interior design

11 Ways to (Stylishly) Pet-Proof Your Home

by Grace Bonney

In addition to my IR Repeater revelation this weekend, I also fell head in heels over love with the rug we got to replace our earlier living room rug. As much as I loved the black and white stripes (and I love a good stripe) we had before, they just weren’t working for our real life. For the past 10 years I’ve been used to having just a cat. He shed a bit and sure he’d scratch every now and then, but he was fastidious about cleaning and never left a stain anywhere. Cut to a year later and now I have a wild (but wonderful) dog running across the apartment leaving mud and dirty and chunks of chewed toys everywhere. So we ordered an indoor/outdoor rug from Dash & Albert with a tighter pattern (to mask stains better) and it’s been such a good reminder that pet-proofing an apartment doesn’t have to been giving up the styles you love. Inspired by the success of our rug change, I rounded up my top 10 tricks for living with pets that I’ve tried, loved and trust without fail. From velvet upholstery to cord management, there’s something here for every pet owner. Best wishes for a happy home, animals and all. xo, grace

*My experience is primarily with cats and dogs, so if you have advice that you’d like to share pertaining to birds, rabbits or other furry/feathered friends, feel free to add it in the comments below!

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1. Small Patterns + Dark Colors: I made the biggest mistake by getting a rug with a wide pattern that left a lot of solid color exposed. Not only did the solid portions collection pet hair quickly, but the solid light colors showed stains so easily. So stick to a small-scale pattern in a darker color that will hide stains and dirt better than a solid or wide-print pattern.

2. Indoor/Outdoor: I’m so glad I made the move to an indoor/outdoor rug (this one from Dash & Albert). I was worried it wouldn’t be soft, but it’s plenty soft to walk on barefoot and it is quick and easy to clean. I went with Dash & Albert because their indoor/outdoor line can handle scrubbing, bleach and is UV-treated to prevent fading. Take that, high traffic area.

3. Low-pile: Most pets seem to prefer fluffy high-pile rugs for digging their claws and paws into. Frankly, I prefer them, too. They’re soft and fluffy and just invite you to take a nap. But cats in particular can hook their claws into wide looped strands very well, so sticking to a flatter weave rug makes your pets less likely to think your rug needs some extra fluffing from them.

*Side note: It goes without saying, Nature’s Miracle is a life saver. I feel like I should take stock out in in. Accidents happen and this stuff can get out almost anything.

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4. Fabric: Amy and I have learned this one from years of testing and experience: Velvet is a great fabric to use in the war against cat scratching. Will it stop them from wanting to scratch? No. Nothing will (they apparently can’t get enough of it). But velvet is your friend because unlike regular upholstery fabrics, it’s not a looped thread. It is cut at the end like hair. That gives cats very little to hook their claws in to pull, so it makes them less likely to attack your furniture. Success!

5. Rope is your friend: Cats love to scratch vertically. Cat toys and trees are great solutions, but they’re not always the prettiest. But that doesn’t mean your cats don’t deserve to embrace their natural need to scratch. Try wrapping sisal rope around pipes in your home (that aren’t too hot to touch for you or your pet) or around table legs. It feels like a cool decorative detail, but actually attracts your cat and lets them scratch! When the rope is frayed, just uncoil and reattach clean rope.

Sisal rope and velvet sofa from Amy’s home tour

6. Soft Paws: One of the pet-proofing things people suggest often are those clear tape strips that you’re supposed to hang from the sofa arms or lay on anything the pet wants to sit on, but can’t. I tried a million times and those never ever worked for me. What did work were Soft Paws. Soft Paws are tiny ribber nail caps that go on your cat’s claws with a sticky nail-polish-like glue. They are small enough that they allow your cats nails to retract normally so they don’t feel any pain or discomfort. I had no problem attaching them to Turk’s nails for years, but they do require a pet that is docile enough to let you attach them and hold them while they dry. I know some people don’t like these, but my cats had NO problem with them and they prevented their claws from damaging everything. They fall off naturally and you just reattach them as you go. (Just a note, I do not advocate de-clawing a cat. It’s painful and cruel. Please consider these alternatives if you’re ever thinking about doing something like that).

