains mostly out of sight when you or your guests come in. Or you could adapt an existing cabinet that otherwise fits in with your decor for a custom-made kitty litter area.
Making space for a member of your family
Making a home pet-friendly is about putting them front and center when they’re active and giving them discreet little spaces to carry out their basic functions that you don’t feel the need to monitor. You’ll appreciate your pets more and they’ll love having little spaces that they understand are “their territory”.