cats / tips

how to have nice furniture AND cats

10.17.17

i get asked constantly about how i deal with having three cats and a fairly tidy house and nice furniture — and to be honest, it’s a constant struggle because all three of our cats are assholes in different ways (assholes whom i love). but here are the tips i do have, hopefully they can help you decide to adopt that cat that needs a home!

scratching

for sure our biggest challenge is the scratching. we have a couple different methods that we use, but the most important one is to make sure you have scratching pads for them in any room they are doing it.

our two older cats are good about using scratching pads because we raised them since kittens, but our third was an adult rescue who definitely never used one and we can’t seem to convince her to. there are some decent looking cardboard ones or you can diy a permanent one like we did. (only one cat actually uses this one and the other one only likes cardboard, if you’re worried about whether they’d like before making it, just get some rope and see if they’re into it)

when we get a new piece of furniture they’re interested in, we first cover it for a week with a familiar smelling blanket. once it smells like they’re used to, we take it off and spray it with feliaway. it’s a product that makes it smell like they’ve marked it already.

if that doesn’t stop them, we put sticky paw strips, they’re basically just large double sided tape strips that you can run on the side of any chairs or the top of your sofa etc. these work really well but after they’re fully covered in fur i take them off, and sometimes the cats come back. the other less sticky method we use is blankets — everywhere. if you don’t feel like having strips of furry tape all over your furniture is that cool, i get it. it’s not. toss a throw blanket over any spots they keep messing with (your headboard, your sofa, an arm chair…) it really does work!

when you’re ready to remove the strips once they’re over it, always make sure they’re not in the room to see you do it!


 

 


cleaning

another question i get is “how do you keep your house clean with three cats?” short answer is we don’t if you look closely. our last apartment had light hardwood floors, and when we bought our house i debated for a minute if we should lighten our wood floors here (for looks as well) — well the answer was yes, but i didn’t do it obv. light floors are waaay more forgiving when it comes to fur everywhere and scratches. so my first tip would be live somewhere with light hardwood floors. if you can’t do that — hire a housekeeper. and if you can’t do that, you just have a lot of upkeep.

we have a housekeeper twice a month and it is the best use of money for the sake of our happiness and marriage. neither of us ever clean the toilets and resent each other for how we use the toilets. but unfortunately with three cats, twice a month isn’t really enough to keep up with the incessant fur. so in between her visits, i have a dustpan close by for all corners and we use a swiffer as well. we’re also planning to get a roomba soon because i think that will help us big time.

as for the barf and bathroom stains, we always use nature’s miracle and it works really well. it gets rid of the smell so they don’t try to keep marking it or anything, and it gets out the stains well too.


 

 


pooping

sadly, we haven’t mastered the whole living with a cat without having a disgusting shit situation in our house. the other mistake we made as cat owners when buying our house was not buying a place with a mudroom or laundry room. if we could contain the litter box in a separate place like that, we’d all be much happier, but because we have no space for it anywhere — we use the guest room as their poop dungeon.

in my dreams, they’d all happily share one box and never track litter outside of it, but in reality — we got an expensive litter robot in the biggest size so our biggest cat bodhi would be able to fit, and he has refused and revolted against this idea. so now we’re back to two boxes, the girls share the litter robot and bodhi uses an old shitty one in the closet. it’s really not even close to ideal and the room reeks and cleaning takes gid forever (hey! i do lots of other stuff! just not litterboxes). so i’m hoping we figure out a better situation in the future.

we also used to have a really cute one that i didn’t mind being out, but again — bodhi couldn’t hang with it so we had to get rid of it. i get asked a lot how we hide our litter boxes and i hope to someday astonish you with my solutions. but if you also can’t hide yours, there are also tons of great ideas for disguising litter boxes in the open. we just haven’t figured that part out yet (and now that baby has arrived we may never). here are two cute pieces of furniture, one is a vintage cabinet with a hole cut on the side, the other is obviously made for concealing the litter box. if you’re able to scour a flea market, i’d try a vintage cabinet because it’s way less obvious and probably fits into your decor way better.

inside that cabinet is a litter box!

(source)


 

 


lastly, spray bottles and lint rollers are your friends. stock the f up on them.

i hope i covered everything, let me know if you have any additional questions though!

