Keeping a pet-friendly home clean

Partners in crime ...
Partners in crime ... Photo: Getty Images


 In addition to our human children we have furry ones, two domestic shorthair cats. Patti is sleek and smart with a wonky run (thanks to a broken pelvis in kittenhood). Archie is a tubby darling. Patched together from bits of white and tabby fur, he’s docile and a bit dim but absolutely loveable.   

Like our human kids the furry ones are awesome at making a mess. Unlike our human kids no amount of ranting will get the cats to clean up the soggy fur ball they’ve left lying on the carpet.

After seven years of co-habiting with eight paws, I’ve accepted that mess is part of the deal and instead of weeping I’ve put together some tips to keep the house clean and sanity intact:

1. Cleaning up the fur

Beautiful on animals, not so great when deposited around the house and kind of gross if you find it in your bed (the price you pay if you use pets as feet warmers).

To stop the place turning into a hairy house I use lint rollers to remove fur. It works well on most surfaces as do damp rubber gloves.  

If I were a disciplined pet owner I’d make sure the cats had their own bedding and would encourage them to snooze there by placing catnip and treats nearby. As it is I’m the kind of pet owner that has to clean fur out of my bed every morning.

2. Keeping urine under control


Good grief, how potent is cat pee? Aside from smelling worse than a teenager’s bedroom, it clings to carpets and sofas with all the zeal of a toddler going through separation anxiety.

The key is to shout and wail clean up as soon as the cat has peed. Keep plenty of paper towels at the ready to mop up the mess. Follow with a home made cleaning remedy of one part white vinegar to two parts warm water (plus copious amounts of finger crossing).

Alternatively use a good quality enzyme based spray to target the affected area.

3. Banishing pet smell 

Our cats are probably cleaner than our kids so generally don’t smell, but when we dog-sit my brother’s Blue Heeler the scent of damp hair mixed with meaty breath seems to linger on in every fibre. 

A good sprinkle of baking soda followed by vacuuming does a great job of neutralising the doggy pong. I know this because the cats will only certify the house as a canine free zone once the baking soda comes out – before that they just stay outside looking angry and disgusted.

4. Dirt

The cats are fairly discerning when it comes to their roaming habits and tend to avoid stuff dogs might like i.e. things that are fun and dirty. Still, they always seem to traipse delicate little cat paws of muck through the house. 

This may sound ridiculous but mats either side of entry points helps - don’t worry I don’t think my cats are so smart they wipe their paws before coming in (I totally do). 

You can also try and clean their paws with purpose made disinfectant pet wipes – personally I leave it at the mats given Patti’s rather good at connecting her claws with my face when she’s displeased with me.

5. If all else fails try this:

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