Cat Friendly Interior Design
Meet the small space designer who’s all about decorating on a budget—and cats!
YouTuber Alexandra Gater has become an authority on home makeovers on a budget, transforming small, uninviting interiors into dream spaces for millennials and beyond. The Toronto-based 28-year-old’s YouTube channel, featuring snappy how-to’s for rental-friendly upgrades and DIY projects on a budget, has clearly tapped into a need—it’s amassed over 300,000 subscribers, with some videos racking up over a million views.
It was as a former Home Editor at Chatelaine magazine that she realized there was a real need in the world of interior decorating for pocket-book-friendly, unintimidating design how-to.
“My goal was, and is now, to inspire people no matter what their skill level to have a beautiful home,” says Alexandra.
Best of all, she has two cats—16-year-old Harriet, and Lottie, a Ragdoll who just turned one—so she knows all about creating cat-friendly interiors that don’t sacrifice style. We asked her to spill her top suggestions for creating a beautiful home that also works for your cats, including an Ikea hack for creating a litter box cabinet!
Alexandra Gater and her cat Lottie.
Q: Many cat people feel like they have to sacrifice style to meet their cats’ needs. Do you ever feel that way?
A: “I don’t think you have to sacrifice style at all! There are so many trendy and stylish products on the market—down to cute cat bowls—that, in my opinion, add to the decor of your home.
“I get so many questions asking how my home stays so stylish and clean with two cats, particularly when it comes to the sofa. A trick I’ve found is using velvet furniture (but good, high quality velvet). I find it easier to clean, and it’s more difficult for them to scratch velvet and ruin it.”
“My goal was, and is now, to inspire people no matter what their skill level to have a beautiful home.”
Q: There’s an art to creating harmonious space so that both pets and people are happy in their home. What are the top things you think cat parents need to consider in order to achieve this?
A: “I definitely think that cat parents need to think about the litter box situation before getting a cat. Especially in a small space, it can get messy really quickly. There are so many beautiful litter boxes on the market—the Pidan “Igloo” Cat Litter Box is my fave ($140 teddybob.ca)—and also so many fun Ikea litter box hacks!” (See moderndcat.com/articles/catlitterboxcabinet for Alexandra’s Ikea hack for creating a DIY litterbox cabinet)
Q: Can you share your favourite life-hacks to beautifully catify your home?
A: “All of those small details really count! Cute food bowls, accessories, and even furniture that doubles as cat beds are easy ways to beautifully catify your home! I also keep my cats’ toys in a decorative basket in my living room. Even doing that makes the storage of their toys so much more stylish!”
Q: What are your top three tips for improvements you can make to a small space to better accommodate cats, particularly multiple cats?
1. Invest in a litter bench/cabinet that hides their box.
2. Make sure all of their accessories are beautiful! There are so many options on the market; you just have to do a little digging!
3. Invest in furniture that doubles as a pet bed to save space.
Editor’s Pick: ViviPet has a selection of super-cute cat bowls and plates, like the Mini Kitten Bowl, pictured. ($9, vivipet.com)
Q: Any fun suggestions for ways to decorate that incorporate a love of cats?
1. Get a custom pet portrait! I love Vintage Pets (vintage-pets.com)! So quirky and fun.
2. Tasteful cat art. Because who wouldn’t want a hipster cat print on their wall? (etsy.com/shop/WaterInMyPaint)
Q: Do your cats enjoy the DIY concealed litter box? Did it take a while for them to embrace it?
A: They do! It’s also great because it has a ton of extra storage so it’s where I store extra litter, their brushes and extra food. It didn’t take them long at all to embrace it—within a half day they understood!
Q: How do you keep your house smelling fresh in a multi-cat household?
A: Tofu litter has been a game-changer for me. It’s the only litter I will use. My favourite is Pidan Original Composite Cat Litter ($15, teddybob.ca).