Fur, feathers and fins

When I work with clients to design rooms for their homes, I must always think of ALL of the household residents. I interview everyone to make sure I choose furniture to the right scale, layouts to the rooms needs and fabrics to the right degree of sturdiness. I want all of the rooms I design to be really livable within their respective homes and feel like a natural extension of the client’s lifestyle.

While I want the humans to enjoy their home, I also must make sure I respect the needs of their pets for each room, too. Does your dog sleep on the sofa? Then I need to choose an easily washable fabric. Does your cat stretch out on the window sill? Then I shouldn’t block the window sill with a blind or shade type of window treatment.

Image courtesy of guzer.com

My job includes learning about the family pet preferences and making the design fit in around them as needed. For example, I had never considered all of the idiosyncrasies of kitty sunbathing until I started working in interior designs and had to understand how the sunlight tracked across a family room. As one of my mentors used to laughingly say, “Don’t be afraid of picking a rug that matches the dog hair.”

Along the way I have picked up sources for many great pet supply websites, so I thought I would share them with you today. Some of them may be known to you and others may be new. As an animal lover myself, I share out of appreciation for all the different pets I get to visit in my work. Cold nose = warm heart in my experience!

ALL PETS

These sites are great for a large variety of products for lots of different types of pets. Two of these sites also have great storefront locations in many communities.

  • Petsmart.com: A popular site great for all sorts of pets, they have great sales throughout the year that allow for significant savings for many types of pet supplies. Some store front locations also offer grooming, training and some boarding options for dogs.
  • Petco.comThis site also carries a large variety of items for all types of pets, with lots of storefront locations. They have a great online “Repeat Delivery” system of pet food and supply ordering. You list your pet’s food and supply needs and choose how often you would like to have it delivered (every month, every two weeks, your preference) and it ships automatically to you. You can adjust your products and  delivery schedule any time. Great for busy schedules!

    "Casbah Parakeet/Cockatiel Cage", available in two color options, ships FREE from petstreetmall.com

  • Petstreetmall.comThis is an online only business that caters to dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, fish and “small animals”, which translates to anything furry that scurries or hops. (Note: their reptile section is still “under development”.) They have a great policy that order over $50 ships FREE to your front door. If you have ever lugged a very heavy bag of dry dog food or kitty litter to your car, you probably already see the value in this deal!
  • Petcarriers.comThis site carries over 300 types of carriers in many sizes, including airline-approved travel bags, travel crates, pet barriers, seat covers, travel seats, pet strollers, pet bike trailers and pet bike baskets. I like that you can shop by price on this site, which can help you stay on budget without sacrificing safety features. Their products also ship within 24 hours and any order over $50 gets FREE shipping.

    "Pet Saver Dog Life Jacket", available in several sizes for only $20 at petcarriers.com

DOGS

  • Fetchdog.comThis site, created and managed by actress Glenn Close and her husband, offers a wide variety of great dog supplies for solving household problems. This is a great source for dog specific products like ramps/stairs, collars/harnesses, special feed bowls and toys for agility. This site also features a great blog and links to many reputable dog charities that welcome donations.

    This is a great metaphor for life: Some days you're the dog, some days you're the chicken. Image courtesy of dogster.com

  • Dogster.com: This site offers great health info for specific dog breeds, finding a vet, behavior/training and tips-of-the-day. I love that they also feature recalls for dog foods and products, which makes it a handy place to stay on top of health care for your canine babies.

CATS

  • Catnipstore.com: A friend of mine who used to show cats recommended this site and the site name almost says it all. In addition to their catnip and custom catnip toys, this site carries bedding and very affordable stick toys for feline friends, too. They also offer seeds so you can grow your own catnip at home.

    The kitty is thinking, "I love this shiny dish set....but why is it empty?!" Image courtesy of cattoys.com

  • Cattoys.com: This is another great resource for fun toys and health care supplies. You can also browse gifts for cat lovers, products made-in-the-USA and eco-friendly products easily. They even sell bird feeders for cats who prefer “live” entertainment…so to speak.

Birds

Have you ever decorated a room under the supervision (and comments) of a large, colorful bird? I highly recommend it. The critiques are much more fun than any tv design show competition! I have only had the privilege of working with/around (for) one parrot, but wanted I to be sure to include the great website his owners love:

  • Superparrots.com: This website has all kinds of products I never knew existed for these clever birds. I especially like the “flight suits”, which allow your parrot freedom to fly around your house with leaving any droppings (on your brand new furnishings). This site also has a great selection of specialized food, toys and health care products, complete with a “Ask the Avian Vet” email link.

    "Who's a pretty bird?!" Image courtesy of superparrots.com

So, that is my recommended list! Now I need to ask all of you: What kind of pets are members of your family? Where do they live in your homes? Do you have a favorite pet website? Share your stories in a comment below!

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Posted on September 22, 2011, in Decor, Lifestyle. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I have a favorite trick for cat fur issues on old or hard to clean furniture. I have a lovely set of Dunbar wing chairs which my grandmother got for a wedding gift and were passed on to me by my aunt. The felines of the house took to them literally the moment they were placed in my home. I made a couple of “runners”–just like a table runner but wider to match the width of the chair seat–out of old curtains. Draped over the chairs’ backs and seats, the fur (or occasional hairball) stays off the upholstery. Cleanup is as easy as doing a load of towels, and the covers can stay on until the last minute before company arrives, no cat-shooing the whole day before or frantically using the fur-roller with friends at the door.

    • What a great tip, Diana! Thanks for sharing!

      After I posted today, I thought of great stain solution I teach all my clients to deal with “accidents” and another tip to deal with un-welcomed chewing. I am already putting these tips on my “to write” list for next week.

      Anyone else have any tips? Keep ’em coming!

  2. I inherited my grandmother’s parakeets when she passed away. They are Lucy and Ricky. Their wings are clipped, but if I leave the cages open, they can climb up the outside of the cage, up the chain, and over to the drapes. This takes a little time, but it’s worth the trek. They like to jump from the top of the drapes and glide down to the floor on their wings. It’s not particularly graceful, but it’s really sweet.

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