25 comments on “how to have nice furniture AND cats”

  1. This both makes me laugh and cringe. I feel your struggle on the litter situation – we call the litter Cleo tracks out poop rocks and they’re EVERYWHERE. Luckily we hide the litter box in our laundry room. My cousin has hers in a piece of furniture with the side cut out which I thought was genius!

    1. That is hysterical, I love “poop rocks”, we call our “litter bombs”. They drive me crazy because you don’t know when or where you’re going to step on one.

  2. I totally hear you. We have one cat now and a basement (yay!) but used to have two cats when living in a small apartment in the city and hiding the litter box was key. We ended up buying a long, low, metal IKEA cabinet ($40?) and just cut a hole in the side with a hack saw, then lined the metal hole with electrical tape. Then we bought a plastic storage box that was the right size to fit inside one side of it and filled it with litter. So the cat went in the left side hole, walked across a shelf covered with a bath mat (to collect the annoying litter bits) and then stepped down into the litter box on the right. The front doors opened for easy cleaning. It worked really well!

  3. We JUST found a litter box “solution” (I’ve seriously considered potty training them on that toilet trainer thing..I think it’s the only way to truly get the shit outta your life haha) for our two cats. We bought this bench thing to hide the boxes and lined it with litter trapping mats https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004E8M7PK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    then we put one of these inside and on top of the bench https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004E8M7PK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    We just scoop every day and then vacuum it out on weekends. There is no more smell or litter being tracked everywhere. We also have one big cat with litter box OCD and she has been coping really well with it! We also have a cat named Bodhi – small world!

    I’ll definitely be using these scratching tips for furniture, thanks for sharing.

  4. I also have a multi-cat poop situation. My partner and I live in an apartment that has no large closet / mud room / laundry room / similar space for a proper litter box to go, so we found some semi-decorative ones on amazon. They are kind of MacGuyvered together to look like terra cotta planters, but they’re totally made out of plastic. They hang out near our entryway, sandwiching a brass and marble console table from Target’s new mod furniture line.

    One way we’ve been able to manage the smell is with the arm & hammer multi-cat baking soda for litter boxes in the powder and spray form. When I initially fill the litter box and once a day after scooping all that poop, I sprinkle the powder, stir it into the remaining litter, and spray some of the liquid on top (and give it another stir). I normally don’t smell the litter anymore (unless there is some uncovered poop awaiting my scooper) and neither do guests (unless they are all conspiring to trick me into believing my house doesn’t smell like a giant litter box), which has given me more confidence in keeping the litter boxes where they are. I’m slowly transitioning to Yesterday’s News litter because there is absolutely no dust and/or tracking – I’m currently transitioning them away from Tidy Cats which really handles smells well but gets everywhere and leaves cute (but disgusting) little paw prints on the floor.

    I definitely recommend the arm & hammer multi-cat baking soda – I initially saw it near the cat litter section at petco and have since found it at target and (obviously) online.

  5. Ugh – we have a dog (who eats couches, so I can’t speak to the “have nice furniture” part of your post, BOOOOOOO!) and FOUR cats between my boyfriend and I…in ~1,000 sq ft. It was basically the Brady Bunch: Animal Edition when we moved in together.

    I HIGHLY recommend a robot vacuum! They may not be perfect for every home, but I think it’s worth the money and the subsequent time/effort to get a schedule and system for it sorted out. For us, that means running the robot (Neato Nick – our 6th pet?) in the open living area when we’re at work during the day and blocking off a few smaller rooms where the robot gets stuck on the floor transitions and ends up waiting for help instead of vacuuming. We end up vacuuming those manually, but I suspect that we could set Nick free in them occasionally if we really wanted to. I still end up “touching up” around the edges of the room every few weeks with the regular vacuum to get the very edges of each room, under furniture, etc… but overall it’s SO NICE to now see fur tumble weeds blowing by regularly!

    Also highly recommend a steam mop if you can use one on your floors – I picked up a Shark Steam Pocket Mop on clearance at TJ Maxx and it makes cleaning up any barfing, hairballs, or occasional accidents so much easier!

