It isn’t just us hoomans who appreciate having personal space. While your furry friends may seem to want your attention most of the time, they do enjoy having a sanctuary to call their own.
Plus, if you’re spending a lot more time working at home, a clingy pet can disrupt your work flow. This is when you’ll want to consider dedicating a space just for it. Limiting your pet’s access to the rest of the house can also aid in preventing unwanted behaviors like chewing, barking, and potty accidents.
Establish the space
If you have a spare room, great. But if not, a pet zone doesn’t have to be huge. Allocate a nook where you can install a pet gate or set up a play pen. Choose a spot that is relatively quiet, and isn’t near any air conditioning or heating vent. Also avoid areas with direct sunlight that could heat up their beds and make it uncomfortable for them.
What to include
Cats and dogs
A litter box for your feline and pee pad for your pooch are essentials that will save you the hassle of cleaning, as well as food and water bowls (place mats if your pet’s a messy eater). Both cats and dogs sleep a large portion of the day so include comfy, snug beds. Keep the bed well away from the food bowl and litter box.
Feline friends will require scratching posts and cat trees. If you’re utilising an entire room and have extra funds, consider installing floating shelves and a variety of opportunities for climbing.
Boredom can lead to anxiety and stress. If you think you might have to leave your pets alone for a lengthy period of time, don’t forget to include interactive toys and treats, like the classic Kong toy. You can also buy a few and swap them out from time to time.
If you have birds, providing ample space for your bird to stretch its wings is of the highest importance. “Your enclosure should be as large as possible, so the bird can express its natural behaviour – which is to fly, ” says Dr Gill from SPCA.
Keep potentially hazardous household materials (adhesives, insecticides, cleaning products and the like) out of the way or on higher ground. Stow your children’s toys, shoes and other items you don’t want your pet to chew on away – or worse, swallow.
Cats are notorious for climbing and perching on window sills. Close or mesh up any windows to keep curious kitties from leaping on the ledge, especially if you live in a high-rise apartment, while still allowing them the view of the world outside.
And if you have a feathered buddy, keep windows secure, and ensure that fans don’t hinder it if you allow it to roam freely around the house. Birds get lead poisoning easily, too, so check that what they peck at is safe.
Create a stylish space
Your pet room doesn’t have to be blah. Dress it up to match the rest of your home decor! Think patterned mats and beds, or even Just keep the pricey rugs, carpets and other furnishings away. Shop for throws and products with stain-resistant and washable indoor-outdoor fabrics.
You can even consider wallpaper – but avoid textured types like fabric or ones made with natural fibres. You don’t want to entice your pets, especially the cats, into scratching it up. Alternatively, cover just the top half of the wall to create a chic contrast and keep it out of your pet’s way.
Houseplants are great for enlivening the space but beware of plants that are toxic to pets. These are safe for both cats and dogs:
Areca Palm (or Butterfly Palm)
Polka dot plant (this can cause mild digestive issues if ingested in large quantities)