Did you know that 46% of all American households “own” at least one cat?
For those of us who live with a cat, we know that they are wonderful companions and can reduce stress with a simple purr. Unfortunately, while we consider these adorable balls of fur part of the family, not everyone that visits our homes love the smell or hair that cats seem to leave behind.
Just because you have a cat does not mean that other people should know it the moment they walk through your front door. And while having a cat (or pet of any kind) may add a little more time to your workload, we know that keeping a clean house with cats is not impossible — it just requires some extra work. With that in mind, today we discuss 8 ways to keep your house clean with a cat.
1. Regularly brush your cat
One of the biggest obstacles for cat owners is hair. It settles everywhere, including the furniture, curtains, hardwood floors and carpet. And while there are various approaches to cleaning that hair up, the easiest way to keep hair and fur controlled is to regularly brush your cat.
Sure, cats are grooming themselves all the time, but all that hair has to go somewhere. Hair that is captured on a brush means less hair you’ll have to clean up from your couch and floor later. It also means your cat will have fewer hairballs or constipation as a result of all the hair they didn’t ingest while grooming themselves.
2. Vacuum Weekly
Vacuum at least once a week using a vacuum cleaner with a high efficiency allergen filter (or hepa filter) to reduce dust and allergens, and capture most of the hair and cat dander. For even more effectiveness, vacuum a few times a week. You’ll also want to wipe down your baseboards each week as hair and dander will accumulate there too.
We prefer to use Eureka’s Brushroll Clean with SuctionSeal Upright Vacuum.
Brushroll Clean is cutting edge technology designed to remove tangles (often in the form of a simple combination of cat hair, food and toy remnants) from the brushroll with the touch of a button for a cleaner floor. The SuctionSeal Technology with All-Surface Suction Plates concentrates airflow for deep cleaning suction power; so as you move across carpet, hardwood or tile floors the plates raise and lower, creating a seal to maximize airflow for powerful cleaning performance. We’ve found that regardless of the dirt or debris, this vacuum will suck it up and away without scattering, which is especially important when vacuuming near the litter box.
While this particular vacuum is a little heavy and loud, it has all the conveniences you’d ever want in an upright vacuum. It’s easy to go from carpet, to tile, to hardwood floors. You can quickly pull the hose off of the clip and add one of the attachments to go directly from the floors to the stairs to the baseboards to the upholstery, or anything else in the room. And, the brush roll cleaner is super easy to use. Simply step on the pedal for 10 seconds and you are done.
In addition to keeping your house clean (even with a cat), this vacuum cleaner will save you time! With 80 plus inches of hose and a 27 foot retractable cord, you can easily clean two very large rooms without moving your plug. Once you’ve filled up your canister, you can empty the dust cup with just a push of a button that releases the container so you can empty it and snap it back into place. Furthermore, the filter in the canister is washable so that you can re-use it over and over again.
Features You Will LOVE
- Cleans carpets better than Dyson DC41
- Brushroll Clean Technology removes tangles from the brushroll with the touch of a button
- SuctionSeal Technology concentrates airflow for a deep clean on carpets and bare floors
- On/Off brushroll turns on to deep clean carpets and off for scatter-proof bare floor cleaning
- AirSpeed Technology moves more air and removes more dirt for a deeper clean
- Never loses suction and maintains powerful suction while vacuuming
- High efficiency allergen filter reduces dust and allergens
- 39′ total reach system includes a 27′ cord with automatic cord rewind, 12′ deluxe stretch hose and cleaning tools
- Stair and Upholstery Turbo Nozzle deep cleans stairs and upholstered furniture
- Washable dust cup filter is reusable and requires less frequent replacement
- 5-setting height adjustment to clean various carpet and bare floor types
- Low profile nozzle is engineered to clean under furniture
- 3-year limited warranty
Eureka Brushroll Clean, Model AS3401A
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3. Protect Your Furniture
Cat-friendly furniture is very similar to kid-friendly furniture; which means that your sofas have to withstand a lot of wear and tear. Therefore, before you even think about cleaning your house, consider the type of furniture in your home. Choose furniture made of tightly woven materials that are easier to clean.
