10 Best Things to Build in to Your Home


Pet-friendly Features

A pet door is a simple addition that your furry pal will appreciate.
A pet door is a simple addition that your furry pal will appreciate.

I consider my cats to be part of my family, but my house wasn't built with them in mind. I'm sure they'd appreciate it if I did so, though. Pet lovers often consider the needs and wants of their furry friends when designing or remodeling the home they'll share. The simplest thing you can do is install a pet door so your buddy can come and go as he or she pleases. It can be just a basic swinging door, but you can also get high-tech with doors that open when a magnet on your pet's collar activates it. Unlike regular pet doors, these seal tightly and will keep animals like raccoons from deciding to come and check out your digs.

Once your pet heads outside, though, what will he encounter? Hopefully, a safe area to potty, play and explore. The classic is a fenced-in yard. Of course cats can climb fences, but there are special toppers you can install to keep them from getting out. Many owners install invisible fences, which keep pets (typically dogs) inside the yard by delivering a mild shock if they stray outside. It doesn't usually take long for the dog to learn. Dog houses can be as nice as a people house, with furniture and electricity. What about a little pool just for puppy? Cat owners sometimes install screened or mesh enclosures in their backyards that allow them to safely enjoy the great outdoors, while protecting the surrounding wildlife, too.

But let's head back inside. If you have the space for it, why not give your pets their own room? The rest of the house is yours, after all. Ideally it would have lots of light, a warm comfy bed, toys and a food station. Cats love to climb, so that's where to place your cat trees, ramps and hammocks. You could even install a dog shower -- a special low sink and sprayer for baths. Other pet-friendly features to consider installing throughout your home include easy-to-clean flooring, like tile or hardwood. And if it's heated, that's even better. Extreme pet owners go all the way by installing cutouts between rooms, walkways, and ramps for their cats to climb.