It was bound to happen. Interior designers, builders and people with money who love their pets have come together like a supernova celestial event.
Forbes magazine has published an extraordinary piece by Jamie Gold that examines the lengths these populations will go to in making pets “happy.”
This new trend goes far beyond what some readers may have seen previously, which are end tables that are also Stickley-styled pet crates for confining pets while one is away.
Consider custom feeding stations built by cabinetmakers to accommodate the aged pet that eats lying down, or the cat that wants complete privacy while dining for just two examples. How about plumbing built over the water bowl for easy filling?
Let’s go a step further and consider custom furniture for pets. That’s right, the dimpled plastic your grandmother put on her sofa to guard against cat hair and make the rest of the family feel clammy is long gone. Now furniture is custom made to scale for the size of the pet. They are upholstered with specialized fabrics that are easy to clean. Even the interior padding is selected to be nontoxic should your pet become nervous and decide to dine on the material.
This column previously featured a discussion of pet windows built into otherwise solid fences. The holes are sized for what people assume is appropriate socialization with pets passing by but have welded steel wire mesh incorporated to prevent the canine equivalent of a face-to-face bar room brawl.
Some enterprising door makers have now taken that concept and built windows at canine and feline height so there can perhaps be daily meetups to discuss how crazy their owners are.
Ever hear the word “catio?” Rhymes with patio. Yep, you guessed it, an extension of the house specifically made for the cat to lounge about. Most times this is a window ledge in say a high-rise, but I’ll bet I can find one in California that is complete with a catnip tiki-style bar and some neighborhood kitties you could set your watch by when they visit.
Inside, your pet may not have VIP status and be able to cross the velvet rope. Since good bouncer help costs about $20 an hour now, builders have set up pocket door type exclusion gates with frosted glass inserts. They pull out of a cabinet and allow the pet to see motion through the glass.
That may work for kids and some pets, but my Boston terrier can stand behind the sofa and without a running start just jump to the top of a standard sofa like it wasn’t there. So much for the 30-inch slider in your cabinet.
Artificial turf for pets has been around for a while. Some even includes chemical treatments that compel the animal to eliminate on the plastic turf rather than on your vegetables. It’s hard to imagine that alleged pheromone lasting more than a season or two if at all but perhaps the pet gets used to the surface and it becomes a preference, odor or not.
Laundry rooms, according to Gold, have become a catch-all for pet amenities. Feeding stations, glass enclosed pet washing stations, floor-warmed places to dry off, and more abound. This all proves once again that if you want it and have the money, designers and builders will accommodate your wishes.
The best is perhaps the growing number of pet TV networks. Owners are building high-definition screens into “pet lounges” that are tuned to a variety of channels. Also included are music channels designed to soothe the pet.
Powell is the public information officer for the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, which provides this column as a community service. For questions or concerns about animals you’d like to read about, email [email protected]