You can also cover your furniture with blankets, throws or pillows that can be washed frequently. If your cat enjoys taking a nap on the couch by the window, the throw serves as a barrier between your cat and the furniture. If company comes over, you can quickly remove this barrier with little fear of your guest being covered in hair on their way home. Just be sure to wash those blankets, throws or pillow cases regularly.
If you choose not to use a throw, be sure to vacuum your cat’s “spot” using the stair & upholstery brush on your vacuum cleaner (such as the one on the Brushroll Clean Vacuum by Eureka). If your vacuum doesn’t have an upholstery brush option, lint rollers are equally effective (you just have to replace them more often).
Scratching may also be a problem, so be sure to keep your cat’s nails trimmed. Also be sure to provide alternate places for your cat to get their scratching fix such as a good scratching post. If that doesn’t do the trick, you can add protectors to your furniture’s legs and doors.
4. Wipe down your counters
Cats don’t tend to follow many rules. Therefore, regardless of whether or not you allow your cat to walk on the counter, there’s a strong chance that the same paws that just touched the litter box will also periodically touch surfaces where food is prepared or eaten. More times than not, you won’t see any evidence of their tracks. However, your cat could be spreading tiny organisms such as toxoplasmosis that can be particularly harmful to children and pregnant women.
- A disease that results from infection with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite, one of the world’s most common parasites often found in cat feces.
- May cause flu-like symptoms in some people, but most people affected never develop signs and symptoms.
- For infants born to infected mothers and for people with weakened immune systems, toxoplasmosis can cause extremely serious complications.
- If you’re generally healthy, treatment is usually not necessary.
- If you are pregnant or have lowered immunity, certain medications can help reduce the infection’s severity.
To prevent toxoplasmosis, simply wipe your counters down with a paper towel and cleaning solution (or a cleansing wipe) before and after you put food on the counter. Also keep your cutting boards, cutting knives, and other food preparation tools inside drawers and cabinets.
5. Automate Basic Functions (Food/Water)
For some reason, most people keep their pets’ food and water bowls in the kitchen. We suppose it makes sense, as a kitchen is often where we eat our meals. However, leaving food and water on the floor of a high-traffic area such as the kitchen has the potential to make quite a mess, especially if you have small children running through the house.
Therefore, consider moving food and water to a place where your cat has room to eat and drink without being disturbed, which means less chance of spills. Place a feeding mat or towel under the bowls so that if anything does spill, cleaning up will be that much easier (and of course, clean those messes up as soon as your cat is finished eating or drinking).
If you’re busy, consider an automatic pet feeder and water fountain. For one, automating these basic functions will save you time. Gravity feeders automatically replenish the bowl when it recognizes that food levels are low and allow you to store food and feed your cat in one easy step. Meanwhile, cats love drinking fresh water and a cat water fountain provides naturally cool and oxygenated water, with a replaceable filter and a reservoir that adds water automatically. So, you save time and your cat consistently gets fresh food and water.
6. Contain the Litter Box
One of the biggest indicators that you have a cat in the house is the odor of a poorly kept litter box. Now, it may seem obvious to empty out the litter box more often to remove the smell, but there’s more to it.
The best way to contain that kitty litter odor is to contain the litter to a designated space in your home, away from the kitchen. It could be a spare bedroom closet, a bathroom that rarely gets used or a space in your garage. Whatever space it is, try to avoid carpet (tile and hardwood floors tend to be better) as it can often trap dirt. If you can’t avoid carpet, lay an old towel under the litter box. For added protection, you can even build a small shelter around your cat’s litter box to consolidate the dust. Wherever the litter box is, be prepared for everything around it to be affected.
In addition to containing the litter box to an unoccupied space, you must also scoop your cat’s litter box at least once a day. If you have more than one cat, you’ll want to scoop your litter box at least twice a day; and if you have multiple cats, you should have more litter boxes.