7. Blankets: Most of my friends with dogs have embraced the idea of using a beautiful but durable throw blanket on top of the seating area of their couch. Dogs like to run into the house and plop on sofas and if yours is the same, I love the idea of using a rugged old Hudson Bay Blanket or something like a boiled wool to protect the seats and still look cute. [Image above from Adrienne’s home tour]

*Also, if you have pets of any sort, investing in cushions that zip on and off or a slipcover is a MUST. Sofas and seating that can’t be easily removed and washed will make your life a lot harder. The same goes for bedding. Duvets are a great choice because you can wash them easily any time a pet jumps on the bed with muddy feet.


8. Modkat: The biggest question I get asked about dealing with cats in a home is the litter box situation. It’s just no one’s favorite part of having a cat and unless you have a large home with say, a laundry room, the litter box becomes a part of the home. I never got into the idea of building something custom around the box to hide it, but I did switch to a Modkat litterbox and never went back. While the Modkat is pretty pricey compared to other styles, it’s compact, it’s SUPER functional (very easy to clean with a bag base that keeps things super tidy) and it dramatically reduced the amount of litter that was tracked out of the box on kitty feet (thanks to a perforated lid where litter dropped back into the box). My rather large cat (15 pounds) fit in with no problem, which was great. Bonus- no one ever knew it was a litter box. If anyone ever saw it in my home they thought it was a storage box or some sort of weird speaker.

9. Hidden boxes: The internet is now full of great DIY ideas to construct a cover for litter boxes. I think these three ideas are my favorite, but if you’re handy, building some sort of small box that hides the box and turns it into say, bench seating, is a great idea. The only catch is the smell issue. Regular cleaning and baking soda air fresheners on the inside help.


10. Closed Storage/Fauxdenzas: When I adopted Hope I realized quickly that she would chew, eat or tear anything on the floor. Despite my best training efforts, when I left, something got chewed. She’s gotten better as she’s grown up, but I still learned that open shelving and storage just wouldn’t work (she loved to drag baskets off the shelf and eat whatever was inside). So we embraced fauxdenzas in almost every room. We have 3 large fauxdenzas in the living room and 1 large one in the dining room. They serve as great closed storage, keep Hope away from anything she would chew and look pretty stream lined and gorgeous.

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11. Coordinate colors with your pet: When I adopted Turk 10 years ago, I didn’t think about how gleamingly white he was. I wore all black and my room was pretty much all dark colors. Cut to a year later and everything I own looks grey because it’s covered in a layer of white fur. Despite my best fur removal techniques (I love the Furminator for reducing shedding) his fur was everywhere. And now we have Hope, another very white animal. Despite loving dark greys and blacks, I’ve now embraced lighter colored furniture, fabrics and duvets. They hide the pet fur more easily and save me a lifetime of using that sticky tool that you can roll on furniture to remove pet hair. Now I can clean once a week, vacuum and in between the fur blends in.

All of these ideas are meant to help you blend your love with your pets for your love with your home. At the end of the day, everyone can and should feel comfortable sharing the space. If your pets aren’t incorporated and welcomed with love, they’ll behave in ways you won’t like. So please consider their happiness and needs (like being playful, needing playtime and affection) when bringing them into your home. A happy, loved pet is one that’s less likely to tear everything apart. I know that despite the stains and tears that occasionally happen in our apartment, my home just wouldn’t be a home without them in it.

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Suggested For You


  • This is an ongoing battle in my home as well. I have a long haired black and grey cat and an all white very sheddable dog. They are the light of my life and I have spent the last ten years learning how to accommodate design and still allow function with two messy pets in the home. Thanks for these tips! They are so so useful.

  • Leather seating. I have a horrid black leather sectional hand-me-down that I loathe visually, but I’m thankful for it every time I just need to wipe it down… (I have two cats and am looking for a dog to adopt.)

  • Love my two cats, but with our more recent addition of a dog, there seems to be hair everywhere. I’m grateful for our hardwood floors, which makes for easy clean-up. However, I’m finding that I’m doing a lot more sweeping & vacuuming with the dog around. Having a mud room where we enter and leave with the dog is very helpful in keeping the dirt/snow/wetness contained, too. You are so right about dogs always plopping on sofas! I also use blankets, which are so much easier to throw in the wash than the slipcovers on my sofa. Love your tips!

