How to Keep Your House Clean When You’re Owned by a Cat

The idea for this post comes from Dr Karen Becker. I have slightly unconventional views on this subject. I don’t feel it is hard to keep my home clean because I share it with my cat. Perhaps it is because I am used to it or I don’t see the dirt! Actually, the latter suggestion isn’t true because I am quite tidy and I like a fairly clean home.

My cat Gabriel on the bed

However, it does help if one is not overly houseproud. A cat caretaker has to accept a bit of naturalness. We are after all living with a companion who has no conception of the human trait of being houseproud. It makes us a better cat guardian if we are not too obsessed with a bit of cat made mess.

Also living with a full-time indoor cat must make things easier or does it? Sure, full-time indoor cats don’t walk-in mud through the cat flap but then again indoor cats need a cat litter tray while indoor/outdoor cats go to the toilet outside removing at a stroke a large chunk of the source of mess inside the house. Of course the mess is outside the home and buried in the garden which may upset someone but in the UK it rarely does.

Food

Another source of cat mess is the eating area. That can get manky (UK speak for old dirt) if left uncleaned for a while. One reason why a cat’s eating area can become manky is because it is on the floor where it the mess is more likely to be accepted by the cat’s caretaker. I much prefer to let my cat eat on the kitchen counter top. This concept will cause some people to have a bout of angina. But I am a member of the cat countertop club. I don’t see a thing wrong with it and it is so, so much easier to clean a cat’s eating area when it is a part of the kitchen’s counter top. Also you don’t walk into it spilling the water everywhere and into the food.

Mud

My cat is an indoor/outdoor cat. His cat flap is in a kitchen window leading directly onto the kitchen counter; another concept which will bring on heart palpitations for some people but for me it is so easy to wipe over the area where he enters the home when the weather is wet. One way to keep a place clean is to make it easy to clean and easy to maintain.

Litter

If my cat used a cat litter I’d make sure it was covered to stop litter particles being chucked out and I’d choose a litter which did not walk out so easily (I used wood litter when my cat used the litter as a kitten). Also it goes without saying that the litter tray should be on a hard, easy-to-clean surface.

Hair

As for cat hair, I don’t see it! Problem solved. It does pay to have certain areas, ideally, which are consistently used by your cat which limits cat hair (more or less) to specific areas in the house. Unfortunately you can’t be certain that a cat will use designated areas. They are independent minded companions and will do what suits them. The classic answer is to brush your cat regularly and if cat hair bugs the hell out of you adopt a shorthaired cat. There is no such cat as a non-shedding cat so you can forget that idea. Using designated blankets is a good idea as you can deal with them separately.

Buying an easy-to-use and mobile vacuum cleaner makes it less of a bother to grab it and use it to pick up the cat hairs. I actually use a special brush to pick cat hair off my bed. It is a felt brush and the nap of the felt picks up the hair very effectively. This brush avoids the need to fire up the vacuum cleaner which has a special attachment for hairs and the like. I use this when I am in the mood.

Acceptance

My cat will always come to my bedroom when he greets me having been outside during the night. He is trilled to see me. He jumps on the bed and gives me a nose-to-nose greeting sometimes (a friendly greeting with tail up). Of course he may well walk-in some mud from outside (what’s left of it on his paws). I accept this as part of the process of caring for a cat companion. Acceptance of cat behavior and sometimes a bit of mess is good for the quality of cat caretaking; it raises the standard.

P.S. The photo is of my cat Gabriel on my bed between my legs looking very long as usual. I like the textures.

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5 thoughts on “How to Keep Your House Clean When You’re Owned by a Cat”

  1. I bought a Bissell One Step vacuum cleaner for my carpets. It’s amazing the amount of cat hair that bad boy pulls up. I use baking soda for the litter and I have the usual assortment of dust catchers and chemical free cleaners. Samirah has her My Kitty Tongue Glove for the excess hair, but being a cranky old miss she sometimes wants no part of it. If I’d wanted my apartment to look like a showcase I wouldn’t have gotten a cat.

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  2. Michael you got me chuckling here thinking about other ways to keep the house clean. And I totally agree with your statement that “people and animals are more important than a super neat, tidy house”, although I think I would change the priorities to “animals and people. LOL.

    When we moved into our home in Florida I begged Marty to have darker colored carpets. He wanted light colored carpets- a huge mistake when cats upchuck- it’s so hard to get the stains out. So I highly recommend a darker colored carpet. I think this is crucial for our sanity:)

    Just so you know!

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  3. I agree with most of what Michael shares, except for the kitchen counter part. I have a thing about being sanitary where food is prepped. My cat has only jumped up a couple of times, and I chased her down, with a “no”. None of my cats have been counter jumpers. The stove is near the counter, and a cat couldn’t tell if the stove was still hot from cooking, or if the oven was on. So, it’s also a safety issue for me. I
    would feel so badly if my cat burned her paws.

    I feed her on top of my dresser, for two reasons: it keeps the food safe from my roommate’s cat, and it gives Mitzy exercise. I started doing it when she was ill, and I would lift her. As she began to feel better, it became a clue to me that she was feeling better and stronger. It’s also easier for me not to have to bend so much.

    I’ve also put her litter box up on a small stair platform, which is also helpful for me, since I had to kneel to clean it before.

    Although I brush her daily, her long fur ends up everywhere. I do use a towel or small blanket to hold and cuddle her while brushing, trimming nails, cleaning ears or whatever, which helps a little.

    Overall, my attitude is that people and animals are more important than a super neat, tidy house. When I had children, they learned to put away toys when done playing with them. It was just part of teaching them responsibility. But cats are like babies, and that means we have to clean up after them. It’s up to us to learn what works best for our individual situation.

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  4. Easy answer, you don’t! I eat wear and sleep with cat hair. She is an indoor cat so I really don’t mind, unlike the Dog she always smells good. Just part of having a cat in the family.

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  5. Keeping up is a hard job.
    I don’t think that I’ve ever had less than 4-5 cats at one time in my life.
    In a multi-cat household, someone is always peeing, pooing, throwing up, shredding something, rough housing so the water dishes are overturned, stealing and hiding something, etc. etc.
    It all involves moving from one crisis to another efficiently.
    There are days when I don’t have time to retrieve, much less read, my mail.
    I have created my own version of a cleanup belt (fashioned from an old tool belt)that holds my clorox cleanup, sponges, rags, glass cleaner (noses pressed to mirrors and glass) and, ofcourse, catnip toys for diversion from what I need to do. It’s strapped to me for hours at a time.
    Because I have some indoor/outdoor cats, my kitchen floor and counters need to be cleaned at least 3 times a day.
    And, as always, I carry my Damon in tote during most everything because he can’t be trusted for more than 5 minutes.
    But, it’s very possible to keep order and cleanliness if you have the desire and energy.

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