Nov 18, 2023 - Real Estate

Tampa Bay family builds a cat's dream home

Sharie Lesniak and Linda Bak are building their dream house, filled with cat-friendly features. Photo: Courtesy of Sharie Lesniak

From catios to spas, some Tampa Bay pets live like royalty.

Why it matters: Pet owners are increasingly eager to cater their homes to pups, cats and other companion animals.

Driving the news: Searches for "pet bedroom" on Pinterest rose 132% from October 2022 to October 2023.

  • There was also a surge in searches for other pet-friendly designs, including dog shower utility rooms and DIY cat patios, according to data the platform shared with Axios.

What they're saying: "Every house I currently have in development has a dog bath," Tampa architect John Keener tells Axios.

  • The phenomena have taken off in the last eight years or so, Keener says. He attributes the spike in custom pet features to Pinterest; most clients show the same photos, he says.
  • Other popular pet features include sleeping nooks, special yards for animals and discrete litter box entrances.

Zoom in: Reader Sharie Lesniak and her wife Linda Bak are building a house in St. Pete named "The Cat Box."

  • Their feline sons, Hygge and Lil' Roo, will have a "catio" with a cat door, climbing shelves, extra large window sills (with bird- and butterfly-friendly landscaping outside those windows!) and a litter room.
  • "When we were designing the home with our architect and describing all these cat features he asked, just to be sure, if the catio should be tall enough for us or if it will be just for the cats," Lesniak says.
  • Of note: The house is for humans, too.

The latest: The global market for pet accessories is expected to reach $55.4 billion by 2030, according to a new report.

  • Pet furniture is also expanding. Next year, pet product company Fable is launching a large version of its minimalist dog crate, which is made with wood (instead of plastic) and can double as a side table.

The big picture: A growing share of consumers view pets as family members, Jeremy Canade, Fable co-founder and CEO, tells Axios.

  • Pet lovers "are looking for the same things they look for in their own products: quality, function and sustainability," Canade says.

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