  • ahhhh your doggle is so CUTE! love it and love these tips. my dog that i got while in college was amaaaazzzzzing, even as a teething puppy. the reason: i puppy proofed the hell out of my apartment before i brought her in so she never had the opportunity to develop bad habits! it’s so super important for the happiness of all involved (animal, people).

  • I rescued a 6 year old cat last week, Sage, and am absolutely in love. Because she is older, she does however come with some habits. Some of her favorites include chewing plants/flowers. She’s also constantly staring up, specifically at our hanging pot rack and ceiling fans, trying to figure out where her next leap will be. So far, I’ve moved every plant I have (I hope) out of her reach as we installed shelves very close to the ceiling. I also got her some cat grass that she happily chews on. Was Turk ever into plants, and if so, how did you “fix” it? I see you always have gorgeous flower displays that I’m always jealous of, but am too afraid to ever bring them into my home now. Do you have any recommendations in this area? Also, I’ve put all of our fragile items up high, but am constantly terrified she’ll jump, crash, and everything will break. Maybe I’m just a nervous new mom, but any guidance would be helpful!

  • Would love some ideas for readers on this pet problem:

    Our cats LOVE to play with the floor rugs by sneaking up on them and diving underneath. So they are never laying down flat or where they belong at all. I’ve tried the white rubber rug stopper but it’s not enough. Any ideas on some kind of rug tape brand or something that will do the trick here?

  • Loved the post! Just something I learned by having a white dog and white horse is that, you have to be careful with the sun expose, because they have less melatonin due to the white fur and skin, and may (or may not) easily get skin cancer. My dog just passed from it.
    All the best.

  • Ooh, I love the idea of using sisal rope on table legs! That’s brilliant. Consider it done. Another cat-friendly idea popping up all over the place is having dedicated cat shelves on the wall. Cats love to be on a high perch and if you don’t want them knocking items to the floor, consider installing some shelves just for them. I used some shelving from Ikea that looks great on it’s own, tacked on some rug remnants (same color as the shelves for invisibility purposes) and showed the cats that it was ok to be on the shelves. Position them by a window and you’re good to go! Mine could care less about other shelving now!

  • Last week, I rescued a 6 year old cat named Sage. I am in love, but with an older cat, she’s come with some habits that I’m not sure if I can or should “break.” I know all cats have the intuition to chew plants, but do you have any recommendations as to what to do about that? Has Turk ever eaten plants? I see you always have such beautiful floral displays, but I am now terrified to bring anything like that into my home. So far, I’ve installed shelves up near the ceiling to keep my green potted plants, and have gotten rid of any floor plants. I’ve also bought some cat grass for her to chew.

    Like all other cats, she’s a jumper. All of my fragile items are up high, but I’m still terrified she’s going to jump and crash (i.e. her next conquest seems to be our pot rack and the ceiling fans!). Is there anything you to do to prevent that?

    Right now just I’m a worried new cat mom. Any guidance from an experienced cat owner would be much appreciated! Thanks, Grace.

  • I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately! My partner and I will be moving in together soon, and my two white cats are coming with. Blankets are already a staple in my house, but I hadn’t thought of the rest of this stuff. I’m sure I’ll be referring back to this a lot. Thanks!

  • I just wanted to mention how great a top open litter box can be if you have a cat! I couldn’t afford the modkat litter box, but clever cat has a great alternative: http://www.petco.com/product/14467/Clevercat-Top-Entry-Litterbox.aspx it’s not as compact and pretty, but it’s still easy to line with large trashbags (which can handle cat claws pretty well!) and really reduced cat litter drastically.

    There are some great tutorials out there on how to make your own but for $40 it seems worth it just to get this one so you don’t have to worry about jagged edges from cutting plastic.

    Thanks for this post! Some great ideas :]

  • We finally splurged on a Restoration Hardware faux fur blanket for use as a bed coverlet (after realizing over the course of a year and a half that it would never go on sale). Decided it was worth the cost for the combination of quality and being machine washable (!!).

    1) It’s a pet magnet, so the pets tend to congregate on it, leaving their other preferred napping locations cleaner.
    2) It comes in all kinds of colors – at least one ought to blend with your pet color combination
    3) The individual faux furs are ombre, which works fantastically when you have a range of pet colors to hide (white, light and dark grey, and black in our case).
    4) Did I mention it’s machine washable? *swoon*

  • Oops. Didn’t realize my first comment went through; don’t mean to be a pesky commenter!

