It’s a jungle in here! Seriously! I may not have lions and tigers (or bears, oh my!), but my four kitties definitely have significant enough presence to make it feel like I’m living with the king and queens of the cats! Add in two dogs and a son, and it’s something out of a nature documentary. My cats arrived first, before my dogs and my son. Mally will be 21 this year, and I’ve had her half of my life. While the other cats in the family arrived after the dogs (and three of them came long after my son), Mally’s dealt with some pretty crazy adjustments in her many years. I’ve done my best to keep my house cat-friendly, dog-friendly AND kid-friendly all at the same time. Here are five of my favorite tips to make your own jungle more harmonious for all.
How to Create a Harmonious Home for All
Creating a harmonious home for the cats, dogs, and kids can be a challenge. My son is older, but when he was little, we had to keep him away from the litter boxes, the cat food, and the dog food. We had to keep the dogs away from the cat food and the cats from swiping at curious pups. Beyond keeping everyone in their own separate part of the jungle, there are a few things you can do to make sure everyone is happy!
Create safety zones for everyone
While keeping everyone in their own space all the time ‘s not really feasible (or much fun!), I do think it’s important to create safety zones for everyone. Your dogs need a cat-free and kid-free space to get away from the noise, cats need a hiding spot to avoid slobbering pups and grabby kids, and kids need a place where they can be free to explore, make a mess and just be kids. Maybe designate your child’s room as off limits for the pets and your home office or another room as a special cats-only zone. You can even help your kids make special spots for your cats!
Get crafty with kids for your cat!
We all know that cats love boxes, right? Yet a zillion brown cardboard boxes laying around the house isn’t aesthetically pleasing, is it? Grab your craft supplies and let your kids create unique hiding spots for your kitties! Markers, crayons, even washi tape go a long way to turning a dull and ugly brown box into something fun. While you work on the project, talk to your little ones about how important it is for kitty to have a special place to go when he needs to relax. Your kids will feel proud that they helped make such a special home for your cats.
T-shirt caves are also a fun and easy way to make over a plain cardboard box. While the original concept was based on upcycling an old tee into something new, you can easily create a cave to match your decor by buying a cheap large or XL tee in your home’s color scheme.
Think outside the litter box
Hiding the litter box is probably one of the biggest challenges. We’re lucky because we have a laundry room where we tuck away the main box. However, since Mally is getting pretty ancient, she has a hard time getting all the way up there these days. We had to add a second box near her spot. She practically lives on a bin right next to my desk. We have a little alcove right across from the table. I guess it’s meant to be a bill-paying station or something? It’s the perfect spot to tuck the litter box away. Yes, we can see it most of the time, but if we need to, we could easily slide a piece of stained wood or something else in front of it to hide it.
Other ideas for hiding the box include:
- Stashing it under a cabinet with the doors removed. Install a curtain rod and short cafe curtains to hide it from guests.
- Putting it in one of those end tables designed to hide litter boxes.
HGTV has a fabulous series of beautiful design ideas that are both cat and kid friendly. I love the Laundry Room Design for Cats! Our laundry room isn’t quite as big as the one in the video, but I could definitely implement a few of those ideas!
Avoid feeding time insanity
It’s really a jungle here when it comes to feeding time! Everyone wants everybody else’s food! Well, that’s not entirely accurate. Jake doesn’t want the pet food. He’s so picky, he barely wants his own food half of the time! The dogs always want to steal from the cats and Alex the Fuzz is always trying to steal the dog food. We’ve managed to cut back on feeding time insanity by making sure that everyone is eating at the same time. We also feed the cats either higher up (Zoe and Alex eat on the butcher block in the middle of our kitchen) or in areas that the dogs (or your kids) can’t really squeeze into.
Healthy pets are happier pets!
One of the most important ways to create a harmonious home is to make sure everyone is feeling their best. Healthier pets are happier pets, after all! Think about it: a cat that’s feeling under the weather is more likely to lose his temper with your active child. Even Alex, who loves everyone almost all the time, has scratched Jake once or twice because he had a belly ache and didn’t want to cuddle. Food plays a huge role in keeping your pet as healthy as possible. We make sure we choose something that is designed to give our cats all the nutrients they need. We alternate between a few trusted brands, including Rachael Ray™ Nutrish®.
Nutrish® is made with wholesome, simple ingredients like real meat and fish. It doesn’t contain any by-product meal or fillers like ground corn, wheat, or soy. I love that I can find such a healthy food right in my grocery store, a must when I run out of food on a busy day. I can make a quick trip down the street to get what I need. Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Indoor Complete Chicken with Lentils & Salmon Recipe contains a real superfood blend that my indoor cats need. Real chicken is the #1 ingredient, and the lentils are full of fiber and protein.
Even better, it’s food for a cause! We are passionate about helping animals in need, and so is Rachael Ray! She not only created a super-premium food for cats, but she also created Rachael’s Rescue® to help all the forgotten pets. A portion of every sale of Nutrish goes to The Rachael Ray Foundation. From there, is helps fund food, medical supplies, treatments and more for animals who need it most. As of December 2016, Rachael’s Rescue has donated more than $17.5 million dollars to organizations that help animals.
Good food for a good cause! That keeps both me and my cats happy! For more fabulous design tips, don’t forget to visit HGTV and check out their fun how-to videos!
How do you create harmony in your home between cats, dogs and kids? Share below!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Rachael Ray Nutrish. The opinions and text are all mine.