Last Updated Dec 23, 2016 · Written by Rob Schneider
Pets need homes just as we do. If you don't provide a house for your cat or dog, they will take up residence in your house. While you may be willing to accommodate a dog or a cat, it's probably not a good idea to let rabbits or a wallaby free in your home and fish need water to survive.
You might argue that a dog house or a cosy home for your cat can be a DIY project. You can buy a tank for your fish and perhaps string up some chicken wire to keep your rabbits enclosed. If you're one of the few Australians who has a pet wallaby, hopefully you have a very large backyard, but a wallaby is hard to keep enclosed.
Building a house for your pet can be a DIY project, but if you want the perfect house for your pet, you'll probably need to employ a builder or other tradie to make sure everything really is perfect.
A dog house is essentially a miniature one-room house. Your dog needs easy access to their house and it needs to give them shelter from the rain and hot sun. If it doesn't, your dog is likely to say, "Thanks but no thanks" and hang out in your patio and sneak inside your house whenever it gets the chance.
A DIY dog house may look something like the one pictured above. Notice that the dog is sitting outside. A tin roof and a hot interior is not very enticing. If your home was like that, you would probably stay outdoors, too.
A custom built dog house will be more like your home. It will have a sturdy foundation and strong walls. It will have a peaked roof and provide your dog with a comfortable lifestyle. It will also look a lot nicer in your garden.
Also note the large door on this dog house. Dogs aren't well known for being good housekeepers, so you'll appreciate having easier access to the interior when you do the housekeeping for your dog. If you want your dog to be able to get into and out of its house whenever it wants you can always add an extra door on the wider door.
As any cat lover knows, cats like to hang around the house. They're not as active as dogs, but they can cause problems. Cats like to scratch and their fur tends to collect on furniture.
The trick with cats is to provide them with a level of comfort that entices them to relax in their own furniture rather than your furniture.
You may have good reasons for wanting to own a cat, but also have good reasons for not wanting a cat or cats to take over your house. You can always buy a cage, but your cat won't appreciate being cooped up in a cage any more than you would. The best way to keep cats happy and out of your living room is to give them a space they can call their own.
A laundry room can be a good place for your cats to call their own. Giving them a home in your laundry room can be as easy as installing a basket with a cosy cushion inside and a kitty litter and perhaps something they can scratch on. You don't want them to feel trapped in the laundry room, though, so hire a handyman to install a cat door that allows them to go outside. If you like, you can install another cat door that allows your cats to visit you in your home.
Yes, you can go to any shop that sells fish and purchase a fish tank, but is that the best home for your fish? Fish are beautiful and fascinating to watch. Rather than watch them swim in circles in a tiny fish tank, think about places where your fish could really be a feature in your home.
You can start at the fish shop, but rather than buying a small glass fish tank, buy a larger tank, a pump, a filter and all the interior trimmings. Then have a carpenter build a stand for the fish tank or even a floor to ceiling feature wall that will do double time as a screen between your kitchen or dining room and your living room.
The beauty of this approach is that your carpenter can create a stand or feature wall that goes with your home interior. They can take a minimalist approach and build a simple structure or you may want to have a cabinetmaker build a timber structure to display your fish tank. Don't forget that you'll need access to the pump and filter and may need to hire an electrician so you can have electricity to run your pump and for lighting.
If you have rabbits, you'll probably agree that they should live outdoors. You can throw together a DIY rabbit hutch, but it may not enhance the appearance of your backyard. Why not have a builder make a rabbit hutch with a difference?
A rabbit hutch with a difference will be a sturdier structure that is well-built and can look good in your garden. If you just have one or two rabbits, it can be a small structure. If you have more rabbits, it can be large enough to provide a comfortable home for all of them.
While you're at it, you may want to build a fence around the hutch so the rabbits can get exercise. There's no need for the fence to be chicken wire strung across some sticks you've pounded into the ground. It can be a neat fence that won't be an eyesore in your garden.
No, a wallaby isn't the first pet that comes to mind, but if you have a large backyard, having a wallaby or two hopping around in your backyard can be delightful. Yes, you can legally keep a wallaby as a pet in Australia. Keeping it in your backyard is another matter.
A wallaby is essentially a miniature kangaroo. Like kangaroos, wallabies like wide open spaces. A large backyard will give a wallaby enough room to exercise, but if given the opportunity, your pet wallaby will want to explore further. They're very good at getting over or under obstacles, too.
If you have a low fence, your wallaby will be exploring your neighbour's yard in about five minutes. If the wallaby can dig under your fence, it will take them a little longer, but they will dig their way to freedom.
If you really want a wallaby as a pet, getting it to stay on your property will be a little more expensive than building a rabbit hutch. You will need to build a high fence it can't jump over and low enough that it can't dig under the fence. Not many fencing contractors have experience building wallaby-proof fences, but if you do your homework, you can work together with your fencing contractor and build a fence that will keep your wallaby or wallabies in your backyard.
Whatever type of pet you have, you can build a home for it. Since your pet is part of your life, it's better to build a beautiful home for it than a quick DIY enclosure. Your pet will thank you for it and you will appreciate having a home or enclosure for your pet that doesn't look like an eyesore in your backyard.