  • My cats never touched my mohair velvet couch. It’s expensive but worth every penny

  • Elizabeth – I have plant-eating cats, too! There have been too many “accidents” where my cats knocked plants off shelves and even the top of my fridge, so now my small potted plants are all on top of my high bookshelf that can’t be reached by either cat.I have found that hanging plants work the best, as long as they don’t dangle too close to a surface where my cats can reach. Staghorn ferns are also great and they look really nice mounted on the wall. And terrariums and bell jars are perfect for protecting small plants or flower arrangements. I have tried the cat grass, too, but it usually doesn’t last very long (and they puke it up on my floor)!

    And Grace, thank you for reminding me that, when thoughtful and creative, pet owners actually CAN have nice furniture!

  • great tips! Btw, what kind of dog is Hope? She looks EXACTLY like my sweet girl Harley!

  • We adopted Max almost a year ago. He’s a jack russell and he’s white. He’s our ride and joy but he leaves everything coverd in hard, stiff hair and weird stains that we just don’t know/ want to know what to call… The dyson animal vacuum is our saviour, and the african, plastic rug we have is resisting greatly.

  • i’m glad to hear that the indoor/outdoor rug is working for you. i had to throw away a rug because my dog ruined it and have thought an indoor/outdoor rug would be the way to go. i’ve hesitated because i worry that it won’t be comfortable on bare feet.

  • A few notes on house rabbits.

    Mine is generally not a chewer, but for some reason he went to town on the baseboard of a temporary apartment in which we were staying. I think it was MDF and not solid wood, so choosing solid would might be a good angle. If that’s not possible, rub ivory soap on the baseboard. They HATE it, and it won’t hurt them. (Has to be Ivory, though I don’t remember why.) Cover any exposed cords with dishwasher tubing that you’ve slit down the length.

    I just bought a roomba, and it is outrageously helpful with the fluff that floats around our place. Probably stating the obvious, but it was just so worth it.

    Last, unscented Feline Pine litter is safe for rabbits’ livers (unlike other wood litters), and hides odors almost too well. I have to remind myself to change it!

    With these proofing measures in place, Derby the Bunny is free range in my house while I’m gone — no risk to either him or my belongings.

  • I like using unscented, natural baby wipes to spot clean upholstery and carpets. I use them on my dogs between baths too.

  • We got our Sphynx cat at 4 months old and quickly realized that a litter box in a tiny 1 bedroom apartment just wasn’t practical for us. When she was about 5 months old we decided to try the Litter Kwitter (http://www.litterkwitter.com/en/index.php) and it has been the most amazing thing we’ve ever done with her. She caught on in about 2 weeks (the package says most cats can be trained in under 8 weeks). It takes some patience but makes day to day life, as well as travelling or arranging pet sitters, so much easier! She will even use toilets at other people’s houses, and has never had an accident!

  • Could you all do a round up (or create a Pinterest board!) of pet-friendly and attractive rugs? I have struggled to find ones that I like and can stand up to dogs. I’m supposed to have 80% of my floors covered so I’ve had to settle for some less beautiful options.

    As an aside, I have a waterhog mat from LL Bean right inside my front door and it has been amazing. It saves my hardwood floors from muddy, salty and wet paws and boots and prevents even large quantities of water from getting through to the wood. My dog tipped over the bowl of water I was using to rinse off her salty paws and I could rest in peace knowing that it didn’t matter. Not the most beautiful rug I own, but one that was DEFINITELY worth the $$.

    • hi marion!

      it’s hard to do one that works for everyone, because it really depends on your dog and your dog’s fur color. i suggested rug details in the post– those along with the color of your dog being considered should be a good start. small print, indoor/outdoor and matching the pet color :)


  • Great post! I have 2 cats and at least a dozen plants. After many years and many more plants, I am down to plants they leave alone for the most part. I suggest avoiding anything that resembles grass or ferns, which they love to chew. I have pothos, jade, string-of-pearls, aloe, crown-of-thorns, Moses-in-the-bulrushes, ficus, and Christmas cacti-those all work for us. Be careful with large pots with exposed dirt- resembles a litter box. I had to put chicken wire on top of a large pot.
    We are lucky to have a basement bathroom to store the litter box away from the rest of the house. Toilet training did not go well for my cats; I like Better Way Flushable litter- scoop and flush. It’s very dusty, but so handy.

