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One of the most important aspects of adopting a pet is determining the perfect place in your home to house the new member of your family. For city-dwelling animal lovers who have limited space at home, the prospect of organising a comfortable, semi-contained area for a living animal can seem challenging – or even impossible.

Certain pets, such as working dogs, require a more substantial amount of space and daily exercise than can usually be provided by an apartment or small house.  However, once you have settled on the right pet to suit your lifestyle, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s both possible and fun to create a unique space for your pet in the home. Keep the following tips in mind, and you’ll be in for a smooth ride as you welcome your new furry flatmate.

  1. Invest in multipurpose furniture

Multipurpose, moveable furniture is potentially cheaper than specialised pet furniture and will allow you to create safe spaces for your pet in any room of the home. Try pieces such as side tables which can double as dog crates and cat beds, to carpeted shelves that can be used as cat trees.

Image from Pikwizard

  1. Choose scratch-proof surfaces and coverings

Sharp cat and dog nails can quickly damage delicate materials and surfaces. Avoid placing precious items near or in the way of your pet’s space, and select more durable, scratch-resistant pieces if you must have furniture nearby – such as tables with metal legs.  Replace any nearby delicate bedding with less expensive divan sets, at least while your pet is still being trained to chew their toys instead of your favourite couch covers.

  1. Establish a pet zone

Many owners wonder where to keep their pets when they’re away from home at work or at school. You want your furry friend to be relaxed and at home, but not trapped in any way: so should you go for a crate or a small room?

Most pets actually feel more comfortable in smaller spaces, either is good. As long as you include a hinged door or baby gate to shut your pet in securely and safely – as well as plenty of bits and bobs to keep them happy – (including, perhaps, one of your old t-shirts to remind them of you!), you won’t have to feel guilty for stepping out.

If you want your pet to feel comfortable no matter where they are in the home, you could build up a set of their own blankets, mats, and plush beds which they can associate with sleep and their smell.

Photo from Unsplash

  1. Keep up the grooming

Establishing a unique space for your pet is one thing, but as seasoned pet owners will tell you, keeping that space clean is a whole new challenge. To protect your furniture and avoid having to clean your house on the daily, book regular appointments at your local groomer’s to keep your pet’s nails at a comfortable length for them and to keep their hair neatly trimmed.

  1. Give them plenty of litter space

Try out different litter options for your pet and prepare a space for their preferred one in their unique area of the home. Of course, teaching them to toilet outside is best, but if this isn’t always possible, put down litter trays or dog mats in a linoleum-floored space like the laundry or bathroom.

Automatic air fresheners or deodorisers can help alleviate any unpleasant odours.  Also, remember to regularly wash your pets’ beds and blankets to keep them clean.

Photo from Max Pixel

  1. Make the most of outside space

Like humans, animals thrive when they are close to nature. If you are lucky enough to have a balcony or backyard space, make the most of it by creating a designated ‘pet patio.’ Just ensure that you block any hazardous gaps in the fence, and make sure there are no poisonous plants around!

  1. Block out the outside

If you’re moving from a suburban or rural area to an inner-city apartment, you’ll need to allow time for your established family pet to get used to cosmopolitan life. To help ease your pet into apartment living, consider installing some blackout blinds for your windows to block out disturbances such as bright streetlights, sirens, fireworks, and traffic.

Written by: Allison Hail

Allison was raised in the city of Wellington, New Zealand and understands the joys and challenges of living with a pet.  Pets take commitment and potential lifestyle changes, but the fun and love received is well worth it. Read more of Allison’s published articles on her Tumblr page.

photo credit: Image from Pikwizard

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