And we think college is expensive.

The American Pet Products Association, a nonprofit trade group, estimates that by the time 2019 ends, we will have spent more than $75 billion on our pets.

In fact, the payout to the pet industry has increased every year since 1994, when it was a mere $17 billion.


A portion of all that cabbage, of course, consists of toys, beds, pillows, and any number of assorted cozy comfort items we use to build our buddies their own hair-covered living spaces.

And before you shrug off the notion that spending money on pet nooks is silly, remember how much time you spent painting clouds and Frozen murals in your baby’s room. (Sorry, nursery.)

Pets are family too, and as sure as Lassie will find Timmy in the well, they deserve a few square feet of their own within your home. Here are some ideas:

Use the Stairs: The space under your stairs makes for an ideal dog or cat den. Any contractor can cut an entry or install a gate. Line it with blankets, paint a border, and hang a sign. Ideal for pets named for Harry Potter characters. Bumped-out window seats also can be used in this fashion.

Dress up the crate: Dogs especially love their crates. Replace that captive zoo-animal look by installing shelves above it, adding pictures, and maybe even painting the wall around it. Hang a name sign, too.

Cubicles: They’re not just for haggard tech workers. A row of small cubicles, such as a repurposed book shelf, gives cats and small dog owners a ton of ways to create beds and toy storage. Put stuff on top, store leashes, and assign each pet to specific cube. Just like they do at Facebook.

Pack your bags: Have an old-school suitcase lying around? If not, the local thrift shop probably does. Grab one, make it comfortable, and voilà — a vintage, chic, and portable pet home.

You can also use your desire to pet pamper as an excuse to declutter. Marie Kondo would be so proud. For example, end tables are really only remote control supports, and that old secretary’s desk isn’t worth as much as you think. It will bring your furry friend more joy to have their own zone.

Any sort of small, open space in the house can serve as a place for your pet to call home, and one quick trip to Pet Station is all it takes.

And apparently, about $75 billion.


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