Cats are known for their personal hygiene and general cleanliness: They’re easily litter-trained and, unlike their canine compatriots, rarely find themselves with an open jar of peanut butter stuck to their snoots. Still, being a cat owner does involve a fair amount of home cleaning and care. So let’s review a few quick things you can do to help keep your home (and your cats) clean.
1. Bathing.Most cats don’t like water, which can make bathing them a struggle.
Luckily, cats are fastidious self-cleaners, so they require far fewer bats than dogs. Also, overbathing a cat can remove essential oils from the animal’s skin, causing dryness and increasing dander. Still, the occasional bath can remove dirt hidden deep in the fur (especially among long-haired breeds and cats who spend much of their time outdoors). When bathing your cat in the sink, place a rubber, non-skid mat down first—it’ll help you keep even a wet disgruntled cat from slipping away. When bathing a cat to treat fleas, be sure to follow the directions on any products you use—many are not safe for very young kittens. If you have questions about choosing a pet shampoo, ask your vet to recommend one.
2. Grooming. Fortunately, most cats enjoy being brushed, so you shouldn’t have much trouble coaxing your feline friend into some quality grooming time. Brushing daily does several good things for your pet: it removes dust and debris from the fur, it prevents tangles, mats, and hairballs, and it distributes healthy natural skin oils throughout the cat’s fur. It also catches dead fur that would otherwise end up clinging to your furniture, carpets, and drapes.
3. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum.There’s no way around it—even the most diligently groomed cats shed. That makes your vacuum one of the most essential appliances in the house. How often and thoroughly you vacuum your furniture, carpets, and drapes depends on how many cats you have, whether they’re short- or long-haired breeds, and whether the fabrics in your home are “fur magnets.” If fur is a major problem, or if someone in your home is allergic to cat dander, you may want to consider adding a few special attachments to your vacuum’s attachment arsenal.
4. Litter pans.Nobody likes a dirty, smelly litter pan. So regular and frequent litter changes are essential. Using a clumping litter and scooping the pan daily can limit odors between litter changes. Also, consider an enclosed pan to keep litter from getting kicked and pawed outside the box. If you want to go high-tech and don’t mind a little extra expense, you may want to consider a self-cleaning pan.
5. Automated feeders and water bowls.While we’re discussing high-tech pet solutions, there are several products on the market that help dispense food and water to your cat in regular adjustable portions. Such devices can help reduce food spills and can aid in limiting overeating by obese cats.
6. The Rubber Glove Trick.No time for a thorough vacuuming? A quick and easy trick to remove cat fur from furniture: put on a dish glove and get the palm surface slightly damp—then run your gloved hand over fabric surfaces where fur gathers. Static electricity will pull the fur from the fabric to the glove, where it will quickly gather in easily disposable clumps. A lint roller can pick up any stray hairs your glove missed.
7. Air Filters.Air filters and purifiers can go a long way to removing airborne dirt, dust, and dander from your home environment. They can reduce both odors and allergens and can help your home smell fresher longer, even if you have multiple cats.
We hope these tips will help you keep your home—and your pet—clean as a whistle.
Editor’s Note: if you are a first-time cat parent, check out this guide for new cat owners for information on everything from introducing your cat into your home to basic cat healthcare.
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.