  • Good tips. I’m currently without a rug in the living room because of my two dogs and two cats ruining them. I was considering an outdoor rug from pottery barn when i saw yours from Dash & Albert. I think it may be the way to go. By the way, many of your suggestions apply to living with kids too;) Between my three kids, 4 indoor pets and chickens in the yard (whose mess is tracked in) I’m feeling pretty out numbered by mess makers. Good thing they are all cute!

  • We’ve got a cat – I’ve found clear, sticky back plastic (you can buy it in rolls in the UK) is ideal. They don’t like the feeling of it. It’s quite a soft plastic so we have it on the corner of the sofas! It worked immedately. Also – cats tend to like to stretch while they scratch so we swapped to a tall (around a metre) scratching post and he loves it. Bingo – no more shredded furniture :)

    Another trick with pet hair is rubber gloves. Put some on and rub your hands over the area with fur on and it should ball up nicely making it much easier to remove! The stragglers can be hoovered up. Regular brushing also helps catch the fur before it falls – my cat loves my old round bristle brush (which is now his!)

  • We’ve looked for furniture with metal legs to bunny-proof, and we’ve selected rugs where she can’t pull out tufts of fiber or whole rows of pile. Where we can’t run electrical cords behind solid furniture, we’ve used cord bundlers from the Container Store to protect individual cords–not particularly stylish, but safe. Also, watch your houseplants!

  • Re good materials for sofas and chairs: microfiber. We have a small microfiber sectional in our TV room (the only furniture that the dogs are allowed on besides the beds) and the fur comes right off. As does anything else. I was afraid it would look…cheap–but it doesn’t AT ALL. and it was inexpensive.

  • My dogs shed A LOT so I don’t really like them being on the couch too much cause it seems to be a magnet for hair and it’s hard to clean off. They’re very smart and know not to get on when I’m home but have caught them having a siesta on the couch when I’m not home. (I leave my computer on and use skype as a “security camera” so I can watch them when I’m out). My solution was to put those plastic floor runner with the spikey part up when I leave home and it keeps them from jumping on the couch. It’s still soft enough so it doesn’t hurt them if they touch it but it just makes it a bit uncomfortable if they try to lay on it. It’s simple to put on and take off so I don’t have to compromise on the design of my home.

  • Cats only scratching vertically is a myth. Some prefer horizontal, some at an angle, some multiple ways. If a cat isn’t scratching things that are vertical, try mixing it up. Also, some cats don’t care for rope. I have one that prefers rope, the other untreated wood and carpet, and also those layered cardboard things. The rope cat won’t even look at cardboard scratching posts.

  • Wonderful post. Here’s a shopping tip – put your animal(s) hair in a ziplock and take with you to the carpet store, furniture store, etc. Simply hold the bag over different samples until the hair disappears. Voila!
    That’s how I chose my area rugs, and they look great all the time.

  • Thank you so much for this post! There are things laying around everywhere at my place, and my new pup has been persistent about eating or destroying anything he can get his paws on. This has helped out loads.

  • my dog has disc issues and needs thicker area rugs to cushion his joints when coming down his stairs from the couch, nothing too cushion-y, just not able to still feel the wood floors under a thinner carpet, it also needs to be a little rough in texture- nothing luxurious soft as its too slippery when he gets to running and turning on a dime, had a wool which was great- thick, not slippery, however being a corgi and used to herding sheep and cattle, he wanted to put his mark on the rugs, i still think wool is the way to go for him, just don’t want to constantly clean up after him. i have stainmaster area rugs but they’re too slippery. any suggestions would be much appreciated. i’m looking for- 5×8-8×10;


  • This is an old thread now, but one other tip is that if you use vases, whether empty or with flowers, fill them halfway with sand to weight them – it helps to stop cats from knocking them over. I have two bronze altar vases from a church, which are massively heavy, and they are the ones that get the most use in our house (three cats, two dogs).

