IN THE cats-versus-dogs debate, feline fans invariably cite kitties’ low-maintenance needs in their arguments. So you’d think that, when it comes to accessories, these uncomplicated companions would be content with a ball of yarn, a paper bag or a catnip-stuffed mouse at most. But such clutter simply doesn’t go with that Eames chair and Noguchi coffee table. And that’s to say nothing of the ugliest accoutrement of all: the litter box.

Fortunately, two Portland companies have found a way to merge pet accessories with high-end home décor. The bamboo scratching posts ($50-$170) from Square Cat Habitat, come with removable carpet pieces, making it easy to convert the cat’s distraction into decoration. And last year, Compressed Pattern debuted the sleek Kattbank, a bench with cat-sized openings and a hidden litter box platform that keeps the unpleasantness out of sight (and purportedly out of scent). Of course, like all high fashion, the Kattbank is not for the budget-minded: It costs $2,200.

“You’re not spending money on your cat; you’re spending it on yourself,” says Travis Weedman, Compressed Pattern’s co-owner, who hopes to offer a thriftier version—under $1,000—next year. In the meantime, owners will just have to keep the standard plastic box tucked away in the bathroom. Or teach their tabbies how to flush.

This article appeared in the December 2007 issue of Portland Monthly Magazine.