Your cats are very particular about keeping themselves clean. And we think they make the purrfect furry family members… But wouldn’t it be nice if they had opposable thumbs and could do the same for your home and tidy up after themselves? Wait. Never mind. Even if cats had opposable thumbs, they know that it’s your role to clean up after them!
WE POLLED, YOU ANSWERED
Keeping the house clean is no easy task when you’re a cat owner – particularly if you live in a multi-cat household. We polled our readers, who on average have two cats per household, about their biggest challenges in this area and asked for your tips and tricks for keeping on top of things. The results are in, and we think they will have a pawsitive effect on your cleaning routine. We’ve compiled your advice on the best cleaning hacks for cat owners!
We asked readers to rate the following four challenges in order of their importance: managing cat fur, managing the cat litter area, managing cat odors and managing cat scratching. Here’s what you said about each of these challenges.
TOP CLEANING HACKS BY CAT OWNERS FOR CAT OWNERS
- Managing cat fur
Seventy percent of you said managing cat fur is the biggest problem you face and the most important one to tackle. One of the best things you can do to keep loose cat hair at bay is groom your cat regularly. Not only does this help you by decreasing shedding, it helps your cat by preventing thick mats and makes it easier for them to groom themselves. It also helps to reduce hairballs. A basic brush will do for short-hair cats, but long-hair cats may be better served by a FURminator or similar product. Our readers’ top tip for managing cat fur is to invest in a pet vacuum and use it regularly. Dyson, Shark and Bissell are all reader-favored brands.
- Managing the litter area
A close second to managing cat fur, sixty-eight percent of you said your biggest challenge is keeping your cat’s litter area clean. With the amount of litter that tends to get thrown in and around the box, you might swear they’re throwing litter confetti parties in there. In our poll, many readers said they scoop their cat’s box up to three times a day, and we urge you to do the same. This is your cat’s bathroom, after all, and they deserve to have it kept clean. Invest in a fan-favorite litter scooper like the litter lifter. It cuts scooping time down dramatically. Another great tool to keep by the box is a small dust pan and brush. Each time you scoop your cat’s box, sweep up the litter they may have tracked out on their paws or “accidentally” tossed out of the box while covering their waste. You might also consider putting a small rug or mat (fan favorite is the Cat Litter Trapper) in front of the box to help catch the litter that sticks to their paws. Just be sure to vacuum it or shake it out regularly.
- Managing cat odors
Sixty percent of participants said cat odor is their top issue. And the good news is that it can be easily managed. Taking care of the smell of cats in your home requires about the same amount of work you’re already doing to manage fur and litter. Vacuum at least once or twice a week because getting rid of loose fur will help eliminate dander and odor. If your cat has an accident on the carpet, many of our readers swear by Nature’s Miracle or Resolve carpet cleaner. To prevent the accident from seeping in and leaving a stain or bad smell, you’ll want to clean it up as soon as you can – we love OdorKlenz Granules to quickly draw liquids up into granules you can sweep away.
We received litter recommendations from across the board. No one brand was favored above the rest, but the three most frequently mentioned were Tidy Cats, Fresh Step and Arm & Hammer. Most litter brands offer scented and unscented varieties. Some readers prefer scented, while others prefer unscented because it can cause your cat to carry around a noticeably perfumed litter smell, and sometimes irritate cats that are sensitive to perfume. Whichever you choose, you can manage odor well by scooping daily, changing litter monthly and washing your box a few times per year. Avoid using products with ammonia as they can exacerbate the smell of urine. By far one of the most popular products among readers was air fresheners. While air fresheners can cover up the odor, they don’t get at the root cause and air fresheners can be irritating to cats who have an extremely strong sense of smell. The best way to manage odor is by eliminating it at the source – this means scooping at least daily or more to keep your cat’s litter box free of waste. Finally, many of you cited baking soda as a litter additive to keep litter box odors at bay.
- Managing cat scratching
We’re delighted to report that only fifty-three percent of you chose cat scratching as your biggest challenge. If you haven’t already, you should absolutely invest in a scratching pad or post (reader favorite is the SmartCat post). This will hopefully provide a specific place for your cat to go when they’re itching to be scratching. Having trouble peaking their interest? Sprinkling organic catnip or a catnip blend on the pad or post may help. Also recognize that different cats will have different preferences. Some cats may like to scratch horizontally, and other may like to stretch their claws on a vertical surface. Likewise, consider trying different substrates – from carpet, to cardboard to sisal. Trial and error is key to finding the type of surface your cat enjoys. It’s helpful to provide a scratching post/pad in multiple areas of your home including the areas where your cat spends most of its time. If your cat is scratching your couch, provide a scratching post next to the couch and try to redirect the behavior… but always remember that scratching is 100% natural for cats – so when you provide plenty of areas to scratch – your cat will thank you!
Trimming your cat’s nails is also extremely helpful in reducing any damage their scratching may cause including any injury to skin for the elderly. Trimming can be done at home, but you must consider your cat’s temperament and tendencies before doing this yourself. If you can barely get your cat to sit still for a brushing, you may not do too well clipping their nails safely. If this is the case, you can always see your veterinarian or a professional groomer; most of them offer pedicure services for pets.
A certain amount of mess is always to be expected when you have cats or any pet for that matter, and we hope these tips will help you better manage it. And remember, in those moments where you could swear your cat is emptying the litter box on purpose – they probably are (just kidding). Consider it their way of reminding you who works for who around here.