You should fully clean (meaning remove old litter, fill the box with water, a bleach solution and dish-washing detergent, and give it a thorough scrub) and renew the kitty litter completely every two weeks. This will further reduce the smell, but avoid using any cleaning products that contain ammonia as it tends to mimic the smell of cat urine (which would be counterproductive to your cleaning effort).
Standard (plastic) litter boxes should be replaced once a year. Alternatively, you can buy an automatic litter box that will scoop for you after every visit. Each time you clean the litter box, also clean your floors.
7. Clean up a mess as soon as it occurs
One problem that you’re likely to encounter if your cat has yet to be spayed or neutered, is the smell of urine beyond the litter box as your cat sprays furniture, curtains and walls to mark their territory. As soon as you are made aware of this problem, clean it up and take your cat to the vet (to be spayed or neutered – unless you’re planning for kittens).
Another common problem that causes stains and spots on rugs, carpet and furniture is hair balls. The message is the same. Clean up the mess as soon as you discover it. If there is substance to the mess, first remove whatever it is (hairball, feces, vomit, regurgitated food, etc.) with toilet paper (or a knife to avoid the mess being pushed into the carpet or upholstery), then use an enzymatic cleaner for pets such as Nature’s Miracle to eliminate the odor (if there is one) or stain remover to clean up the spot. Interestingly enough, you can also use these cleaners if you are potty training – Nature’s Miracle works incredibly well on potty training accidents.
8. Deep Clean as Necessary
Everyday traffic, especially from kids and pets, can really take its toll on your carpet. As a result, routine deep carpet cleaning is necessary. How often you deep clean can be determined by your carpet and lifestyle. Consider the following criteria:
- Light traffic: If your carpet needs to be vacuumed once a week, you should have deep carpet cleaning every 12 to 18 months.
- Normal traffic: If you have kids, you should vacuum traffic areas once or twice a week and have your heaviest traffic areas deep cleaned every 6 to 12 months.
- Heavy traffic: If you have pets (especially indoor/outdoor pets) and/or smoke indoors, you should vacuum 2 to 4 times a week, and have your traffic areas deep cleaned every 3 to 6 months.
- Extreme traffic: Large families and multiple pets will require daily vacuuming, and deep carpet cleaning every 2 to 3 months.
While many of the powerful deep cleaners on the market are large, bulky and heavy, the Bissell Pro Heat 2x Revolution Pet Carpet Cleaner really does live up to its description of being lightweight and low profile. This carpet cleaner is a breeze to carry from room to room and up and down stairs. This is especially important when using the hose and attachments to clean the stairs, as the cleaner must be carried as you move up and down the staircase.
The dual dirt lifter power brush makes cleaning most cat stains, from hairballs to urine, fairly easy. While you might prefer cleaning dirtier stains in the Deep Clean Mode to ensure proper sanitation, the Express Clean Mode is ideal for simple messes or a quick overall area cleaning. Carpets dry quickly, making it easy for families and pets to resume normal activity throughout their home.
Equally lightweight and powerful, the Bissell Pro Heat 2x Revolution Pet Carpet Cleaner is an ideal deep cleaner for busy homes with cats.
Features You Will LOVE
- Out-cleans the leading rental carpet cleaners when in Deep Clean Mode
- Dual cleaning modes to suit your varying needs
- Express Clean Mode dries carpet in as little as an hour
- Low profile foot and lightweight design for easy maneuvering around the house
- 12 row dual dirt lifter power brush for optimal results
- 1 gallon tank capacity
- Includes extension hose and two specialty detachable brushes for pet hair and stains on upholstery, furniture and stairs
- Includes bottles of Deep Clean and Antibacterial formulas
Bissell Pro Heat 2X Revolution Pet Carpet Cleaner
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If you follow this advice, keeping your house clean while living with a cat will hardly be a problem. Keeping your house clean with children around? That’s another story.
Photo Credits: Ashley Sisk, Marley Layne’s Closet
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by us on behalf of Eureka and Bissell. The opinions and text are all ours.