Tiny House Pets

The Pet Friendly Tiny House (Starring: Piglet!)

If you have pets you know they are truly part of your family. When it comes to tiny living it can be difficult to conceptualize sharing a small space with any other being, including a pet. Since I do share my tiny house with another person and a cat I’m often asked about our pet-friendly design choices.

First, I’d like to introduce you to our cat, Piglet. She is a Sphynx, which you might recognize as the hairless cat Mr. Bigglesworth from the Austin Powers movies. Piglet is going to be 12 years old at the end of this month but she doesn’t act like a senior cat at all.

Obviously my experience is pretty cat specific so if you own a dog some of these ideas may not apply, but here are the things we needed to consider when designing the tiny house for Piglet.

  • Litter Box
  • Food
  • Loft Access

The first project we tackled was the litter box. This might not be a consideration if you have an indoor/outdoor cat. Piglet, for many reasons, is indoors only. When she does go outside she is on her leash. Our litter box solution needed to be accessible for Piglet but out of our way. We designated the floor space of one of our entry way closets for the box. We cut an access door into the closet wall which allows Piglet to use it easily. We can also remove it from the closet to clean. People ask about the smell but if a litter box is well maintained and scooped regularly it shouldn’t be a problem. It isn’t unlike having an indoor composting toilet for the humans.

Secondly, we needed to find a place not only to feed Piglet but also to store her food and treats. I recently saw a really cool recessed food bowl idea where hinged bowls fold up into the wall when not in use. It is probably too late for us to try this in our own tiny house but it would be a good solution if you’re just starting to build. We use small bowls placed behind the ladder. This floor space is much too small for us to use but is perfect for Piglet. Her food is stored in a container (that she can’t open!) under the sofa.

Loft access was the final piece of the puzzle. Before the house was completely finished we brought Piglet up to visit to see how she would interact with it. We wondered if she would use the ladder to get up and down. She refused. We were about to move in so we needed to come up with something else pretty quick. We built platforms for her to use to get from the ground level to the loft. We used traditional shelf brackets that would also allow us to adjust the height as necessary. We covered the platforms in FLOR which we also used on both of our lofts and our ladder. This helps her get purchase with her claws when she is jumping or climbing. It also became her de facto scratching post. After a couple of months in the tiny house she became comfortable with the ladder and now she gets up to the loft that way and back down on the platforms. A cat climbing a ladder never stops being funny.

Piglet is very comfortable in our 120 square foot house with all three of these solutions. Do you have pets in your tiny space? How did you design it for them?  

Laura is a contributing writer for Tiny House Listings and she walks the walk. She lives in a 120 square foot cabin in Asheville, NC that her and her husband Matt built themselves. You can learn more about Laura and Matt at their website 120squarefeet.com.

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Category : Blog

9 Comments → “Tiny House Pets”

  1. Jennifer

    Apr 09, 2013

    We will be building a 350 sq foot house soon and we have a small chihuahua mix dog so the dish with hindges is a great idea since he cant climb like a cat. We also have a cat who is outside most of the time so I’m not to worried about litter but I do like to keep a litter box in the house when the weather is bad.


  2. Fiona

    Apr 09, 2013

    Thanks for this. Questions that have been on my mind.


  3. Caitlin

    Apr 09, 2013

    Thanks for sharing this info! I was interested to know how tiny housers handle cat litter boxes.

    I don’t have a cat at the moment but plan to get one when my tiny house is built. I have small-to-medium size dog (about 30 pounds, knee height, whippet-Basenji-beagle mutt). He will also need loft access. My plan at the moment is to have steps that lead to the loft against a wall, with shelves built into the side of the steps, and have the steps end on a window seat (so they won’t go to the floor). I haven’t started building yet so this is still theoretical :)


    • Lisa

      Apr 13, 2013

      Ooooo- I like that idea of small stairs/ bookcases stopping at a window seat. Smart. Also 8 think a tiny house would be better for my Shih-Tzu …. That way she wouldn’t have to constantly follow me around getting underfoot- rather just sit in one spot and follow me with her eyes! Brilliant! ;D


  4. ginmar

    Apr 09, 2013

    Oh, could you link to the bowl??

    I’ve been thinking about a tansu-type chest/stair for my dreamed-of tiny house, along with making lots of use of the loft space. Perches are a good start, but you always have more. Have you seen some of the pet friendly or cat-specific houses around on the web?


  5. BA

    Apr 13, 2013

    I am building The Gifford, a 112 sq. foot design by Four Lights Tiny a house Company. I will be sharing it with Greta, my 75 pound (13 year old) Weimaraner. So far the only accommodation I’ve done is to elongate the windows so she can see out. I’m thinking of a pulley system to hoist her into the loft. (I’m kidding.). We shall see how it all works out!


  6. ushie

    Apr 13, 2013

    I sometimes think building a house for me and another for the cats is the only way to go…


  7. JLM

    Nov 29, 2014

    I kept looking for the “Like” button for comments, everyone!


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