A recent renovation of a Windsor Terrace townhouse featured in The Cut included revamps that benefited not only the homeowners, but also their cats. In addition to brightening the space and updating the kitchen, the couple's architect installed bookshelves along one wall with beveled tops that the cats can use as tracks, and trap doors at the highest points to provide feline-sized entry points to rooms on the second floor.
The large-scale project looks like it was a pricey one, though, which got us wondering about cheaper, quicker, and easier-to-get-by-the-landlord changes that New Yorkers can make to delight their animal companions. Read on for five (relatively) affordable and pet-pleasing enhancements.
A cocoon for the cat
Cats often seek out enclosed spaces, a tendency that animal behaviorists believe is for warmth, a sense of safety from predators, and a good hiding spot from which to pounce. Rather than leave cardboard boxes lying around to indulge your cat, consider a more aesthetically appealing cocoon. Meyou Paris, for instance, sells furniture for "the discerning cat," including minimalist cubes, balls, and beds for felines to nestle in, starting at 79 euros. (Don't worry, they deliver to the U.S.) The cocoons, made from yarn and in neutral shades, look like modernist design objects, and are small enough to fit in the corner of a New York studio.
On the catwalk
The company CatastrophiCreations offers cat shelves, bridges, hammocks, scratching posts, and custom-built furniture that the company promises can be mounted to the will within a half hour with a power drill and stud finder. Prices range from $30 for a simple shelf to $690 for a "PacMan Cat Complex."
Hide the litter box
No one wants to look at a litter box in the living room, but it can be tough to find an out-of-sight space in a small apartment where you can stash one. Luckily, discreet covers abound. The Refined Feline sells litter box cabinets that look like elegant end tables for $199, and Wayfair has a wide selection of cheaper models. If you're the handy type, you can take a DIY approach and make your own litter box enclosure out of existing furniture or a cheap cabinet from IKEA. HGTV offers a how-to guide here.
Make a feeding station
In small spaces it's also tough to find somewhere to store massive bags of pet food, and leaving them out could mean attracting pests and taking up valuable floor area. Again, custom furniture comes in handy here. Grandin Road makes a cabinet with a kibble compartment that tilts outward, room for two bowls, and additional shelves on top for toys and treats ($299). Or, again, there's the DIY route: Buzzfeed compiled a number of tutorials for building feeding stations, including an turning an old suitcase into a container for dog food bowls.
Upgrade the garden
If you're lucky enough to have some outdoor space, there are all sorts of ways to make it nice for your dog or cat. The Spruce writes about one couple who turned their terrace into a dog-friendly garden using just lumber, artificial grass, and some plants. At the less labor-intensive end of the spectrum, you can landscape your outdoor or indoor space with some of the pet-friendly plants, including ones from this Lifehacker list. Spider plants, for example, are non-toxic to pets and fairly easy to care for.
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