It had to happen. Interior designers, builders and wealthy people who love their pets have come together like a celestial supernova event.
Forbes magazine has published an extraordinary article by Jamie Gold that examines how far these populations will go to make pets “happy”.
This new trend goes far beyond what some readers may have seen before, which are end tables that are also Stickley-style pet crates to confine pets while they’re away.
Consider custom feeding stations built by cabinet makers to accommodate the senior pet that eats lying down or the cat that wants complete privacy while dining for just two examples. How about plumbing built into the water bowl for easy filling?
Let’s take it a step further and consider custom pet furniture. That’s right, the plastic honeycomb your grandma put on her couch to protect herself from cat hair and make the rest of the family sweaty is long gone. Now the furniture is custom made to the scale of the animal’s size. They are covered with specialist fabrics that are easy to clean. Even the interior padding is selected to be non-toxic should your pet get nervous and decide to dine on the material.
This column previously featured a discussion of pet windows built into otherwise strong fences. The holes are sized for what people assume is proper socialization with passing pets, but have welded steel wire mesh incorporated to prevent the canine equivalent of a face-to-face fight in a bar.
Some enterprising door makers have now embraced this concept and built canine and feline height windows so that perhaps there can be daily get-togethers to discuss the craziness of their owners.
Have you ever heard the word “catio?” Rhymes with terrace. Yes, you guessed it, an extension of the house specially designed for the cat to bask in. Mostly it’s a window sill in, say, a high-rise, but I bet I can find one in California that’s complete with a catnip tiki-style bar and neighborhood kittens you can set your watch to when they visit.
Inside, your pet may not have VIP status and may be able to step over the velvet rope. Since a good bouncer’s helper costs around $20 an hour now, builders have implemented drop-door type exclusion doors with frosted glass inserts. They come out of a cabinet and allow the animal to see the movement through the glass.
It might work for kids and some pets, but my Boston terrier can stand behind the couch and without a running start, just jump up off a standard couch like he’s not. the. So much for the 30-inch slider in your cabinet.
Artificial grass for pets has been around for quite some time. Some even include chemical treatments that force the animal to eliminate on the plastic turf rather than your vegetables. It’s hard to imagine the so-called pheromone lasting more than a season or two, if at all, but maybe the animal gets used to the surface and it becomes a preference, smell or not.
According to Gold, laundry rooms have become a catch-all for pet amenities. Feeding stations, glassed-in wash stations for pets, heated places on the ground to dry off, and more abound. All this proves once again that if you want it and have the money, designers and builders will fulfill your wishes.
Perhaps the best is the growing number of pet television networks. Owners build high-definition screens in “pet lounges” that are tuned to a variety of channels. Also included are music channels designed to soothe the animal.
Powell is the public information officer for Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which provides this column as a community service. For questions or concerns about animals you would like to read, email [email protected]