The old saying goes that you don’t own your cat – your cat owns you. Cats are typically quite clean and low-maintenance animals, but you’ll still need to put in the extra effort to ensure your apartment doesn’t emanate that unsavory “litter box smell.”
Here are a five ways to keep your space clean and inviting while living with feline roommates.
Wipe down counters and surfaces. Cats are avid athletes, and they’re not too mindful of those “no pets on furniture” rules. It’s easy for most cats to jump on high furniture and surfaces, meaning their paws have been just about everywhere – including your kitchen counters. Because cats use the litter box, you certainly don’t want any lingering debris or germs in any food prep areas. Get in the habit of wiping down your kitchen counters before and after meal prep for a clean slate.
Brush your cat regularly. The benefit here is twofold. Although cats are superb self-groomers, they can suffer from hairballs as a result. If you take time each day or a few times a week to gently brush your cat, you’ll reduce the risk of hairballs and help mitigate excess fur that can end up on your furniture and in your home. Win, win! Our hands-down favorite tool is the Furminator brush, which works wonders for both shorthair and longhair cats.
Choose furniture wisely. Many animal professionals agree that declawing your cat is not humane. If your cat has its claws, however, your furniture can become a prime target! Try to avoid materials and fabrics that are more palatable to your cat like wicker or basic upholstery. Instead, opt for leather, treated wood, or metal. If new furniture isn’t an option, you can create your own natural, safe “cat repellant” spray to help discourage them from clawing. Simply mix a few drops of 100% orange essential oil into a spray bottle with water and spray your furniture generously. Most cats don’t like the smell of citrus and will steer clear! And remember, scratch pads are a great way to redirect your cat to a safe scratching zone.
Vacuum at least once per week. Even if you brush your cat regularly, you’ll still want to vacuum at least once per week to mitigate fur and litter debris. You might consider investing in a handheld vacuum to clean up targeted areas with ease, like Fluffy’s favorite chair or the litter box area.
About that litter box… Aim to place your cat’s litter box in a private, infrequently used area like a spare bathroom or closet space. Ideally, choose a space with tile or hardwood as opposed to carpet. Clean your cat’s litter box at least once a day – and remember, the longer waste sits in a litter box, the more likely it is to smell. Keep helpful tools at arm’s length, including plastic bags to clean up the waste and a small broom or handheld vacuum to remove any excess litter that may have fallen onto the ground. You can also put a mat or old towel underneath the litter box to help prevent your cat from tracking it into other parts of the house.
For more pet tips, visit our Living with Pets posts on the blog!