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How To: Pet-Friendly Homes
Pets help make our houses feel like homes; however, they don’t always get along with our furnishings. Between the shedding, the scratching and the treats ending up in weird places, animals can be extremely hard on valued possessions. Whatever kind of furry friend you share your home with, we have tips to help you coexist a little more harmoniously.
With pets, as with children, your soft furnishings are going to suffer if you don’t protect them. Performance upholstery is one of the best investments you can make when living with dogs or cats (or toddlers). Performance or technical fabrics are manmade textiles that can withstand far more abuse than standard upholstery fabrics and are easier to clean. There are several big-name manufacturers of performance fabrics; three especially good brands for indoor use are Crypton, Ultrasuede, and Sunbrella.
While they look and feel like luxury textiles, Crypton fabrics are liquid-repellant, anti-microbial, and resilient in the face of odors and scratching. Ultrasuede’s microscopic structure is so small that it doesn’t trap loose strands of fur the way woven fabrics do, and it too resists damage from liquids, friction, and odors. Initially created for outdoor use, Sunbrella now offers soft and vibrant indoor-only fabrics as well as indoor-outdoor textiles so tough they can even be bleached without damage.
Cats and furniture
Cats love to bite, scratch and stand on things they shouldn’t. Teach them certain things are off limits by:
- Applying lemon juice to items that your cat has tried to chew on — especially electrical cords and headphone wires. Cats have no sweetness receptors in their mouths, so citrus tastes foul to them. Lemon juice can be a little sticky, but the good news is you won’t have to do it for long; cats learn quickly when it suits them, so you should be able to wipe it off after a week or so.
- Wrapping aluminum foil on furnishings that your cat has been climbing or sharpening its claws on can help convince them to stop, as the foil feels unpleasant under their paws — the way accidentally biting a piece feels to us. Like the lemon juice trick, this isn’t super-attractive to live with, but the learning process should be a short one.
- Speaking of sharpening their claws, scratching is an essential behavior for cats — it keeps their claws down to a healthy length and makes them feel good. Preventing kitty from shredding your sofa arms means giving them somewhere else to scratch. There are lots of clever and stylish cat scratchers, beds and climbing trees available online, from eco-friendly cardboard to mid-century modern products that will complement your human-sized furniture beautifully.
Dogs and furniture
For dogs, outdoor time is essential — without adequate exercise and the company of other dogs, they can develop behavioral problems like chewing furniture and soiling area rugs, wreaking havoc on your house. Make sure they have a fenced outdoor area to run around in, or find time every day to take them to a park where they can burn off energy and make friends.
Daily brushing can reduce the amount of loose fur that makes its way onto your furniture, keep your dog’s coat and skin healthier, and even cut down on that funky canine smell. Fortunately, most dogs seem to enjoy a brushdown from their favorite person, so try to work five minutes of grooming into your daily schedule.
Dogs love getting comfortable on chairs, sofas and beds, so if you’re determined to keep your pooch off the furniture, be ready to provide them with plenty of bedding. Place a dog bed in any room where you spend a lot of time, including the living room and the bedroom, so your dog can be near you while enjoying a seat of his own. The Crypton Home line includes a selection of pet beds, throws and mess mats.
Author: Sklar Furnishings