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

If it seems like you're spending all your free time cleaning up after Tiger, don't despair. Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping up with cat clutter than can make the chore much easier and less time-consuming.
09/17/2015 03:23 pm ET Updated Sep 17, 2016

Any cat lover can tell you that while kitties make wonderful companions, they often create quite a mess in the household. Between the litter box, the feeding area, and all that shedding, it can quickly start to feel like you're living in your cat's house instead of the other way around.

If it seems like you're spending all your free time cleaning up after Tiger, don't despair. Here are a few tips and tricks for keeping up with cat clutter than can make the chore much easier and less time-consuming.

1. Find a Good Litter Box Location

For most people, the litter box is hands down the least pleasant aspect of being owned by a cat. And if kitty is an accomplished litter kicker, you can wind up with more mess outside the box than in it.

Place the litter box on hard flooring instead of carpet. Linoleum, tile, and wood floors are all much easier to clean, and you'll also avoid grinding litter into your carpet. Cleanup on bare floors is easy -- just sweep up the escaped litter and sanitize the floor as often as necessary.

Some cat owners put the litter box in the tub in a spare bathroom that is infrequently used. If your cat is able to jump in and out of the tub comfortably, this could potentially solve a lot of litter mess cleanup. Most of the litter will be contained in the tub, which you can easily rinse out and scrub as needed.

Whether your litter box is on a bare floor or in the tub, it's a good idea to invest in a litter mat big enough to be secured under the litter box, with at least 6 inches exposed in front of the box. This will be the first surface your cat touches coming out of her box, and it will catch some or most of the excess litter clinging to her paws and between her toes. Each time you scoop the litter box, carefully pick up the litter mat and shake the excess back into the box.

2. Give Your Cat His Own Blanket(s)

Designate a blanket or quilt as "for the cat only" and cover the areas where kitty likes to snooze -- your couch, the bed, or even a favorite spot on the floor. This will cut way down on the cat hair that collects on your furniture and bedding, and you can clean Fluffy's blankets with a lint roller or hand-held vacuum. You can also throw it in the washing machine and dryer as needed. Try to select blankets or quilts in easy-to-clean, natural fabrics that haven't been treated with flame retardants.

3. Set Aside a Few Minutes Every Day to Brush or Comb Kitty

If your cat will allow it -- and many kitties really enjoy it -- spend 5 or 10 minutes brushing her coat each day. Not only is it a good opportunity to interact with your cat, it can do wonders in cutting down on the amount of fur she deposits around the house. You'll also be improving the condition of her coat with your daily brushing sessions, and as an added bonus, you may find that little hairball issue also disappears.

4. Invest in a Handheld Vacuum

Instead of having to drag your upright or canister vacuum out of the closet every day (or more often), imagine just grabbing your little lightweight handheld vac for quick pickups of litter, cat hair, or bits of food on the floor. You probably wouldn't think twice about it, right?

To remove cat hair from upholstered furniture, you can try using your handheld vacuum, or a lint roller. Or try this trick: Pull on a pair of rubber gloves, dampen them slightly, and wipe your hands across the furniture to lift up the cat hair. Rinse the gloves as often as necessary and keep at it until your furniture is no longer fur-lined.

5. Dust and Vacuum Often

It's a fact of life that dusting and vacuuming chores must be done frequently when you share living quarters with pets. Cat hair and stray litter can quickly take over your living space, and it's so much easier to stay on top of it than to let things slide. Developing a weekly dusting and vacuuming habit will make your house a more welcoming place for all members of the family and guests. And when those inevitable situations arise where you're pressed for time and kitty leaves a mess, a quick spot-cleaning will take care of it.

Dr. Karen Becker is a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian. You can visit her site at: MercolaHealthyPets.com

Her goal is to help you create wellness in order to prevent illness in the lives of your pets. This proactive approach seeks to save you and your pet from unnecessary stress and suffering by identifying and removing health obstacles even before disease occurs. Unfortunately, most veterinarians in the United States are trained to be reactive. They wait for symptoms to occur, and often treat those symptoms without addressing the root cause.

By reading Dr. Becker's information, you'll learn how to make impactful, consistent lifestyle choices to improve your pet's quality of life.