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How to Live in a Tiny Home with Pets—Dogs and Cats!

How to Live in a Tiny Home with Pets—Dogs and Cats!

June 27, 2017 0 Comments

BY Alexis Haifley, Living the Tiny Dream.

One topic we are often asked about, that I would like to speak to: living tiny with pets!

In our home, we have one large dog, Cooper, (70+ pounds) and two cats.
 
Lots of people shake their heads when we tell them about our animals, or when we tell them that once we are settled in, we will probably be adding another dog.

Living the Tiny Dream - Living Tiny With Pets 1
 
For us, it was never a question of IF we were going to take our pets with us on this journey, but HOW.
 
When we were designing the home, and prioritizing features, we wanted to make sure we thought about our animals and how we were going to fit them in the space, without feeling claustrophobic.
 
All animals come with stuff, i.e. large bags of food, beds, bowls, toys, litter, etc.—you get the idea. All of this stuff takes up valuable storage space, and is usually something you would want to stay hidden.
 
We have incorporated a couple things into the design to help our pets feel at home, while also sparing us from staring at a kitty litter box in the middle of the house.
 
We had lots of ideas when designing this tiny home—we wanted a place where the cats could get away from people if they wanted, preferably up high as that’s what they like.
 
That line of thinking led us to consider having our main storage cabinets function as a catwalk. The cabinets (from Ikea!) are fastened to the wall, so they can’t hold much weight (humans can’t walk on them for example, and nothing much heavier than a couple house plants should be put on top of them), but they are perfect for the cats to get from one loft to the other. We just put a couple pieces of plywood over the tops of them to create one seamless, flat surface and boom—instant catwalk.

Living the Tiny Dream - Living Tiny With Pets - Catwalk

 
Another concern was what to do with the litter box??
 
For the most part, when the weather is nice, our felines are indoor/outdoor pets. However, in the winter, they prefer to be outside, so we needed to make sure that we included space for a litter box that we hopefully didn’t have to look at.
 
Our solution for this was the stairs with storage!
 
We put the litter box in the bottom cupboard and cut a round hole in the door for the cats to access. Bonus: the hole is too small for our dog to fit his head through, so no more cat treats for him!

Living the Tiny Dream - Living Tiny With Pets - Storage Stairs
 
It was a win for us all around—the cats have privacy, the litter box is out of site, and because it's contained, litter crumbs don’t get all over the floor!
 
Our 5-year-old beloved mutt, Cooper, wasn’t quite as challenging to plan for. He was going to need a bed on the main floor, as well as food and water bowls—that was about it!
 
So far, we’ve been able to keep his old bed, we just tuck it in the little space between the sink and the kitchen cabinets when we’re walking around downstairs, and pull it out to lay on the floor when we’re out of the way.
 
His bed does poke out beyond the cabinet, so we will probably end up making him a bed that fits perfectly in that space, but for right now it’ll do.

Living the Tiny Dream - Living Tiny With Pets - Storage
 
His food and water bowls live under our heater, tucked over to the side of the main living area.
 
With all our animals joining us, the biggest problem has been when Cooper drinks! He’s a messy drinker and gets water all over the floor. I haven’t found a perfect solution for that yet, so if any of you have ideas, please let me know!
 
Overall, the transition for us, and our animals, has been a fairly smooth one!
 

With that, we have also been asked by many friends and aspiring tiny home owners what our future plans are regarding our tiny lifestyle?

For many people we know and follow in the tiny house community, they want to travel with their house, which is great!
 
For us however, we want to do things a bit differently.
 
We want to travel, hopefully, because we live in a tiny house, not necessarily with it.
 
Travel is a passion for us, we want to adventure and see as much as possible, and we’re hoping our tiny house will make that dream a reality. The only reason we’re not abroad for half the year is because of our mountains of debt.
 
We have credit card debt, cars that need to be paid off, and LOTS of student loan debt – like most people our age (28 years old!).
 
By living within and below our means (thanks to our tiny house!), we are making a focused effort on paying off as much debt as we can, as fast as we can.
 
I remember turning to my husband once and asking him what he would do with his life if he didn’t have debt? He just stared at me and said it wasn’t possible, that everyone has debt and it is a part of life.
 
Once we really dug deep into that concept and analyzed our debt, we realized that was pretty much the only thing keeping us from the life we wanted.
 
We have already seen the savings by living tiny, we don’t have a traditional mortgage (although full disclosure, we are still paying for the financing of our home!), and we don’t have all the upkeep that comes with having a standard-sized home.
 
Our bills for water and power are almost non-existent because we use so little (hello composting toilet!), and because we’re not consuming as many goods, we don’t have as much trash or waste.

Living the Tiny Dream - Living Tiny With Pets - Backcountry Tiny Homes
 
It’s only been a month of living this way and we’ve already seen an immense difference! We cannot wait to see where we are, and what we’re able to do 5 years down the road. If you are interested in learning more about our journey, follow our Instagram for regular updates from our family!

 

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