A few weeks back, my six-year-old comes running back from the rabbit cage (yeah, we have rabbits), hollering:
“Daddy! Daddy, look! Our rabbits! They’re married! They have babies!”
Having adopted two female rabbits, the possibility of babies wasn’t really in the cards. Not that we wouldn’t be willing to add to our rabbit family. Quite the contrary, we love animals. In fact, we also have a pair of ducks waddling around the property. But my wife and I made a conscious decision to get two females…or so we thought.
Sure enough, I get over there to find that, indeed, we now have a fluffle.
This got me to thinking about pets and remodeling. Well, no, actually, it got me to thinking I needed to build a bigger cage, which then led me to thinking about pets and remodeling.
Being in the industry for nearly 25 years, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise at how many homes we’ve remodeled with dogs and cats — not to mention the occasional snake or two.
Dogs and cats are by far the most sensitive to home improvement projects. How well they adjust to a remodel depends a lot on the breed and temperament. But it also has a lot to do with the steps pet parents take to limit the stress and keep animals safe:
1. Introduce pets to workers. We make it a habit to get to know the pets in a house. The noise can be stressful enough without having the source of the commotion come from a stranger. This is especially important with dogs.
2. Contact a pet daycare center. Now, you don’t necessarily need to take your dog or cat to daycare throughout the entire remodel. If the budget is of concern, the best time to use this service is during the noisiest and most disruptive phases of a project, like during demo, drywall, and possibly trimwork.
In fact, a client’s cat — a cat very fond of me at the start of the project — disliked me so much by the end that it would use my boots as its litter box each time I slipped them off. I got wise to its shenanigans, but it took a couple times driving home in bare feet for it to really sink in.
3. Locate pets in a room furthest from work zones. This not only minimizes a pet’s exposure to noise, dust and risk of injury but also keeps them from other potential dangers. An access hole may look like a good napping spot for a cat, while an open door may seem like an invitation for a dog to take a walk.
There was one job where I got a frantic call from a member of my team, telling me that a client’s cat was outside. We were able to get it back indoors. But around 7 o’clock, I get another call. This time from the client, wondering why there were two cats in the house. Whoops!
4. Double-check the work zone. Most of the time, contractors are good at cleaning up after themselves. But small pieces of wood, slivers, and even nails can escape the gaze. Before letting the dog or cat back into the area, take another look around. You may find something that could injure your pet. If you see any missed dust, it’s also good to do a quick clean. Pets can be allergic to the same stuff as you.
Remember, workers are working, and it’s difficult for them to keep an eye on their work and your animals at the same. Just a few extra measures can do wonders for a pet’s health (both mental and physical) during a remodel.