If you have cats, you’re going to have issues with your floors. Whether it’s carpeting that catches every single cat hair and thrown-up hairball, wood floors that stain if your cat pees or vomits on them or any number of other problems, keeping your floors in good shape is certainly a challenge. Here are some tips on getting the best flooring for cats:
If you have carpets, you already know why I’m recommending this. I don’t know about you, but my carpets have endured just about every kind of cat mess possible. Carpet is very difficult to clean, especially if your cat urinates on it, because the urine goes through all the layers of the carpet and sometimes even into the underlayment and floorboards beneath. This makes the smell almost impossible to remove.
Hardwood floors are beautiful, and they’re very popular for that reason. The trouble with hardwoods is that they are porous, and if a cat urinates or vomits on them, it will leave a stain that’s almost impossible to remove. Add to that the fact that if there are any gaps between the floorboards, the urine or vomit will sink into the cracks and stay there until you remove the flooring.
If you need carpeting for noise abatement or comfort purposes, use area rugs that you can easily toss in the washing machine. Carpet tiles are another good option because you can easily replace soiled tiles before any liquids soak through to the flooring beneath.
If you don’t want your cats tracking kitty litter all over your house, invest in some good-size litter mats — at least a foot longer and 6 inches wider than your litter box. Also use inexpensive, easy-to-wash, 3-by-5-foot throw rugs as litter mats. Put mats under your cat’s food and water dishes to avoid problems from spills there, too.
Any time you can use a flooring material that doesn’t have cracks or crevices, you’ll have better results. Some of those choices include poured concrete (this must be sealed, otherwise you’ll have a porous floor that will trap odors and liquids), terrazzo and even vinyl/linoleum.
This is a great choice for homes with cats. It’s stain-resistant, harder than the hardest of hardwoods and completely renewable. Although it may cost a bit more up front, you’ll save money in the long run because bamboo is so durable.
Another green choice, cork is antimicrobial, so it will reduce the growth of mold and other allergens. It’s sound absorbent and will help to calm the thundering noise of cats at play. Although it’s also water-resistant, you should still clean up any urine, vomit or other liquids quickly.
Whether you go with stone, porcelain or ceramic, tile is a great choice because of its water-resistance. Some porous types of stone, such as marble, slate or travertine, should be sealed in order to avoid staining.
I know — if you’re of a certain age, vinyl floors are the stuff of nightmares. But vinyl and linoleum have come a long way. You can buy vinyl flooring that looks like hardwood, for example. It’s scratch- and stain-resistant, low in allergens, easy to clean and maintain. An extra bonus: It’s quiet to walk on.
Laminate is popular because it looks like traditional hardwood floors. Because of the way it’s made, it may be more stain-resistant than hardwood. It also tends to be scratch-resistant, so it’s a good choice to avoid damage from kitty claws.
What do you think? In your opinion, what is the best flooring for cats? Tell us in the comments below.
Thumbnail: Photography by Murika/Thinkstock.
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JaneA Kelley is the author of the award-winning cat advice blog Paws and Effect and a contributing writer at Catster.com. She is the board secretary for Diabetic Cats in Need, a nonprofit that helped save her diabetic cat’s life.
Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the Catster print magazine. Click here to subscribe to Catster magazine.