DIY Building & Installing

For the Dogs: 11 Crazy Home Upgrades Made by Pet Owners

Most pet parents make a few changes to their dwelling when they welcome a new four-legged friend, maybe fencing in the yard, installing a dog door, or putting up an indoor gate. But some homeowners go to extremes, embarking on over-the-top updates to keep their pets happy and make them feel like part of the family. Check out the most attention-getting pet-inspired remodels from around the web—and then consider (or not) re-creating one in your home.

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Tiers of Joy via David Catriel

If you have a house full of felines but lack space for a designated pet playroom, transform an empty closet into a four-story hangout, complete with a litter box on the first floor. Made from oriented strand board, carpet, a few hinges, and casters for the roll-out shelf that holds the litter box, this play tower can keep cats—and their claws—occupied for hours, safely away from your fine furnishings.

Related: 10 House Hacks Every Pet Owner Needs to Know

On-the-Go Treats via bigchewypretzels

To treat the dog while the family was away from home, one Instructables user began feeding the pup remotely from this DIY dispenser. When the system is activated by phone or Alexa voice commands, the plastic tube, which is rigged to a microcomputer with a motion detection system, a trigger mechanism, and a camera, launches treats to the pet and then sends a video and photo to the operator’s phone.

Purr-fect Escape via cdstudioNH

Give your cats a creative outlet by building an escape wall like this sculptural assemblage designed by an Instructables user. The wall-mounted wooden obstacle course consists of stairs, a rope bridge, a cat cave, and a perch adorned with a kitty cutout. Illuminated boxes add visual interest and utility, providing convenient storage for books and cat toys.

Furtive Feeder

Are you forever tripping over the dog’s bowls? Here’s a clever solution. The blogger behind Room for Tuesday retrofitted the lowest drawer of an existing base cabinet to hold the dog’s food and water bowls. A rectangular wooden frame with two circular cutouts keeps the bowls in place and out of paws’ reach until mealtime. 

Related: Genius! The DIY Dog Feeder that Doubles as Storage

Branching Out

Brittany Goldwyn took the idea of a cat tree quite literally, opting for real tree branches wrapped in faux vines and topped with fur-lined wooden perches. The graceful structure not only entertains her cats, but also beautifies the space with elements taken from nature.

The Pillar of the Family

If your cats have a penchant for bird-watching, they might appreciate a nice perch for their favorite hobby. An easy way to do this is to mount shelf brackets and scrap wood planks on existing porch pillars. Position two perches on each pillar—one low to the ground and one higher up—so little kittens and big cats alike can easily scamper up to their place at the top of the world.

Related: 20 Common Household Items That May Be Harming Your Pet

Turn-Down Service

By day, this cabinet serves as a drop zone for keys and mail; by night, just pull the handle to reveal a bed frame with a plush upholstered cushion where a dog can stretch out comfortably. The miniature Murphy bed provides a simple and beautiful way to give man’s best friend a good night’s rest without stealing space from an already crowded bedroom or office.

Hanging Out

To give her new whiskered housemate a place of his own to curl up, a blogger at The Merry Thought mounted this cat-size wood-and-canvas hammock on an empty wall using shelf brackets. A short wooden crate set against the wall makes it easier for the cat to get in and out of the cot.

Pup’s Paradise

Featuring a bone-shaped wading pool and a spacious deck with a fire hydrant and a potted palm, this puppy play zone and showering station, designed by J&M Remodel of Seattle, is where doggo dreams come true.

Doing the Catwalk

If your feline friends are driving you up the wall, set them loose on a wall-mounted pet walkway like this one, which was made of reclaimed barn board by DC Interiors of Madison, Wisconsin, to keep their client’s cats off the countertops.

A Fetching Alternative via bigchewypretzels

Are you pooped out from playing fetch with Fido, but he still has energy to spare? Automate playtime with a wall-mounted ball launcher. In this one, a microcontroller lets a remote user play a hands-off game of fetch with the dog merely by tapping a phone or issuing an Alexa voice command. When the dog returns the ball to the designated receptacle, he gets treats.