Can you walk into somebody’s house and instantly tell that they have indoor cats? You wrinkle your nose as you get a whiff of that unmistakable cat box odor?
Pretty soon, you start to get paranoid and worry that your house smells the same and you’ve just gone nose blind to it. Before you panic too much, take comfort in the fact that it’s possible to keep your house clean and fresh even while sharing it with cats.
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How To Keep Your House Clean with Cats
Cats are the most common house pets in the US. According to PetWiki, there are approximately 94.2 million pet cats with an average of 2.1 cats per cat household.
They make great, cuddly companions and can melt your heart with one furry snuggle. I once owned a cat that would snuggle up on my chest and put me to sleep in minutes. His warmth and purring was like a lullaby and worked every single time.
Over the years, there have even been studies that show cats can reduce stress in humans.
WebMD talks about a study that was conducted over a 20 year period. In the end, it showed that people who own cats are 40% less likely to die of heart attack and 30% less likely to die of other cardiovascular diseases than people who don’t own cats. Sounds good to me.
Health benefits and cuddly snuggles aside, cats have the ability to create all kinds of messes and odors in our homes. With good habits and products, you can avoid, reduce and eliminate the messes and smells associated with having indoor cats.
Cat litter is a necessary evil for indoor cats, but it seems to create as many messes as it prevents.
I use clay litter because I find it to be one of the best at controlling odors. The problem is that clay litter tends to stick to the bottom of a cat’s paws and get tracked through the house.
If your cat’s anything like my Maine Coon Maverick, that little stinker kicks that litter everywhere. He’s like a mini-tornado inside of that litter box, and boy does that stuff fly.
Once he’s done using the litter box, he jumps out onto all of that scattered litter and it sticks to his paws. Before long, it’s tracked through part of the house.
Besides the offensive smells that can emit from their litter box, cats can also have body odors. These odors can come from their mouths, fur, or scent glands on their bodies.
Left unattended, any and all of these odors can become a very stinky, unpleasant problem. Especially if your cat isn’t able to clean the odors off themselves.
Cats vomit for several reasons.
The most common reason a cat vomits is to dislodge a hairball. They may also vomit if they have a sensitivity to their food, are dehydrated, or have underlying health issues.
Much like human vomit, cat vomit is stinky and the longer it sits, the stinkier it gets.
*Please note: If there isn’t a furry mess in Fluffy’s latest vomit, please see your veterinarian to rule out any health issues.
Cats shed and the hair and dander get everywhere. Left unchecked, they can build up and create quite a mess.
Cat hair piles up your furniture and gets in between the cushions. It sticks to your decor, lighting fixtures, and window coverings. It piles up behind and under furniture, sticks to your carpets, and rolls across your hard surface floors like cat hair tumbleweeds.
That cat hair really does get everywhere.
7 Tips to Keep Your House Clean with Cats
Now that we’ve gone over the major messes from having indoor cats, let’s get to the tips to help you keep your house clean and manageable with indoor cats
1. Keep the Litter Box Clean
The litter box can be the biggest source of messes and smells when it comes to owning cats. Most veterinarians recommend one litter box per cat. I think you can get away with one box per two cats if you keep it cleaned out often enough.
Remove the source of the smell as soon as possible. Many cats will do their business right next to the box if the box has already been used.
When I first brought my two cats home, I was scooping the litter box two to three times a day. I used a Litter Genie for the waste to cut down on escaping odors. It helped, but I got tired of scooping fairly quickly.
Since I was tired of scooping, I started researching automatic litter boxes. The day I found the Litter Robot, I knew I’d found freedom. That sounds a little corny, but this litter box truly changed my cat parent life.
It automatically rotates to separate the waste from the litter, dumps the waste in a bag on the bottom of the unit, then shows a blue flashing light to let you know when the drawer needs to be emptied.
No more scooping! I now refresh the litter and empty the waste bag every three days. Once a month I empty the entire box, disinfect the interior, then fill it up with new litter. Voila, all done – once a month!
2. Control the Litter Messes
I find clay is the best at reducing the smell of cat waste, but it gets all over the place if you don’t have mats in front of the litter box. Litter mats are very helpful in controlling the litter mess.
I use both an extra-large mesh litter mat and a large trapper mat to control the litter mess in my house. The trapper mat helps control all of the litter that flies out of the box when my Maine Coon is thrashing it around. The mesh litter mat helps cut down on the fine litter that sticks to their paws.
3. Clean Up Accidents ASAP
Cats have accidents. Whether its a hairball, sensitivity to food, a dirty litter box, or your cat is mad, you’re bound to come upon a kitty accident in your home somewhere.
Cat puke, poo, and urine can leave a nasty smelling odor in your home if it isn’t cleaned up properly and quickly. Use paper towels to clean up any solids and as much of the liquid as possible, then clean area with soap and water. Once that’s done, spray with an enzymatic cleaner to neutralize any odor.
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4. Brush Your Cats
The best way I’ve found to keep all of the cat hair under control is to brush your cat often with an appropriate tool. The more fur you can get out during a brushing session, the less you’ll have to worry about ending up on your furniture floors.
I have a long-haired Tortoiseshell and a massive Maine Coon that were both rescue cats. They were little, adorable, and fluffy when I picked them up at the shelter, but I had no idea how furry they would actually turn out to be.
They both hate being brushed, so that makes it a little more difficult. I have to wait until they cuddle next to me and settle in. I pet them for a little bit, then sneak in for the brushing.
Needless to say, I have tried every brush, comb, and glove on the market for dealing with cat hair.
I haven’t found a pair of gloves that work well enough to become part of our normal grooming routine. Plus, the minute my cats see the gloves come out, they move out of reach.
A cat shedding tool and a good dematting comb work best with my long hair cats. They seem to cause the least pulling of the hair and remove large amounts of excess fur. Both tools are small enough that my cats don’t initially realize they’re being groomed, so I’m able to get in a few good minutes per session.
5. Vacuum Often
Like I said earlier, cats shed like crazy, especially long-haired cats. If you don’t stay on top of the cat hair, it’ll take over. Besides brushing your cat, vacuuming your house often is the next best way to combat the hair and dander.
A good vacuum with a HEPA filter will be your best friend. I actually use two vacuums. I use a robot vacuum set to vacuum once a day while I’m at work, then I empty the collection chamber every night when I get home.
Once a week I use an upright vacuum to vacuum the cat trees, furniture, and spots that the robot vacuum can’t get into.
This works really well for helping me keep on top of the cat hair and tumbleweeds.
Related Article: Cleaning Routine for Busy Women
6. Protect Your Furniture
Depending on what kind of furniture you have, the cat hair can really be a problem. Leather furniture is easy to clean the cat hair off of, but most cloth and microfiber furniture will hold onto the cat hair like a magnet.
You can also designate specific areas for your cats to lay down by placing a towel, blanket, or pad in their normal spot. If I have a blanket lying on a piece of furniture, that’s the first place my cats will lie down. I keep specific blankets just for this purpose.
7. Purify the Air
Keep a good air purifier near the litter box location. This can greatly reduce any smells that may travel through the rest of your house.
An air purifier with a good HEPA filter and UVC Sanitizer feature will make a big difference in the air quality of your home
Related Article: 13 Dirtiest Things You Should be Cleaning but Aren’t
Keeping Your House Clean with Cats
With these 7 tips, there’s no reason for the smell or look of your home to give away the presence of your cat companions.
What tips do you have for keeping your house clean with cats?