  • I have 13 cats they leave hair everywhere and the hair does not come of from clothes blankets bed sheets sofa curtains and many place I need help plz help me I can’t throw my cats just for hair is there any solution plz help me or is there any type of cat hair vacuum plz let me know and help

    • hi mariya

      what type of cats do you have? that will help me find a solution.

      have you tried these or these? people i know with himilayans swear by them.

      you will also probably need to brush your cats regularly to cut down on shedding. if you don’t take that step, it will make the problem way way worse.

      i brush my (short hair) cat about 2x a month, but for long haired cats, i’d suggest every week. the furminator is the best thing that ever happened to us- it removes SO much dead hair.


  • One curious cat + one balloon left over from a party and well, who knew cats could jump so high. A fear of balloons, accidentally established, has worked wonders … I’ve since used balloons in a number of places I don’t want my cat to go, e.g. a new couch. Just the sight of a balloon my cat will steer a wide birth.

  • I am in the market for a new couch and really struggling with fabric or leather. I have two dogs and luckily neither is destructive. One is gold and one is black, so color coordinating is out. Fabric absorbs more odors in general and one of my dogs likes to lick, but I am concerned about nail punctures with a leather couch. Not sure if soft paws might be the answer. Any advice would be most welcome, thanks!

    • hi leslie!

      softpaws are only for cats, so those are out for dogs. have you thought about a tougher microfiber? we have pretty thin couch upholstery and haven’t had any trouble with hope’s nails so far. but maybe adding a layer of a nice blanket on the seats would protect them from the pups?


  • Thanks, Grace!

    Looks like SoftPaws does make caps for dogs now too (http://www.softpaws.com/), but I’m not sure Caity would put up with them. I’m thinking leather and a blanket might be the way to go…

    By the way, I am a huge fan of all the Buffalo love on the site!

  • I’m looking for some stylish yet pet friendly carpet for our house that includes 3 dogs and a cat and am so glad I came across this article! I know it was posted awhile back but still relevant and so helpful!

  • Great article. I used to be so annoyed when my dogs stuff would be in our living room too. It always looked gross and hairy. I found a site called dogbeddesigner.com where I could pick a bed and fabrics to match my home and my dogs fur. I love it and so does my dog! Highly recommend you heck it out.

  • Whoa! Thanks for the great tips! Very thorough article. Our baby Yoda is shedding very much and I feel more equipped now that I read your article. It’s something we did not really think about when decorating our apartment but having colors that match our furry baby is such good idea. Also a good way that we can suggest to maintain a “pet proof” home is to simply cut the little one’s nails. We do it just a little once in a while and it helps protecting our furniture ! Thanks again :)

  • Hi- I am looking for an anti-fatique kitchen mat that is cat proof, one that they can’t destroy with their claws. Any recommendations? I have had several over the past few years that they destroyed in a few months. I did however have one that I got at Costco years ago that was a very thick vinyl that they couldn’t puncture, but it wore out. Would love some input. Thanks, Kim

  • Great tips! Thank you. What kind of litter works best in the Modko litter box?

  • Excellent post with a lot of great tips. I have pets and I have 2 small children; your tips for “stylishly pet-proofing your home” apply to stylishly living with small children, as well! A 2-fer! Thanks!

  • When a friend bought a new couch, she bought a finished piece of matching fabric that covered the seat area and tucked under front and back like that pic near the top. It’s very subtle and can be removed for company.

    I’m looking for pet hair friendly throws. I shake mine out every day and the dog hair still sticks. Everyone that comes over ends up with hair on them no matter what I do. (I do have three dogs – what was I thinking…) It’s not washability I’m looking for, its shakability. Any one have any ideas?

    • The best cover I’ve found is a shiny satin finish quilted throw blanket that I put on the seating area of the couch. It is polyester, so is easily washed and dried. It was inexpensive, so I have several, and just I rotate them regularly. The slippery finish sheds hair like a dream and an extra bonus is the ease with which I can slide my sleeping English Setter along the couch to make room for me! I’m afraid I can’t tell you a specific place to buy one, but if you go for material with a slippery finish, you should find it easy to shake the hair out.

  • I am having my grandmother’s old 50s armchair completely reupholstered at great expense and that is a topic that has come to mind. I will think of velvet. Very helpful article. Thank you!

