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How I Cat-Proofed My Home: Strategies for Dealing with Fur, Poop and Throw Up

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Dealing with unruly cats, endless balls of cat fur, and litter tracked throughout the house can be a challenge. But I’ve found a few effective ways of gaining the upper hand.

I have four cats. Crazy, you’re probably thinking–and you’re absolutely correct! With that much fur, litter, and cat mess to contend with, I’ve had to implement some creative, odd, and yet effective ways of cat-proofing my house.

Floors
The tile in the basement is finally laid!

I am in the process of putting down tile and hardwood throughout the house. The carpet that’s down right now is starting to look worn and dirty (as all carpet does after a few years), so I figured why not go for hard floors everywhere in the house? They’re more expensive, but they are much easier to clean (think how easy it will be to mop up cat fur, hairballs, and any other cat mishaps!). These hard floors also last longer than carpet.

Cleaning
The Bissell Little Green is great for clean-up jobs.

The Bissell Little Green is a life saver. I use it mainly to clean up cat throw up. (Perhaps a little TMI there; sorry to those of you who have delicate sensibilities.) This wet vac is really easy to use, too. I just squirt a little enzymatic pet cleaner on the soiled area, and then use Little Green to suck up the cleaner. This vacuum has two reservoirs–one to collect the liquid the machine sucks up and one that holds clean water that you can spray out.

Plants

I only grow cacti in my house. I found out the hard way that my cats don’t do well with any other types of plants. The problem is they love sampling other plants. They then throw up throughout the house and/or get diarrhea. Ewww! Also, another thing to consider is many common house plants are toxic to cats. The spines on cacti seem to be a big enough deterrent to keep my kitties from snacking on them.

Bedroom

I made the bedroom a cat-free zone. Ah, a little oasis! I’m allergic to cats (ironic that I have four of them!), but keeping them out of the bedroom has helped lessen my reaction to them. As an interesting side note, I’ve heard that people who are allergic to cats become somewhat immune to their own kitties. I have found this to be true, and taking the extra step of keeping the cats out of your bedroom can also make a huge difference.

Furniture

It’s very easy to clean cat fur off my leather couch.

Any new furniture I buy is leather (or imitation leather), not cloth. It is so much easier to wipe cat hair off of a leather surface than off of fabric.


It’s not so easy to clean cat fur from my fabric couch. Notice all the fur build-up on it. Gross!

Litter Boxes

I’ve experimented with different placements of the litter boxes. I used to have covered litter boxes in the laundry room, but I found that the cats were still tracking litter everywhere. Also, the boxes took up a lot of room. Now I have the boxes in an unused bathtub. While I know this isn’t an option for everyone, it might be for people who have a spare bathroom with a tub that isn’t being used.

Cat Breeds

I currently have one Cornish Rex and I’ve also owned a Sphynx. Both breeds hardly shed at all. Both breeds are also very good for people with allergies. While I don’t recommend that you trade in your furry cat models for a slick hairless or minimal-hair cat, you might consider these breeds of cats in the future. If you are averse to buying a cat from a breeder because there are so many homeless pets in shelters, might I recommend that you investigate the pets available at a Sphynx or Cornish Rex rescue? Also, many shelters have purebred cats; you just need to be diligent in your search for them. As an added bonus, these two breeds of cats are often more people-oriented and outgoing than the average cat.


Gizmo, the Cornish Rex

I also currently have a Persian cat. I’ve found that shaving his hair in the spring cuts down on the amount of hair that he sheds.
Murphy, the Persian (in a grocery bag–lol) with his hair shaved

Cat Love

All of the strategies that I’ve implemented to cat-proof my house are helping me to gain the upper hand on fur, litter, and general cat messes! Part of the joy of living with cats, however, is realizing that you can’t completely cat-proof your house. Cats provide us with an endless supply of kitty messes, but the unconditional love that they give us is worth every inconvenience.

Ah, the joys of cat ownership. I may have made progress towards cat-proofing my house, but I still have a lot of work to do to train my cats to behave (e.g., not hang out on the kitchen counter!).

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