Pets enrich our lives . . . if only they weren’t such a danger to our homes. There are roughly 78 million dogs owned in the U.S., and 86 million cats, according to the ASPCA. That’s a lot of fur shedding, door scratching, stains and unpleasant smells. The benefits of bringing a pet into your home far outweigh the hassles, but you can still (almost) have the best of both worlds. Make small pet-friendly changes and you will save money and time, while protecting the value and appearance of your home.
Keep Your Windows Intact
Leave a mischievous cat at home with your new drapes and you may find out exactly how much damage an animal can do in 20 minutes. Window coverings can be very expensive, easily ruined or pose a danger to your pet. For rambunctious dogs and curious cats, pull-string curtains and pooling drapes, or anything with bells and whistles are prime targets. If the animal gets caught and panics, the whole thing could come crashing down or pose a strangulation risk. Mini-blinds become easily damaged beyond repair and are not advised either.
Solution? CafÃ© curtains or fabric shades are a fur-friendly choice, inexpensive, and easy to find at retailers like Ikea and CountryCurtains.com. Look for curtain options that don’t have much to pull or chew on and can be thrown in the wash with a finger snap. Traditional window shutters also pose very little risk to pets, although they’re a generally more expensive.
Safe and Clean Floors
Damaged and dirty floors can’t be fixed with a new coat of paint, so carefully consider pet-friendly upgrades. For homes with dogs or cats, potential messes should be your major focus. Even if you try your best to clean up any accidents or litter box overflow immediatelyâ€”it’s an impossible task. Optimal floor solutions for pet owners include:
- Machine washable area rugs
- Tile, linoleum or Pergo wherever possible
- Hardwood floors sealed with polyurethane
DÃ©cor That Won’t Be Destroyed
You don’t have to forgo nice things to accommodate your pet, nor do you have to re-build your entire living space. If you’re really committed to your pets, you can have a company design and build entire rooms with secret compartments and ramps to the ceilings for cats to run around on. Bob Walker, the author of “A Cat’s House” had brightly colored cat ramps integrated into his homes preexisting dÃ©cor scheme. Walker also had a custom litter area made with a motion sensitive exhaust system. That might be more than most of us would be willing to invest, but options like a self cleaning litter box at petsafe.net, Petco, or other pet retailers, can work just as well at a fraction of the cost. The ASPCA offers some other home-saving, easy remodels for pet savvy homeowners:
- Install Dutch doors inside to keep pets out of rooms and avoid unsightly baby gates.
- Make your own folding cat perch under a window, you just need some wood and a hinge.
- Replace any plastic or lanyard screens with high quality metal screens. If you don’t your cats will destroy them and/or run away.
- Add a lift along the wall where food and water is dispensed to avoid damage and make cleaning easier.
About the author:
Thom is a real estate expert and blogger from West Palm Beach.