As a multi-cat household and a family who fosters quite a bit, I’ve picked up a few tips to help with the unavoidable mishaps of carpet stains, lingering smells, and my fair share of litter box trials, as well as many other things. Here are some of my top tips to help keep you and your fur babies in a healthy, happy home!
Pet odors: My #1 tip for removing pet odors is not actually to burn down your house or buy a new one; it’s as simple as regular cleanings. Replace soiled areas, vacuum up hair on a weekly basis (pet hair holds a surprising amount of odor), and ditch that Febreze! Animals are actually quite sensitive to smells and sometimes end up marking areas that smell artificial. Use non-toxic professional strength urine neutralizers first, followed by a mix of equal parts water and vinegar as a spot remover or air freshening spray. I also highly recommend adding baking soda and apple cider vinegar to your laundry detergent and running anything washable through the machine twice (I personally only suggest bleach when there is a contagious illness or fungal infection). Extra pro tip: AVOID steam cleaners! The heat will permanently set both the stain and the odor. Research carpet cleaning companies who are familiar with treating pet stains.
Pet stains: For carpet, soak up as much of the solid mess with clean paper towels or absorbent linens first. Once dry, follow with 2 cups of vinegar, 2 cups of warm water, and 4 tablespoons of baking soda. This will allow anything below the carpet to bubble up to the surface and be easily removed. Let this sit for a minimum of 5 minutes and repeat if necessary. For older carpet stains, soak with water or a wet vac and follow the same steps above. Older stains may require some (or a lot!) scrubbing. Don’t be afraid to use some elbow grease! You can also add a urine neutralizer here. Once the area is completely dry, I usually run a vacuum over it for extra measure.
For wood, you can make a paste out of white vinegar and baking soda. Let the mixture dry completely, then wipe up and cover the stain with a hydrogen peroxide soaked cloth. Cleansing powders that contain oxalic acid also work but require you to soak the stain for a few hours.
Extra pro tip: Don’t use ammonia! It intensifies pet odor.
Litter box suggestions: Having multiple cats, I’ve only found one litter box we all agree on: The Nature’s Miracle Biodegradable litter box. Not only does it work wonders, it’s environmentally friendly! This litter box contains baking soda so it actually absorbs the smells (you can also add baking soda to your regular boxes to help with smells- noticing a theme here yet?) for WEEKS. The best part is you can simply throw out the box and replace it when you feel it’s time, which has never been less than three months for me. Some small but mighty litter box tips: most cats prefer shallow boxes so don’t over fill with litter. Most also prefer unscented, no/low dust litters since their noses and lungs are so sensitive. If your cat is marking outside their box, a dislike for their litter is a common reason why. Another reason is probably location; they prefer private areas that are not heavily trafficked. Scent and location is everything!
A hack I discovered is buying storage containers from the store and using those as a litter box! The sides are higher, they are easier to clean, and they come in more size options (most kitties prefer larger boxes!). When not using Nature’s Miracle, both my cats prefer this option.
*A friendly reminder to all pet parents and lovers: be careful with your essential oil usage! Tea tree and peppermint are highly toxic to felines and even some dogs. The scent alone is considered dangerous for them to breathe in! Remember this when purchasing flea sprays, as many of them contain these essential oils. These ones are typically meant only for dogs and should never be used around cats.