Good Housekeeping With Felines In Mind. Our cats like to keep themselves clean so here are a few tips that we, as owners, can use to make sure our houses are kept clean and pest-free too.
Cats, as we all know, are fastidious at grooming and don’t like to be grubby or unkempt. How- ever, they can be responsible for making a bit of a mess around our homes, particularly if your cat is long- haired, but with a few additions to your usual cleaning routine, your house can be clean and free from unwanted cat hairs and odours.
Vacuum and Mini vacuum, Good Housekeeping With Felines In Mind
If you own a cat or dog, you will need to vacuum and dust more often than if your house was pet-free. Vacu- uming thoroughly and dusting once or twice a week should keep on top of things. Make sure you empty your bag or cylinder on the vacuum each time too.
If you are purchasing a new vacuum cleaner, bear in mind that many brands now offer a ‘pet’ option which has a filter designed to deal with the extra dust and hair cats and dogs leave behind. These small, hand-held vacuum cleaners are so useful for quickly getting rid of mess without struggling with the heavy upright or cylinder cleaner. Hair on a cushion? Easy. Dried food spilled on the floor? No problem.
Alternatively, cat hairs can easily be picked up from a cushion or throw with a lint roller or try wearing a pair of rubber gloves, slightly wet them, then stroke your hands across the surface of the item. The hairs will stick to the gloves and can be removed with a piece of kitchen paper.
Grooming, Good Housekeeping With Felines In Mind
Cats are pretty good at looking after this themselves but if you spend a few minutes each day brushing or combing your cat to remove any loose hairs, it will cut down on the deposits that stick to your furnishings indoors.
It will also be great for your cat’s coat, making it shine, and reduce the risk of hairballs. Wipe your cat’s paws when they come inside with a towel kept just for that purpose.
Litter trays, Good Housekeeping With Felines In Mind
It is easier to clean spills from a hard wooden or tiled floor than it is from a carpet. Sweep up any scattered litter often and clean the floor with a cat-safe disinfectant when required. Covered cat litter boxes can be a good way of preventing too much litter being deposited on your floors but some cats don’t like using them.
If you want to use a mat underneath the litter tray, make sure it extends outside the front of the tray by at least six inches (15cm). Your kitty’s paws will touch this surface first when they step out of the tray so the majority of any dust or granules will be deposited here. They can be tipped gently back into the tray when you clean the box.
Experiment with different types of litter to find one that suits your cat – some can cause less mess than others but may not be favoured by kitty, caus- ing stress and an objection to using the litter tray.
Bedding, Good Housekeeping With Felines In Mind
Most of us have a blanket in our cat’s bed but it is also a good idea to have other ‘cat only’ blankets that can be placed where kitty often likes to lay and snooze, such as her favourite arm- chair or by a window. This will keep the majority of shed hairs away from your carpets or furniture and the blan- ket can be shaken outside and placed in the washing machine if necessary.
Other surfaces, Good Housekeeping With Felines In Mind
We know we should keep kitty off the dining table or kitchen counter but cats live by their own rules and well, sometimes they just do as they please, regardless of our ‘house rules’. It is possible that even if your cat isn’t allowed onto these surfaces, hair and litter can find its way there anyway.
Wipe down your kitchen work surfaces regularly and dust tables. This is particularly important if you or anyone else in the household may be pregnant or if there are young children to reduce the risk of Toxoplasmosis, a disease that can be very harmful for people with weakened immune systems.
Food and water, Good Housekeeping With Felines In Mind
Consider where you place your cat’s food and water bowls. The kitchen is often our place of choice, as it is con- veniently close to taps and where we store the cat’s food. However, kitchen’s are busy places and this can increase the risk of spillages from food and water bowls or litter trays. Cats often prefer to eat in peace and quiet so try to find a spot in the house where their bowls can be left down for them to eat without too many interruptions and distractions. A suitable mat underneath the bowls will make cleaning up any spillages easier to control.
Storage, Good Housekeeping With Felines In Mind
Keep all cleaning materials and products safely shut away where inquisitive paws can’t reach them. This includes all rooms of the house as well as garages and sheds.
The right cleaning products
Please don’t assume that cleaning products for general use are safe for cats. What might be safe for us can be harmful to kitty and potentially danger- ous. In a warning from the PDSA earlier this year, they mentioned a cat that was left foaming at the mouth after he licked a floor that had just been treated with disinfectant and a dog who suffered chemical burns to his scrotum after coming into contact with a cleaning product on the floor.
Rebecca Ashman, PDSA vet, said: “It’s important to ensure products are safe to use around pets. Millions of us use bleach, oven cleaner, dishwasher tablets and laundry detergents all the time in the home but we need to realise how dangerous they can be to our pets.
Products such as bleach are highly corrosive and cause permanent and even life-threatening damage to a pet’s skin or insides if swallowed. Some pets will naturally explore or chew boxes and containers, so it’s really important to keep cleaning products safely locked away. Also, if you’re cleaning floors and other areas pets use, please keep them out of harm’s way and rinse the areas after cleaning.
“Using products to the correct dilu- tion also helps to ensure pets don’t come into contact with concentrated chemicals. If you suspect your cat has come into contact with chemicals, it is vital to seek veterinary assistance immediately. Rebecca advised: “Don’t make your pet sick as this can some- times cause further harm. In an emer- gency situation, it’s useful to let thevet know as much as possible about the offending substance so they can give the appropriate treatment. Always keep the packaging and take it with you if you need to go to the vet.”
Bootsie, Good Housekeeping With Felines In Mind
Tabby cat Bootsie was rushed to PDSA Leicester Pet Hospital after drinking bleach from his owner’s toilet. The chemical caused severe ulceration to his throat and he was un- able to eat so he required tube-feed- ing for several days while his burns healed.
Bootsie’s owner, Sophie McDowall, said: “I bleached the toilet and bath- room and hadn’t thought anything more about it. However, in the morning I woke to find Bootsie lying lifeless on his blanket with his tongue sticking out, dribbling everywhere and mak- ing a strange noise. I called the PDSA and they told me to bring him straight down. I was so worried about him, it was heart-breaking.”
Three-year-old Bootsie had ulcers in his mouth and vets carried out tests to rule out other conditions before giving intensive treatment for his exposure to bleach. He was in hospital for several days until he was well enough to return home, still on painkillers.
Sophie was extremely grateful for the treatment Bootsie received: “I’m now much more careful when clean- ing the bathroom and ensure the toilet lid is always closed and the bathroom door kept shut to avoid anything like this happening again.”
Thankfully Bootsie didn’t have any permanent effects from drink- ing bleach but it could have been so much worse. Rebecca said: “Bootsie received emergency care through our A&E service which has received a fantastic funding boost from the players of People’s Postcode Lottery. We really want to try to prevent pets coming into contact with every day household cleaning products and want to raise awareness of possible dangers.”
Hygiene, Good Housekeeping With Felines In Mind
Symptoms of expo- sure to toxic chemicals or substances in pets include:
- l Ulcerated or irritated skin, including inside the mouth
- l Vomiting or coughing
- l Lethargy or collapse l Difficulty in eating and excessive saliva- tion/foaming at the mouth
- l Pawing at the mouth
If you are at all worried about your pet, please contact your vet as a matter of urgency.
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Source: By Mandy Willett, CatrWorld, August 2017 Q Issue 473