  • We have a mini dachshund puppy that has shown a determined interest in chewing the bottom and underside of our leather sofas. Throws are no deterrent.
    Any suggestions on how to pet proof the bottom part of sofas so that the dog can be given run of the house when we go out?

    • How about using the rope trick noted in this post? Finding some type of non-treated, natural material to wrap around the legs could work. Maybe torn strips of cotton from an old t-shirt you’ve laundered yourself with chemical-free detergent could be a good solution. Just make the strips as long as you can, tie them together and wrap the legs tightly multiple times to a thickness you feel comfortable with, then tie on the back of the legs to secure it so that the knot doesn’t becomes the favorite chew spot!

      The trick would be to find a material that doesn’t contain anything the could be harmful to your pet or that would break apart with the chewing.

      Good luck!


  • Cute rug, I need to get an indoor outdoor one! Also, what type of dog do you have? I adopted my dog from a shelter about a year ago and she looks so much like yours! My dog is also part Dalmatian…and that’s the only breed they told me she was. Thanks!’

  • I love the idea about sisal rope around pipes! Might stop our kitty from demolishing our expensive leather sofas!

  • Any ideas how to deter a cat from urinating in the house? My outdoors cat has had to become an indoors cat and is showing his displeasure by peeing in the kitchen. My place is open plan so I cannot lock him out, he has a clean easily accessible litter tray, he does it when I am at work, I have put things in his way so he finds another spot in the kitchen, he has lots of playtime and cuddles plus I walk him outside on a lead twice a day…! It’s disgusting and has only recently started so I am praying it is not a major habit to break just yet. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks.

    • I had a problem with my cat and was at the end of my rope. Someone suggested I try Cat Attract litter. It was a miracle. My two cats were lined up to get in the box. We have had no more issues in the three years since we changed to Cat Attract litter.
      Good Luck!

    • cats that change urinating habits may have a urinary tract infection or other condition. might be a good idea to check with the vet too.

    • I struggled with this problem for two years, only my cat would pee on my bed… I tried everything, after ruling out possible physical issues like a urinary infection or crystals – every kind of cat litter available, different kinds of litter boxes (covered, uncovered), different locations for the box, multiple boxes, always kept them super clean, all to no avail. I even had vets recommend I put him down! Which was never going to be an option – but I was at my wits end. Finally a vet recommended I try meds – first I tried Elavil, which did nothing and then we went on to Prozac and it worked! He completely stopped eliminating outside of his box. Many cats can be on the drug for a just a few months and their good behavior continues after they are tapered off. In my case, every time I tried to wean him off he would immediately revert to peeing on the bed, so now he’s on it for life. For those of you who think it’s wrong to give an animal behavioral meds, know that inappropriate elimination is the number one reason cats get left at shelters and are euthanized. So for anyone ready to give up, please try some meds! And if one doesn’t work, try another.

  • My cat is an indoor cat but loves to go outside. When he is inside he chews the wood siding around the door taking off paint and ruining the wood any suggestions to save our siding???

    • It is a bit ugly, but I used tinfoil on the bottom of doors that my cats claw at. One cat in particular really hates closed doors, and this tinfoil trick helped greatly to reduce her 2 am clawing on the door to the basement.

      • I use tinfoil too! It’s the only deterrent that has worked for me, and I have used many. I have a leather sofa, loveseat and chair because my cat won’t scratch leather for some reason. But I recently purchased a fabric chair and my cat couldn’t wait to get his claws into it. I put 4 long lengths of tinfoil on the floor to “box” in the chair. It’s about 6-8 inches away from the end of the chair, and my cat will not walk on the foil thus sparing the chair! It’s easy to pick up for company too.

  • My Jack Russell Terrier is a shredder – hardcore. Any ideas on a throw that can be tucked on the seat of a sofa, yet not ripped apart in ten seconds flat by his teeth, please?

    I love him to pieces, but the throw I have has so many holes and loose threads on it, I am finding it impossible to come up with ways to tuck it in so the “affected areas” aren’t showing!

  • My two indoor-outdoor pit bulls love to lay on the couch, but they can get it pretty dirty and furry. My mother came up with an ingenious idea: she bought some upholstery fabric that was very similar in color and texture (our couch is tan microfiber) and she custom sewed it to fit over the dogs’ side of the couch. she made a piece for the cushions you sit on with elastic secures on the underside, one for the upper cushions of the couch that is secured with simple velcro on the back, and a little arm piece. It has really been a lifesaver. It is much easier to throw the covers in the wash than it is to try to clean irremovable parts of a couch!

