The Tiny house Blog

A Guide to Raising Pets in a Tiny House

Tiny houses can be delightful spaces that can completely change your lifestyle as well as your opinion of attaining and collecting "stuff." When you only have 800 square feet or less to work with, all of the items you acquire throughout your life become more precious!

However, many people hesitate to own tiny homes when the question of pets come to mind.

If you're a current pet owner or wish to adopt one in the future, a modern tiny house may seem irresponsible. You don't want them to feel cooped up and caged in your own home.

However, with only some knowledge and a few adjustments, you can create a space that you and your pet feels perfectly comfortable in. Domestic pets are far more adaptable than we give them credit for.

Read on to learn how to raise animals in a tiny house to ensure that everyone beneath your roof is happy – furry little friends included!

Choose the Right Pets

If you already own a tiny home but don't currently have a pet, you're at an advantage. You'll be able to adopt pets that may do better in a tiny home and won't feel as cooped up in your small space. However, it's important to remember that just like us,  all pets need exercise, attention, access to fresh air, and more - no matter the size.

Here are a few pets that are uniquely suited to do well in small spaces like tiny homes:

  • Guinea pigs
  • Reptiles
  • Mice
  • Rabbits
  • Betta fish
  • Cats
  • Small or medium-sized dogs (or big lazy ones 😉)

Smaller animals such as rodents or fish may be the best choice if your tiny house is already at its max capacity, but you're still looking for a companion to help you pass the days. However, some reptiles and fish still require large aquariums and terrariums that may take up more room than you expect so make sure to do a little research in advance!

Some reptiles need big terrariums like this.

It's also important to remember that if you already have a cat or dog and you're wondering if they can adapt to the tiny home life, they certainly can! It's all about planning in advance in order to create spaces for them as well as methods to store their toys, food, and beds.

Creating Safe Spaces

Your first goal needs to be creating a safe space for your dog or cat. This is an area where they can relax if they become stressed and anxious as well as where they can sleep each night. For cats, consider whether they're a climber or a burrower (see more on this below).

Cats who love to climb will prefer to have a space that's high up–they feel safer when they can have a bird's eye view of the environment at all angles.

Consider great space saving perches like this one below that stay out of the way and give them a nice view inside and outside the house! These windowsill beds for your cat to lounge in during the day are ideal for cats that like to climb and have a good view.

On the other hand, cats who love to burrow will prefer dark and comfortable areas closer to the ground that mimics bushes in the wild.

Creating nooks under your seating areas for both cats and dogs can be a simple way to provide them with a safe space without needing to take up extra room in your tiny home. You may also want to see if there are storage closets that you're not using that are large enough for a cat bed or dog bed.

Or you can custom build in a dog crate like this one below. Toss in a dog bed, and a few toys, and they'll have a nice secure and cozy spot dedicated to themselves!

Separate Eating Areas

It's also important that you incorporate a separate eating area for your dog or cat that's away from their sanctuary. Not only will this enable you to easily clean up messes if they occur, cats and dogs normally prefer eating food and drinking water away from the place they sleep.

Consider installing small drawers at the bottom of your kitchen cabinets (where the toe kick is) that can pull out to reveal a food dish. Although this won't save space, it may look more attractive compared to the bowls sitting on the floor. Cats bowls are able to be installed on a higher ledge if you want them out of the way.

Or if the water and food bowl have to be in sight you can get something that looks good rather than the cheap-o plastic bowls.

When it comes to water bowls, we don't recommend hiding them away – your pets need access to water any time they're thirsty. You may be able to hide food dishes away after your pets have eaten, since many pets flourish if they're fed two or three times a day on a schedule rather than free feeding.  

Regular Exercise

No matter how large or small your pet is, they need to have regular exercise, especially since they're not able to get much of that within the confines of your tiny home. Dogs should be walked normally, but special attention needs to be focused on cats since they have less room to roam around your home!

You can train your cat to walk on a leash by getting them accustomed to wearing a harness in the house. As the days' progress, have them wear the harness for longer and longer amounts of time until they're able to wear it without appearing uncomfortable. If you have trouble leash training your cat, you should also consider constructing a "catio."

As the name suggests, a catio is a small patio for your cat that connects to your patio through a window or a small opening. Your cats will have access to fresh air and sunshine in the safe confines of their patio. If you make a large enough one, you can also play with them inside the catio in order to keep them stimulated and happy!

At the end of the day, if you can't get outside, make sure to make some time to play with them inside.

Creating a Cat Walk

You'll find that many cats are either burrowers or climbers. Burrowers will appreciate little hidden areas near the floor where they can burrow and hide such as small tents and boxes with blankets over them. Climbers, on the other hand, will want to be as high up as possible in their space in order to feel comfortable and confident.

Cat trees may be hard to incorporate into your tiny home because of their size. However, you can create a custom climbing solution for your cats by creating a cat walk on top of your kitchen cabinets or up into your loft space.

Hiding the Litter Box

When it comes to cats, one of the main problems all cat owners face is where to store the litter box. This becomes even harder as a tiny house owner! Our recommendation is to purchase or make a litter box that can blend in with the surrounding environment.  

For instance, check out these litter boxes available that look like the pot of fake plants. Not a bad way to decorate and keep the litter box hidden!

You can also find litter boxes that can be hidden in custom-made cabinets that resemble end tables. You can also find more ideas to hide your litter box by studying some tiny home storage hacks. Many of these tips can apply to litter boxes as well as pet toys and more!

Storing Pet Accessories

Storing pet accessories is one of the easiest aspects of owning a tiny home with a pet because you're already accustomed to a variety of storage hacks! We recommend choosing a kitchen cabinet or a cabinet in your bedroom where you can utilize the inside of a door. Consider hanging a shoe storage rack and hanging leashes, toys, and other accessories in those small compartments.

You can also utilize small baskets or pots throughout your home for attractive storage solutions that allow you to continue living big in a tiny house without ruining your design aesthetic!

Enrichment

Last but not least, we always encourage pet owners to invest in different kinds of enrichment. Since your pets will be in a smaller space throughout the day, they'll need even more ways to keep their minds preoccupied so they don't become bored. Enrichment can be as simple as a Kong bone filled with peanut butter or your dog's frozen kibble or favorite snack.

Cats nearly always enjoy a toy coated in some catnip, but you can also choose to grow cat grass by your windowsills so they can snack at their leisure!

Happy Animals in Your Tiny House

When it comes to raising happy pets in your tiny house, the most important tip we recommend is to take your time planning. Remember to include a dedicated space for your pet to relax and sleep, and consider their own personalities and needs. Install plenty of areas where your cat can experience fresh air, sunlight, and places for them to climb, scratch, and leap.

Make sure you continue giving your dog an ample amount of exercise each day, or create fencing around your tiny house during the day so they can freely move in and out of your home at their leisure.

Ready to look at tiny houses for sale or tiny house rentals? Browse our available tiny homes today!

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