As humans are packing away their winter coats and sweaters, cats are preparing for warmer weather by shedding. This can really derail your cleaning plans - and if you are one of the estimated 10 percent of the population with pet allergies it can signal the beginning of sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose.
Get out those mops and put on your rubber gloves because spring is here and it's time to clean house! Many pet owners are getting ready to tackle their to-do lists and spruce up their home. As you make plans to sweep and dust, consider including a few activities to make the next few weeks easier on you and your cat.
Here are some tips to help you with your spring cleaning:
- Brush Your Cat: A thorough brushing several times a week goes a long way towards curbing shedding. Some grooming tools remove loose fur and dander in the undercoat, further reducing the amount of stray fur to clean up. Breeds with long coats sometimes require the use of a de-matting tool. The FURminator de-Shedding Tool is the best grooming tool we've ever found. Most veterinarians and professional groomers swear by it. It can reduce shedding by as much as 90 percent!
- Bathe Your Cat: If your cat will tolerate it, finish off the grooming experience with a bath using pet shampoo; some formulas are designed to further reduce shedding in cats. A good waterless shampoo may be best if your cat dislikes baths.
- Vacuum: To take care of fur that's already on your carpet or furniture, special pet hair vacuum attachments make short work of the task. Try the Bissell Pet Pack Universal Vacuum Accessory Kit. These attachments are amazing. The rotating brushes and rubber “fingers” make short work of pet hair cleanup.
- Tape: In a pinch, packing tape can be used to remove particularly difficult stuck-on hair - just press the sticky side to the area, then pull off the tape and throw it away.
- Wash: Wash any blankets or pillows that your cat frequents in a gentle detergent to remove fur and dander that might have collected over the winter. Don't forget your pet's bed! Many have removable covers that can be machine-washed.
- Deal with Mud: Spring is synonymous with “mud season” and it only takes one good romp through the puddles to undo hours of cleaning. Until the front yard looks less like a scene from Woodstock, you can focus your efforts on making sure mud doesn't get tracked inside. If your cat goes outside, an old towel kept near the front door is handy for wiping down muddy paws and fur.
- Slipcovers: Removable slipcovers can protect your couches and chairs from shedding and dirt. Just take them off and throw them in the wash.
- Check Labels: When you're furiously scrubbing and sweeping, don't lose sight of your pet's safety. The ASPCA notes an increased number of medical emergency calls during temperate weather. Before using any cleaning product, check the label for any warnings and use only as directed. Bear in mind that some animals, such as birds and reptiles, are more sensitive to chemicals than mammals. These animals should be removed from any area where chemicals are used and returned when the room has been thoroughly aired out. Always ensure that all screens are secure before opening windows and doors for fresh air.
- Treat Odors: A clean home doesn't just look clean - it smells clean, too. Pet odors can be difficult to treat, especially litter box odor and cat urine. Don't just spray a “cover up” scent to mask the odor. Use a good odor control product that specially is made to remove these odors. We recommend Zero Odor. It is the best odor remover we have found. This stuff really works!
- Watch for Allergies: Finally, watch your pet for any symptoms of allergies such as scratching, biting, irritated eyes or a runny nose. Just like humans, pets can experience allergic reactions to materials in their environment. Cleaning can stir up mold spores or dust that might irritate their respiratory system. Take care to properly dispose of old cleaners, medications, and any other hazardous materials that might pose a danger to your cat. Keep your vet's number handy and do not hesitate to call if you notice any unusual behaviors or symptoms.
Without a doubt, spring is a great time to spruce up your house or start that home improvement project you've been putting off. Just a few extra minutes of preparation can also help reduce shedding and make your home smell fresh and clean. Keep your pet's safety in mind while cleaning, and it won't be long until you're basking in the glow of a clean home and pet.