  • I want to get an indoor outdoor one! Also, what kind of dog do you have? I adopted my dog from a cover about a year ago and she looks so much like yours! My dog is also fraction Dalmatian…and that’s the only breed they told me she was. Thanks!’

  • This article was exactly what I was looking for! I recently had a recurrence of a chronic medical problem and my six (YES 6 – three dogs and three cats) fur babies have been my constant companions and continue to motivate me to keep trying and never give up.

    Yes, they would prefer to be more active with our usual walks and trips to the park, but I’ve learned nothing makes them happier than my love. I wish science could replicate the pure joy I love when I return from a doctor’s appointment or short shopping trip.

    I’ve had to learn to be a bit more patient with myself when I’m not up to regular cleaning. I recently got a new velvet bead spread which I agree, works wonders with not collecting hair. Also my mom gave me two Luuup litter tray systems for Christmas.

    I really appreciate your tips about rugs because my condo has partial hardwood floors with the rest off white rugs. I hope to remove it when I’m able, but until then it’s rug layering.

    The one problem I’ve yet to solve is with plants. Two of my cats (mother and daughter) think they are monkeys and I can no longer have anything that isn’t hanging. It’s partially that they want to chew on the leaves, but more just the fun of digging up the dirt to play with. Anyone have any suggestions?

    I absolutely love your photos!!! They capture such personality and happiness!!!

  • For cats who love to mess with houseplants, 2 things help.

    First, covering the soil with a layer of either moss or small rocks (depending on the moisture needs of your plant) makes it inaccessible as a sandbox.

    Second, there are these cat scat mats (Gardener’s Supply carries them) which are rolls of plastic netting with small spikes all over – harmless but uncomfortable. Cats hate walking on them. Just press those into the top of the houseplant soil.

  • Great advice, expect about cats and velvet. I had read this post and immediately purchased the velvet couch I had been dreaming of. I foolishly didn’t consult the myriad other sites which mention that velvet is absolutely one of the WORST fabrics to use if you have cats. My cats ruined my couch almost instantly, their claws pulling out small white bits from the blue velvet. Now I have the world’s most expensive scratching post, as it can’t be returned. Please edit this as it truly is misinformation.

    • Lynn

      I’m so sorry that that was your experience. My pets are always ruining something at home so I understand your frustration.

      Velvet is commonly recommended for cats because of the lack of looped fiber structure (we aren’t the only site who stands by this recommendation). What exactly happened with your cats- what are the “white bits” they pulled out? Did they pull feathers from the cushions through the upholstery?



  • Okay one big issue not being addressed here is a dog’s tendency to get excited and run on the rugs causing the rug to go flying. I need a rug that can be stuck to the floor somehow. None of the sticky things I’ve seen work worth a darn. Short of nailing the rug down I’ve never seen a solution!

  • We let our dog in our bed to cuddle before we go to sleep and after we wake in the morning. I am tired of having her fur everywhere on the blankets. Washing them helps, but not fully – lots of hair remains even after washing it. Vacuuming and lint rollers also helps, but I hate having to do that every single day to keep her fur out of the bed.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for what type of blanket we should buy? Something that the fur doesn’t stick to would be perfect. We’re in Florida, and it’s super hot, so I’d also appreciate a lightweight blanket.

    • Cara

      I sadly don’t think there’s any fabric fur won’t stick to. I’m guessing something silky would be easier to clean, but in general the static electricity in the air makes fur stick to just about everything. We use soft washed linen (West Elm makes a nice one) for all our duvet covers and all (really- all!) the dog and cat hair comes off in the wash. It just doesn’t stay that for long ;)


  • Since you have experience with velvet, can you tell me the best way to get pet hair off of it (velvet bedspread)??? And is there any way to prevent the pet hair from getting on it in the first place? Other than keeping the pets off, haha.

  • My two cats have pretty much destroyed my comforter with their claws. Apart from softpaws and keeping them off the bed, any ideas on fabrics that might hold up well or be repel my claw happy kiddos?