There is no doubt that owning an animal brings a lot of joy to your life. Unfortunately, it also brings a lot of work! Cats are a very popular choice of pet, for many reasons. They are fun, loving, comforting, low maintenance, and give a life to a house that no other animal does. However, they also bring challenges that no other animal does, given their claws and somewhat destructive play nature! One of the biggest concerns with owning cats is making sure your carpet stays in tiptop shape. See below for our top 5 tips for maintaining your carpet when you have cats in the house.
1. Pick a Good Carpet
There are a few factors to consider about carpet choice when you share your home with a cat. Most importantly, you want to consider the effects of claws and accidents. The longer the pile height, the more chances you have for accidental snags of your cats’ claws as they walk or run across it. This could cause injury for your cat if it pulls in the wrong direction, and it can obviously cause damage to the carpet as well. And, while cats are generally very clean by nature, sometimes accidents or illness happens and you will have to deal with urine, feces, or vomit on the carpet. They can also cause spills with all their jumping and running around. Many a glass of water or cup of tea left on a coffee table has been knocked over by a rambunctious feline! Keeping all this in mind, we recommend a carpet with a short, tight, cut, synthetic pile. This type of carpet is durable, unlikely to pull, and easier to clean than other options.
2. Control Those Claws
The biggest challenge of cat ownership might be their claws. Their instinct to scratch combined with fast nail growth means your house is at constant risk! One strategy to help with this is to keep their nails trimmed so they don’t unwittingly snag carpet fibres. This can be done at home (a bit of a challenge!) with clippers you can buy at any pet store, or you can make an appointment with your vet to have it done there. Another more sustainable strategy is to provide opportunities for your cats to maintain their own claw length, with scratching posts made of various materials. Besides keeping the accidental damage to a minimum, having these designated scratching areas will also curb their desire to scratch the carpet purposefully!
3. Vacuum Regularly
If you have cats in your home, you will have to vacuum regularly to keep your carpets looking their best. Vacuuming twice weekly will help keep the inevitable hair, dirt, and dander in check. Consider using a litter mat under and around the litter box to help keep the litter from being tracked outside of the box and onto your carpet. Regular vacuuming is a great way to maintain your carpet when you have cats and other animals in your home.
4. Spot Cleaning of Accidents
Sometimes, accidents happen. Cat urine does require some special treatment, and if you can get to it right away you have the best chance of cleaning it up properly. The most important thing to remember here is NOT to use bleach. Bleach will damage your carpet and react with the urine to cause even bigger odor problems. Here’s how to treat it:
- Blot with a white towel to remove as much of the urine as possible, then neutralize with a white vinegar solution (one part vinegar, two parts water).
- Next, saturate the spot with the vinegar solution using a spray bottle, and blot to remove excess moisture.
- Then, apply a small quantity of detergent solution (1/4 tsp of bleach-free dish soap, two cups water) to the spot. Use a blotting motion to work the detergent into the affected area.
- Now, continue blotting and applying until the spot is removed.
- Rinse with tap water using a spray bottle, then blot to remove excess moisture.
- Next, spray lightly with water, but do not blot this time: apply a pad of paper towels and a stack of books.
- Lastly, leave to dry. Finish with an enzyme cleaner spray, if you wish.
5. Deep-Clean Regularly
As you can see from the discussion above, keeping your carpet clean with cats around can be a challenge! We recommend you bring in the professionals at least once a year, preferably twice, to keep the risk to your carpet at a minimum. Cats bring with them hair, dander, and possible urine and fecal accidents, and while it is possible to clean up much of this with the above-mentioned tricks, regular vacuuming and spot-cleaning can only take you so far. Soap residue from home-attempts to clean up any kind of liquid contaminants act as a magnet for dirt, dust, and dust mites, and provides a food source for harmful bacteria. And of course there is the urine itself; a professional clean will reach deeper into the carpet and be more likely to remove it completely.
Think of the 80/20 rule: about 80% of what is making your carpet dirty can be managed with regular vacuuming and spot-cleaning. The other 20% is made up of deep-seated, hard to reach material that can only be removed by a professional.
It is also important to provide your cat with regular enrichment as this will keep them from getting bored and finding other ways to amuse themselves, such as scratching your carpet or your furniture. For some great enrichment ideas, check out these free resources from Companion Veterinary Clinic and be sure to visits our blog post about How To Stop Cats From Scratching Your Furniture for more tips and tricks.
AmSteam provides affordable, effective carpet cleaning services to Edmonton and the surrounding area. Connect with our team to get a quote today!