This article was previously published July 11, 2014, and was updated on April 11, 2022
Making your home a pet friendly space
For many people, pets are not just cute little animals that occasionally enhance the quality of their lives; they are members of the family. For these people, it is just as important that their home considers the comforts not just of the human family members, but the animal ones too.
For the animal’s comfort
Pet friendly homes should not be designed purely for aesthetic considerations alone. While it is important that a home looks good, a pet can become stressed if they feel uncomfortable; they may develop neuroses, such as excessive grooming causing skin problems, or worse still, take an opportunity to leave and not come back. Most domestic pets respond well to routines and will therefore feel most comfortable if they have a designated place to sleep and eat. Cats will sleep anywhere, as the poem said, but dogs may benefit from a basket placed in a corner of the living room, or a cubbyhole fitted with a blanket in the kitchen.
Decorating a pet friendly home
The first design element to consider is the floor. Animals can be mucky creatures, so carpet is not a good choice for the flooring. Far better to have a floor that can be cleaned easily and quickly, such as laminate or hardwood flooring, or ceramic or vinyl tiles. To add a spot of warmth to floors, throw a colorful rug down.
Paint is always a good choice for the walls as it can be easily touched up if a pet does put a muddy paw on it. If the pet is a cat, avoid textured wallpaper on the walls. To a cat, this serves the same function as a scratching post, and wallpaper will soon become torn by their claws.
In regards to pet friendly furniture, the same principle as floors applies. Pets will undoubtedly emulate their human owners and decide their place is on the sofa, but their coats and paws can cause a great deal of damage to fabric upholstery, not to mention the dirt they will leave behind. Leather sofas make an excellent choice for homes with pets as they can be wiped clean, and small scratches can be rubbed away with the use of a buffer. Alternatively, opt for seating which has removable, washable covers.
Cats and dogs love to see what is happening in the world outside the home, and windows can be tricky for people with pets. Those above ground level pose particular problems as cats can fall out of windows (definitely not pet friendly!), and despite their reputation for always falling on their feet, they may hurt themselves or worse. A good way to prevent this happening is to install fitted shutters which still allow a room to be aired and illuminated, but will act as a barrier.
Pet food on show in the kitchen can look unsightly; a recent innovation is to have the kick space beneath kitchen cabinets adapted so that it opens to reveal a sliding shelf that holds the dishes. This can then be pushed back and hidden once the pet has finished eating to keep the kitchen tidy.
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