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Get to Know: Tuft & Paw

By Colleen Williams
October 15, 2018 • 3 min. read
tuft and paw
Cat in a fancy bed

At Healthy Paws, we seek out like-minded companies who have started a business or created a product that not only helps pets, but helps homeless pets and animal welfare too. We stumbled upon Tuft & Paw one day scrolling Instagram and it made us halt our paws. The furniture was high level, beautiful, and… made exclusively for cats! Their website says, “A happy cat is a happy owner, but having access to the right furniture also makes life easier. Great furniture is not only durable and well-made, it complements the living space so that cat and owner can live together in ultimate harmony.”

We wanted to find out a little bit more about the company, especially after digging into their “about us” section and discovering Tuft & Paw isn’t in this for the Instagram shots – they’re dedicated to helping save kitty lives far and wide. We contacted one of the founders, Jackson Cunningham, and got a little bit more information about this truly unique company.

Cat reading a book
Toshi-San catching up on his reading.

The Tuft & Paw Story

After Cunningham and his girlfriend had visited Colombia, they’d spotted more than a few cats fighting daily for survival on the streets. “We went to Colombia for 4 weeks and it was amazing, however, one sad part of the trip was that we kept encountering stray cats,” says Cunningham. “It was eye-opening to see how they were viewed as street pests being brushed aside or batted away. As cat owners, it was heartbreaking.” Both he and his partner have been cat parents since they were kids. “Our cat’s name is Toshi-san (Japanese) but we just call him ‘San’ for short. He loves lying on his back, sitting by the freezer or in front of computer screens, licking books, watching crows, and listening to soft Jazz.”

After their return home, Cunningham had an idea – he wanted to combine his background in e-commerce and design with something fulfilling; he wanted to build something while contributing to a cause he and his girlfriend cared deeply about. “Cat owners are an incredibly passionate bunch, and we felt that it would be something that others could relate to!” So it was then that Tuft & Paw began; by focusing on this need to help homeless cats, but also develop a design aesthetic that replaces conventional cat trees and scratching posts.

The Inspiration

“We want to be like the Article or West Elm of cat furniture,” says Cunningham. “We try not to view ‘pet furniture’ as a different category or a lower standard than human furniture.” They start their design process with a basic problem: “Why do cats scratch?” or “What makes cats happy?” and then interview SPCAs and shelters with key questions. “Then we jot a few concepts on paper, create prototypes, and test them with cats. Once we find an item that seems to resonate with cats, we move forward with production.”

Fancy cat house The Mission

“Our big goal is to reduce the number of cats that are forced homeless,” says Cunningham. “In the United States alone, 1.4 million homeless cats are euthanized every single year. We support no-kill cat shelters wherever we can.” When asked which were his favorites, Cunningham was hard-pressed to pick just one, but threw some love to a nonprofit in Healthy Paws’ backyard. “One we do love especially would be Meow Cat Shelter in Washington. They’ve helped us during our research and really know their stuff.”

If you find yourself picking out special kitty furniture, you probably consider your cat part of the family! To protect them like family, enrolling in pet health insurance is one of the best things you can do (both for your pet and for your wallet!). Start by getting a free quote today.

colleen williams
By Colleen Williams

Over the past decade, Colleen has written about health, wellness, beauty, and even pets for The New York Times, The Cut, Refinery29, xoVain, Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, and Seattle Met Magazine, as well as many beauty brands. She has a BFA in Art History from the University of New Mexico and an AAS in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in New York.

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