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January 23, 2023

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Today’s home hunters are looking for pet-loving spaces like never before. That doesn’t’ exclusively mean designing the perfect dog-friendly environment. Creating a cat-friendly home acknowledges that cats are family, too; hence their well-being is top of mind for many buyers. And for a good reason. Any cat lover will tell you that although felines are known for being aloof, independent, and seemingly indifferent to people, that’s not universal among felines. They're beloved worldwide and extremely popular on the Internet, with millions of videos and billions of views on YouTube.

A black cat with piercing green eyes looking at the camera from inside his kitty tree
Photo by Madalyn Cox on Unsplash

Creating a Cat Haven at Home

Creating a haven at home for your feline family member is easy—follow these 6 steps:

1) Add plenty of vertical space
Think vertical for your kitty. Creating vertical space utilizing products like cat trees can transform a sour puss into a loving kitten. It gives them freedom and if you have multiple cats, makes it easier for cats in a multi-cat household to get along since there are enough special spots to go around. In addition, vertical kitty spots allow them to survey their world from on high, encouraging exercise; something lacking for many indoor cats, by giving them somewhere to jump. There are many excellent ways to create vertical cat space, such as cat trees, shelves, and the connection of several vertical areas to create cat superhighways.

2) No more whisker stress at mealtime
Even though you love your cat and will do anything for them, you might not be aware that the high sides of your cat’s dish can bother his or her delicate whiskers. It's true. A wide, low-sided dish suits cats best. Take The Artisan Feeder from Bowsers, for instance. It embodies utilitarian chic with low sides that won’t bother your cat’s whiskers. Plus, the neutral wood base and elegant white ceramic bowl add a touch of sophistication to dinnertime.

    A calico cat asleep on top of moroccan inspired pillows next to a fireplace
    Photo by Audrey Raz on Unsplash

    3) Think cocoon hideaway
    Creating a cat-friendly home means adding space to snuggle and to hide away alone. Just provide a spot for your cat to disappear in plain sight, allowing your cat to feel safe and secure. By hiding in a secret spot, a nervous or scared cat can actually build confidence and integrate with the family. One interesting option is the Ombré Cat Cave from Karma Cat. As the website says, these are "handcrafted by women's collectives high in Nepal with a blend of Tibetan and New Zealand wools." Available online at

    4) Just say no to gas station bathrooms
    Cats, like humans, want a clean and non-stinky place to do their business. Upgrading their litter box to one that fights odor issues is a must. That's where the new Cateco litter box comes into the picture. It's clinically proven to reduce odors by up to 86% by fighting humidity and, therefore, bad smells. In addition, by optimizing natural air circulation, litter can dry adequately, discouraging the growth of bacteria and fungus, a.k.a. the cause of stinky ammonia and other malodorous gases. Bonus: you’ll need to change your cat’s litter far less frequently!

    Speaking of litter boxes, Animal Planet’s "Cat Daddy" Jackson Galaxy recommends the "plus one rule" when it comes to cat boxes. He suggests cat owners count the number of cats they have and add one. For example, you'll want three litter boxes if you have two cats. Make sure they're situated in easy-to-use locations near windows or the bathroom you use.

    A black, grey and tan striped kitty on a perch looking out a window
    Photo by Madalyn Cox on Unsplash

    5) A room with a view
    Cats love to look out windows, and creating a lookout point with a window perch is easy. You might never know what your cat thinks about as they spend the entire day staring outside, but a perch is always welcome.

    6) Multiple scratching posts
    There are several reasons your cat is choosing to scratch the sofa and the doorjamb of your bedroom. Simply put, your cat wants to leave his or her mark in these key outposts to indicate co-ownership. Instead of tucking away scratching posts where you’d like them, just place them in these spots as well as the other places your cat seems to want to scratch.

      Make sure the scratching posts you choose are sturdy and offer various scratching positions. Think horizontal, like the arm of your sofa; vertical; and inclined. Scratch ability is essential, so make sure the ones you choose offer alternative places your cat can sink its claws into. Remember, cats aren’t just making their mark when scratching but are also stretching their back muscles and removing the outer nail sheath.

      Since your cat spends most of his or her time in your house, it's important to ensure you’re creating a cat-friendly home. And a stress-free kitty will make you want to stay home, too — especially when you find your new dream home in Santa Barbara, Montecito or the surrounding communities. Please call me at (805) 886-9378 or email me at and I’ll happily show you what’s on the market right now, as well as share my pocket listings.

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      Client Reviews

      “It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

      - J & A

      “Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

      - M.F.

      “Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

      - P.B.

      “We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

      - T.C.

      “Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

      - D.R.

      “I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

      - M.A.

      “Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

      - D.K.

      “Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

      - S.N. Decker Ph.D.

      “Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

      - Johan and Paula van den Berg

      “Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

      - John and Lacey Williams

      “After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

      - Michael & Nancy Lee

      “Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

      - Richard and Catherine Frinier

      “Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

      - Laurie Siegel

      “We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

      - Ken Saffir

      “Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

      - Michael & Susan Marquart

      “A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

      - Rob & Judi Kelch