A while back, we published a post on how to stay clean and green with dogs in the house. But we left out our feline friends!
In some ways, it may seem easier to keep a home with cats clean than a home with dogs. Cats, after all, clean themselves! And if they are indoor cats, they're unlikely to track dirt or mud into the house. But cleaning up after cats does present some unique challenges.
Here are eight tips to help cats and their people keep a clean, green home!
- Brush Regularly. The biggest vector of uncleanliness in a cat's home is the cat's own coat. Litter boxes may be stinkier, but you can at least confine them to one spot in the house. Stray cat fur, on the other hand, can and will cover every surface in your home. The best way to prevent this is to brush your cats regularly. At least once a week, give them a thorough grooming session.
- Keep bedding clean. You'll also want to launder your cats' beds weekly to prevent dirt, hair, and odors from spreading. Be sure to use a non-toxic, pet friendly detergent!
- Protect furniture. Cats are not always respectful of our furniture. To reiterate tip #1, it's important to brush regularly to reduce shedding, thus reducing the amount of time you have to spend vacuuming the sofa. It can also be helpful to make sure you have cat-friendly furniture to start with. Choose couches and chairs with tightly woven upholstery fabrics, as these are easier to clean. Place blankets or towels on top of furniture your cat likes to nap on. Then you can just throw the blanket or towel in the wash, and the surface underneath will remain clean. Another challenge in protecting your furniture is to prevent scratching. Wood and upholstery do not stand up well to cat claws over time. In times past, declawing was a common solution to this problem. But these days, it is well documented that even indoor cats need their claws. There are a couple of ways to mitigate scratching damage without resorting to declawing. First, provide a scratching post or mat. And if kitty still insists on scratching the furniture, you can reduce the destruction potential by trimming her claws every two weeks or so.
- Pick up stray cat hair with rubber gloves. If you're using a lint roller or hauling out the vacuum every time the sofa or drapes need de-furring, stop! A much easier solution is to use rubber gloves. Cat fur sticks to rubber gloves just as well as it does to the adhesive sheets on your lint roller, plus you can use the gloves for this purpose over and over again, which is good for your pocket book as well as for the planet.
- Vacuum, sweep, and dust regularly. This might be a no-brainer, but it's worth mentioning. You might be able to drastically reduce the amount of cat hair flying around your home with frequent brushing and bed laundering, but you're not going to get it all without vacuuming. Plus, vacuuming is the only way to get rid of cat dander, which can't be seen with the naked eye, but CAN affect the air quality in your home. If you have one cat, vacuum at least once per week. If you have multiple cats, you'll probably need to vacuum more often. Maintain a regular dusting schedule, as well, to control the fur and dander situation on tables, shelves, and knick-knacks.
- Control the litter situation. The litter box is, hands down, the biggest drawback to cat ownership. But for cat lovers, the snuggles and yarn chases make all the trouble to keep the box clean totally worthwhile. Be vigilant about the litter box and the area around it. A lackadaisical attitude to cleaning them will lead quickly to smelly, unsanitary conditions that could be a health hazard to you and your cats. If you have multiple feline friends, keep one litter box for every two cats. Scoop daily, and replace the litter as soon as you notice that scooping alone does not eliminate the odor. Keep your litter boxes in an area of the house that doesn't receive high human traffic. Some people use a spare bathroom for this purpose. Others put the litter box in the garage or on a covered, screened-in porch. You might also want to put containment walls of some kind around the litter box area to prevent litter tracking. Finally, clean the floor under and around the litter box each time you change the litter.
- Keep odors to a minimum. No matter how awesome you are at preventing kitty-related cleaning catastrophes, it's going to happen at some point. Your cat will pee, poop, or puke on something not intended for that purpose. Keep a spray bottle of enzyme-based odor eliminator on hand for these trying times. They are available in pet and environmentally-friendly formulations at your local pet supply store, and they are a life saver. Take, for instance, the time my cat, Cinderella, somehow got herself trapped in my car overnight. The next morning, as I was leaving for work, I was confronted not only with an angry cat, but also with a powerful cat urine odor. In my car! I immediately sprayed the wet area with enzyme spray, and the potency of the odor decreased dramatically. One more application the next morning, and you never would have guessed that my car had been used as a litter box.
- Air purification. The previous tips in this post should do the trick to keep the air clean and smelling fresh in your home, but if you have multiple cats, or if you just want to go the extra mile, you might consider purchasing an air purifier. This will not only attack any cat-related odors that might occur, but it will also keep hair and dander to a minimum. Another option is to invest in some air purifying houseplants. Be careful with these, though, as some types are poisonous to cats.
Here's to a healthy, comfortable, green home for you and your beloved furry companions. If you live in the Asheville, NC area, and you need professional, pet-friendly home cleaning services, give Green Home Cleaning a call at 828.505.7320 or use our contact form to get in touch today!