Pet friendly decorating tips: Dogs have Owners, Cats have Staff.Nuff Said

                                       Naughty dog
I get calls every year from people  looking to redesign a room their beloved pet has slowly destroyed or tried to redecorate in their own vision, much to the unhappiness of their owners.
 Or in the case of cats,their staff..
Let me share with you some pet friendly decorating tips.

dogs love to chew!

When I get SOS calls from potential clients in need of updating rooms that have been destroyed by their four legged children, I survey the damage done by the pets and have a long discussion about the pet’s behavior.

dog funny quote

I usually turn down projects when the owner has claw bearing cats. Cats by nature need to scratch, climb,and pretend to be little lions. Declawed (I know, terrible) and cats with nail caps are great, but claw bearing cats are a tough audience. I will not assume responsibility as a designer to take projects where a cat hasn’t been taught that scratching, climbing, or urinating (marking) on furniture is simply not acceptable. You cannot scold a cat, spray a cat with water, or sticky paw the entire house . There will always be one cat beating the system.

Until Cesar Millan does a show on cat whispering, I stay away. I need a proven track record from professionals before I commit to a project. I need pet owners to be trained properly before they spend one dime on me.

cat destroys chair

One year I received  an SOS call from a lovely woman whose daughter brought home a stray clawed cat from college and left the cat with mom because she moved into an apartment where no pets were allowed. Smart apartment clause, stupid daughter.
The cat clawed the wallpaper, the furniture, and also marked its territory.
The woman had just spent money on furniture from a store that sold her down the river. She had told the store clerk about her destructive cat, but they claimed the furniture was cat proof.
” Liar liar pants on fire…”
As we walked and surveyed the cat’s artistry, I finally broke the news to her that there was nothing I could for her. She had to train the cat or seek other options.
She said I was the first designer who told her the truth and thanked me.
She also wanted to come and work for me too.

Trained dogs on the other hand, are destructive out of boredom or fear. If the human doesn’t exercise them, give them chew toys, bones, or crate them when away from the home, stuff happens.
Puppies chew on things for teething purposes. Shoes, legs of furniture, pillows, and smelly underwear to name a few. They will grow out of this behavior if properly trained.

                        Dogs feelings are hurt when you scold them. (See the YouTube -Guilty Dog)

Perhaps dogs carry a remorseful gene that cats don’t seem to have, or care about if they did have it.

I have decorated rooms in homes where dogs are large and rough with furniture, not chewers.Chewing is a behavior problem, not a decorating problem.
I select leather with the least amount of scratching capabilities. Test leather with a fork, if it scratches, it’s thumbs down.
I also select nanotex, Teflon finished, or outdoor fabric like Sunbrella which all are water and stain resistant fabrics.
The fabric must be considered “Heavy Duty” with a Durability rating over 50,000 double rubs. The higher the double rubs, the better the fabric. Many retail store fabrics are not heavy duty fabrics, please ask when you shop without an interior designer. If a store cannot tell you if the fabric is treated or what the double rub count is, walk out, do not look back.

I must confess, I recently did a home for a lovely family with two claw carrying cats. No discipline too. The jury is still out on this one.
I made them sign off on a “pet clause” stating that they are responsible for all the wear and tear their darling little cats will try on the new furniture since they tore up the old furniture. It is my way of saying, “I told you so.”
I went with nail heads surrounding all the chairs and sofas to see if it prevents the cats from clawing the corners.
The fabrics used in the family room and living room were high performance velvets and chenilles, all Teflon treated. Yes, they will collect cat hair, but looping fabrics will collect the claws.
We spent months studying cat behavior. I spent 2 months trying to find fabrics they loved and maybe the cats will eventually get tired of trying to destroy.
My client is finally teaching her cats appropriate behavior. She now spritzes water on them and has purchased cat climbing equipment, cat posts all placed in my lovely decorated rooms. She is trying to see if she can recondition the cats to go and play elsewhere, not on the $3,000.00 sofa.

My final advice to anyone looking to replace the furniture your beloved family member has destroyed; until you are properly trained in animal behavior, and can get your four legged child to see it your way,I would suggest you spend your money on the following:

 A house of their own……

Found on Pinterest
cat house design
Found on Pinterest

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