Keeping an apartment clean can be challenging, especially when you live with pets. Dogs shed fur and can be destructive, and cats can leave behind smelly litter boxes and sharp claws.
If you have carpet, vacuuming a few times a week will help remove the pet hair and smells from your home. Having a caddy filled with paper towels, cleaning cloths and trash bags will also make it easier to clean up messes.
Keep the Litter Boxes Clean
Cats are very clean animals, and they do not like to urinate or defecate in dirty litter boxes. Dirty litter boxes create odors that can permeate the entire house, and they may also cause your cat to look elsewhere for a place to go, such as your favorite rug or bed. Regular cleaning of the litter box will prevent this and keep your cat healthy.
Scooping out the old clumps of urine and feces is the first step in keeping the litter box clean. You should do this regularly, preferably every other day, but daily or even twice a day if you have small cats. It is important to scoop the clumps thoroughly, and if you are using a clay clumping litter type, dump out the clumps entirely and replace with fresh, unused litter.
You should also wash the litter box on a regular basis, and you should use a solution of dishwashing detergent and hot water to do this. This will eliminate any lingering odors from the kitty litter and keep it smelling fresh. It is recommended to wear gloves while cleaning the litter box, and if you have a lowered immune system, you should consider wearing a mask when washing the litter box.
It is also recommended to place the litter box on hard flooring, such as linoleum or tile, rather than carpet, because it is much easier to sweep and sanitize the floor underneath the box. Carpets trap the odors from the kitty litter, and it is not always easy to get rid of them.
If you have multiple cats, consider putting each of their litter boxes in a different part of the home, such as a corner of a spare bedroom or a space in the garage. This will help to reduce the amount of litter tracking that occurs in the rest of the house, and it will make it easier for each cat to find their own litter box. You should also store food, water bowls, toys and scratching posts in one place to help prevent them from being tracked throughout the house.
Keep Your Cat’s Food and Water Bowls Clean
While cats make for wonderful pets, they can be messy. Cat hair tumbleweed and food spills can be difficult to keep up with. Keeping up with your cat’s food and water bowls is essential, however, as they can become cesspools of bacteria.
Wet food and water bowls must be cleaned daily, particularly as they contain meat products that spoil quickly. Using a non-porous bowl, like stainless steel, will help to prevent the formation of harmful bacteria.
Stainless steel is also easy to sanitize. Washing the bowl with hot soapy water will ensure that any bacteria are killed. You can also purchase cat-safe disinfectant cleaners, such as white vinegar and baking soda. These cleaners are available at most pet stores and will kill most germs on contact.
Many cat parents neglect to wash their pet’s bowls on a regular basis. In fact, according to a survey by Petco, 20% of pet parents wash their pet’s bowls only once or twice a month. Leaving your cat’s dish unwashed for too long can cause it to become coated in a slimy film of bacteria, yeast and mold. If eaten by your cat, these bacteria can cause digestive issues such as nausea and vomiting.
As soon as you notice a sticky film on your cat’s water or food bowl, you should start washing it immediately with hot soapy water. It is best to wear kitchen gloves while cleaning the bowl, as this will protect your hands from bacteria and disgusting slime that can build up in the dish. Afterward, it is a good idea to rinse and dry the dishes.
One trick to preventing a build-up of slime in the bowl is to wipe a line of cooking oil around the inside of the bowl. This will keep small bugs, such as ants, from crawling in and getting into the food. The food can then be wiped down with a kitchen towel to remove the cooking oil and any insects.
You can also use a ceramic or stainless steel bowl for your cat’s water to prevent the build-up of bacteria. While plastic bowls may be the cheapest, they can absorb odour and provide places for bacteria to hide, and can crack over time. It is better to invest in a ceramic or stainless steel bowl that will last for years and be easier to sanitize.
Keep Your Cat’s Toys Clean
Toys are a great way for cats to exercise and burn off some energy, but they also pose some risks. One of the biggest is that small parts can break off or get lost and end up in your cat’s mouth or throat. These can cause life-threatening medical issues that you definitely don’t want to deal with, so it’s important to inspect your cat’s toys regularly and discard any that are worn down or ragged to prevent them from becoming choking hazards.
In addition to inspecting toys for choking hazards, it’s important to keep them clean as well. This means putting them in the washing machine frequently, or at least once a week. This will help to get rid of any accumulated dirt that can cause odors and other health issues. You should also be sure to keep an eye out for any holes or other damage to the toys, as these may be breeding grounds for germs and bacteria.
Some of the easiest toys to clean are fabric and catnip toys, as these can easily be washed in the washing machine or by hand. The combination of hot water and detergent should be able to kill any germs that are living on the toys, and it should also be able to get rid of any stains that are present as well. You should also be sure to let the toys dry completely before letting your cat use them again.
Fur and feather toys should be thrown out once the feathers start to break or fall apart, as this can be a choking hazard for your cat. You should also throw out any plastic or hard materials toys that have a lot of deep scratches in them, as these can be breeding grounds for germs.
It’s also a good idea to put any fabric or other soft toys into pillowcases before throwing them in the washing machine. This will help to protect them from getting ripped or mangled in the washing machine and it will help to keep them together so they are easier to find when it comes time to wash them again.
Keep Your Cat’s Bed Clean
If you have a cat bed, make sure to clean it regularly. It will keep your kitty happy and comfortable, and it will also keep you from having to vacuum cat hair everywhere in your apartment!
Start by shaking the bed outside to remove any loose dirt and pet hair. You can use a vacuum or lint roller to get the rest of the hair out. Then wash the bed cover in the washer (check the care instructions on your bedding) using a cold water cycle and a pet-safe detergent or unscented, dye-free laundry soap. If the cover has any stains, pre-treat them with an enzymatic cleaner that is made specifically for removing cat urine, vomit and feces odors and stains.
Then dry the cover and put it back on the mattress pad. If you have a tent style bed, you may want to remove the inside mattress and wash that separately from the outer cover. If you do, be sure to use a lint catcher over the drain to prevent hair from clogging your pipes!
While you’re washing, check for any fleas on the bedding. If you do spot a flea, treat the bedding with one of the best flea treatments for cats, then let it sit on the washing machine’s rinse cycle for several hours to kill any remaining fleas and their eggs.
If you’re worried about how your kitty will react to the washing machine smell, you can always add a cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle. This will also help remove extra odors and can be a great natural fabric softener. When the bed is finished washing, it’s important to let it air dry completely before you put it back on your kitty’s favorite sleeping spot! If you aren’t able to dry it outside, be sure to put it in the dryer with some dryer balls or some scented or unscented fabric softener that is safe for pets.