Keeping your home clean and hair free when you have cats can be a real challenge, to say the least. If you can stay real relaxed about this, that’s a blessing. You’ve freed up a lot of time you’d spend cleaning, just by not worrying about it. But some of us are a little more, shall we say, anal. My mother cleaned for relaxation (and I suspect, a deep seated need for control). I am the same way, and the challenge of maintaining cleanliness increases dramatically if you have multiple cats.
Here are some things I’ve learned over years of living with cats that help make cleaning less of a chore, whether you have one or many cats.
1. Get rid of (or don’t install) carpets
Carpets are the world’s best cat fur attractant, and they can get pretty gross. I’ve always lived in cold places, and I used to love carpet, believing I’d feel warmer with carpet under my feet. But as I began to clean them, all kinds of gross stuff came up: cat hair, grit, and various unknown debris. When we moved we took the option of having no carpet. I knew it would save time cleaning, and it does. More vacuuming or sweeping is needed (there’s no carpet to catch the cat hair, and it floats around on the floor), but it it much easier to get things up, fast. If you’re stuck with carpet, some do vacuum better than others. It’s easier to pull up cat hair out of a shorter fiber carpet than a shag carpet, for example. But this will also depend on the quality of your vacuum, if you have one.
2. Get a good vacuum with filter
If you can afford a good vacuum, it’s worth it. I have a Dyson with a washable filter. It wasn’t cheap, but it has lasted for years and it really gets the hair and other debris off the floor.
3. Make a schedule
If you remember things better with a schedule, then use this motivation whether it’s a loose or detailed schedule. Mine is pretty loose. I know for sure that Saturday morning is cleaning time so I do the entire living space then. But I also vacuum a couple of times a week. I enjoy cleaning (it’s a physical break from work that requires sitting), so cleaning several times during the week is not difficult for me.
4. Brush your cats often
Does this keep hair off the floor? I think so. And most of my cats enjoy the brushing, so it’s a nice way to bond with them and make them happy. I furminate Zorro (my cat who resembles a Ragdoll) once or twice a year, and he also gets regular brushing fairly often. Zorro alone gives up a lot of hair.
5. Veer toward hard furniture and less upholstery
This seems easy, but there’s personal preference to consider, too. Some of us love the cushiness of a soft couch, but I appreciate every hard surface in the house because it’s easier to clean than the couches. If we can keep the cats out of the bedroom part of the day, for example, that helps with cleaning the bedroom. For our soft pieces of furniture, we bought fairly inexpensive covers. Sure, they collect cat hair, too, but they can be easily thrown in the washer instead of vacuumed.
6. Keep a vacuum near each litter box
We humans are lazy. We don’t mean to be, but I’m much more motivated to clean up around the cat boxes if I’ve stationed a vacuum right near the boxes. I didn’t consider this until my black cat Rama had to be on the chemo pill Palladia. I was warned to clean the litter boxes often and to wear gloves. This made me get really good about also cleaning up the litter that the cats kick onto the floor. I started storing a shop vac right near the boxes, and just seeing it there reminds me to vacuum every time I clean the boxes. It only takes an extra few seconds. If you don’t have room for a bigger unit, store a smaller hand-held vacuum nearby.
7. Have rags handy for the inevitable hairballs and vomit
This is similar to storing the vacuum near the litter box. I’m much more motivated to clean up a hairball or vomit right away if cleaning supplies are nearby.
So, what are your creative ideas about making it easier to clean, in a house with cats? Tell me in the comments.
More by Catherine Holm:
- Cat Bloggers Talk: Does Writing about Cats “Overexpose” You?
- Keep Your House Smelling Good Without Hurting Your Cats
- How to Give a Cat Pills — And Survive
About Catherine Holm: Cat Holm is the author of The Great Purr, the cat-themed memoir Driving with Cats: Ours for a Short Time, and a contributor to Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes. She’s also a yoga instructor. Cat love living in nature and being outside every day, even in winter. She is mom to six adorable cats, all of them rescues.