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Mim - Black Domestic Shorthair cat on TLC Interiors

8 Things Nobody tells you about Owning a Cat

Growing up, I had a fear of cats. I never owned one as a kid, actually, and they tended to freak me out a bit. As I grew older, that fear turned into a full-blown phobia. Weird, I know. Those pesky felines scared the bejeezus outta me and they always looked like they wanted to tear my eyes out.

Domestic Shorthair Cats - TLC Interiors

If I saw one on a footpath I’d cross the road. If I was invited over a friends house, I’d have to ask if they owned a cat and hope they’d put it away. And if one came toward me, I’d break out in a sweat in true Fear Factor style.

Then I met my partner Gavin, who just happened to love cats, and whose mother owned two and whose father had not long purchased a new kitten.


Flash forward eight years and I now own two cats. Well, they own me, actually. And the phobia is done and dusted. It was a very interesting journey getting over that fear (I’ll tell you about it one day), and I now couldn’t imagine my life without my little Emi and Mim.

That said, cats and decor often don’t go together. So this is my tell-all about owning a cat and trying to have nice things. If you have a cat in your family, you’ll know just what I mean.

Domestic Shorthair cat Black and White TLC Interiors

8 Things Nobody tells you about Owning a Cat

Wicker is a material you’ll no longer know.

Rookie error one when I got my cats was having a wicker laundry basket. Well, it’s a laundry basket to me. To them, it’s a giant circular scratch pole that now resembles a Freddy Kruger victim. I keep turning it to find a ‘good side’ to show, but sadly there are no good sides left.

Don’t leave yourself with one roll of toilet paper.

Down to one roll? You’re a fool if you rely on that being on the holder when you get up in the morning. My kitten Emi loved nothing more than pulling the entire roll off and trailing it down the hallway. Awesome fun to clean up at 6am.

Flowers are a thing of the past.

Don’t ever leave a vase of flowers near anything of value. I tried this numerous times. It wasn’t until one of the cats knocked the vase all over the computer desk and stained the wood that I realised I couldn’t have nice things.

Black Domestic Shorthair Cat - Mim TLC Interiors

They don’t care how much your iPad cost.

They really don’t. I left mine unattended on a self once and one of them (neither will cop to doing it) pushed it off the edge of the shelf and smashed the screen. This was one week after I got it. Merry Christmas to me.

Buy an expensive rug at your own peril.

I’d argue that cats have an inbuilt sense for where vomit is best brought up, and it’s not on tiles or floorboards. Mim in particular can be heard vomiting rooms away. And it doesn’t matter how quickly you run to her with paper towel; she’s already found her ideal spot on the rug and made her mark.

Candles are to be monitored at all times.

No matter how many times my cats’ whiskers have been burnt when they’ve looked into a lit candle jar, they still keep doing it. This means that the nights I used to light five candles across the house and have it smelling like a fragrant wonderland… they’re over.

Black and White Domestic shorthair cat TLC Interiors

Everything will be covered in fur. Everything.

Your dream white sofa; yeah, not so white anymore. Unless your cat’s fur is white and then you’re set. One thing I came to realise about owning cats is that their fur goes everywhere. On your sofa, on your bed, in your coffee, on your toast. Seriously, it goes everywhere. You end up coming to terms with it and consume fur without a second thought.

There are no nice-looking litter trays.

I challenge you to find a litter tray you get excited over. I am yet to discover one. Whether they’re open trays, lidded trays, those weird ones with mini steps in them; all litter trays are ugly. The worst part is that you’re meant to have two per cat. I have four in my house and they are the bane of my existence.

>>> What are some of the shocks or funny moments you discovered when owning a cat? Drop a comment below and share!


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Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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13 Responses

  1. Omg yes!! And using the beautiful rugs and my newly upholstered velvet chair as a scratching post, wrecked it to never be the same again on its first outing in the house. If they weren’t so cute, they wouldn’t be here anymore

  2. I also have two cats. I have learnt that (it took me several times :P) that I can have plants or cats, but not both. Obs, I choose the cats, but I would love to be able to have some greenery in the house.

    Also, make sure you have plenty of cat scratchers around. My cats have never scratched my furniture. Take note where they are scratching and put a something there or nearby that they are allowed to scratch.

    I agree about the litter trays. They are an ugly necessity. I use the large underbed storage containers and have one in the laundry and one in shower in the 2nd bathroom. Our cats have never been territorial about their litter trays, they will use either, so we have been fine with only two. I can’t imagine where I would put additional litter trays!

    1. Haha Daniella, that is the biggest issue in my life most of the time; where do the trays go, where does the food go, how can I make them all look as nice as possible. It’s terrible and hilarious all at the same time.

      And I agree re plants. I’m so eager to jump on the indoor plant trend, but I got one years ago and my youngest tore it apart. So, like you, I’ve learnt I can only have one or the other lol.

      Good point about the scratch poles. I only have two (living room and spare room) so perhaps I do need some more.

      Thanks for all your tips and advice 🙂

  3. I found myself nodding with agreement, as I was reading this post!
    No more glass or breakable ornaments on the shelves.. everything on the shelves has to be “Plasti-Tac” (on the base) to prevent Kitty from pushing off the shelves.
    I hope someone will design a prettier litter box.. the ones in the stores are simply fugly!

  4. Ummmm 2 per cat? We have 1 for 2 cats in our laundry but then, they are outside all day and only indoors from about 7pm onwards.

    What would a pretty litter box look like? Steam bent plywood? A nice on-trend marble or concrete tray? Brass perhaps? Can you imagine buying something that gorgeous in the knowledge that it’s going to be assaulted by the foulest matter known to the universe: cat poo.

    Only one chair (freedom armchair) in our lounge has copped the ‘scratching post’ treatment but it hurts me to look at it when I enter the room – so frayed and sad looking!

    I have a heap of indoor plants that generally stay unmolested although the big pot with the Rubber Tree plant in it has copped a whizzing more than once. I’m amazed it hasn’t shrivelled up and died yet!

    Overall our experience sharing a home with 2 cats (and a toddler) hasn’t resulted in too many casualties. Having said that I keep all my nice things on some gorgeous locally made midcentury style string shelving – too high up and shelves not deep enough to entice the cats. All my ceramics, small prints, small succulent pots etc live on it – can highly recommend string shelving!

  5. I feel like the worst pet owner ever are you really supose to have 2 litter trays per cat? I have 1 cat and 1 tray i clean it out every day sometimes twice a day is this not enough?!

  6. Hi Chris. I just came across some fantastic ideas to hide the kitty litter! Just google it and there are some great sites. Am off to ikea to buy a cupboard to hack! ps we have two trays for 3 cats and is fine.


I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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