  6. There’s no reason to have smelly litter boxes. I have 4 cats and 3 litter boxes. I scoop 2X a day, morning and night (it takes like 2 minutes), and use an electric broom on the tile floor each evening while dinner is cooking. Full disclosure – I don’t have an infant. :)
    Cats don’t like smelly litter boxes anymore than humans do, so keeping them clean will help with them “going ” elsewhere.
    As for furniture, I utilize blankets to protect from fur, which I remove for guests, and the sticky paws tape is great, cats hate it.
    PS Your kitties are beautiful!

  7. Hi !!! I love the cats. I have 3 cats too. I would like to know what your cats eat. In my country, cat food is very expensive …

  8. Oh gosh this post was written for me i feel like! My 2 cats are assholes whom i love as well (one is a particular monster who appears to hate everything i spend my money or energy on and wants to destroy it! It’s a constant struggle to keep a pretty, comfy home, but hey, i love them to death so it’s worth it! I’m definitely taking all your tips and actually writing them down! xo
    Melodie
    http://happymelodie.com/

  9. The litter box and location was never a problem for us, but I hate all brands of litter. Either there is toxic clay dust, it tracks around the house, it gets sticky when wet, or there is an gross artificial flower smell that lingers on their paws and grosses me out thinking of where their paws have been. The best litter solution EVER is to use CHICKEN FEED! Go to the feed store and buy their cheapest, unmedicated “layer crumbles.” It looks like Grape Nuts. It clumps nicely, it doesn’t track (not a lot at least), it doesn’t stick to their feet at all, it’s natural, and it doesn’t smell when a little baking soda is mixed in and is scooped daily. It’s a game changer.

    1. I use the breeze system because I HATE traditional cat litter. The smell of the clean litter is bad enough for me. The breeze doesn’t smell as long as you scoop the poop out adequately and it solves the problem of gross pee clumps. But the little is a pain to accidentally step on, almost as bad as Legos.

  10. Have you ever had a problem with your cats meowing at night? I had to start closing the door at night when I moved in with my boyfriend because the cat wakes him up (rude :|) but our cat wakes us up ~4 am a few times/wk even if we play with her for 30+ min the night before. Doesn’t help that she’s 2 yrs old and our bathroom is outside of our bedroom…

  11. How do you deal with the vomit? Literally my cat has started being a troll and hiding under my bed and proceeding to vomit on my hardwood floor, which literally eats through the varnish since our house was built in 1954……..damn Smokey. Like we’ve tried the cat food for hairballs thing but it doesn’t really work.

  12. My next door neighbors installed a catio along the side of their house just so they could keep the litter boxes outside. They say it’s working great. Maybe you could do something similar?

  13. Get the Roomba now. Like order it right now. It is life changing.

    We have two dogs that shed terribly, and our Roomba (Rosey, like from the Jetsons) has changed our life. Our house has fairly dark wood floors, and we used to notice hair tumbleweeds all over the place and especailly by the baseboards, but the Roomba has completely solved the problem. Our whole house seems so much cleaner, and it truly has made a difference in my attitude toward my home.

    We have noticed that it seems to work best when contained in a smaller area rather than left to run over our whole house. We just stick it in a room and shut the door until it’s done, and then move it to a new room when we think about it.

  14. I love this because my cat is also a jerk who likes to destroys things and it’s a struggle to keep my home nice. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of just covering our couch with a blanket! We’ve tried everything else: that special double-sided tape, scratching posts in the room, scratching posts right up against where she scratches, and more.
    As for the floor situation, a roomba is a lifesaver! I also call the carpet cleaners every few months and they do a great job of making it seem like a giant fur ball doesn’t live here, but that does’t work as well if you have hardwood floors.

  15. I only have one cat, but I can smell his poop clear across my apartment — dude takes some toxic shits, lol. The woman who fostered him before I adopted him recommended World’s Best Cat Litter, which is made of corn and is flushable (though apparently you’re not allowed to flush it in California…sorry about that). It’s a lifesaver for me, because cleaning his box doesn’t ever become a chore. When he poops I can just scoop it up right away and flush it (litterbox is in an alcove just outside the bathroom) and the smell dissipates quickly.

    As far as litter tracking goes, I’m in love with my Dyson handheld vacuum (and it’s on the cheap side for a Dyson product! https://www.walmart.com/ip/Dyson-DC34-Bagless-Cordless-Hand-Vacuum/21282207?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227015585038&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=40343905832&wl4=pla-78307303952&wl5=9003762&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=online&wl12=21282207&wl13=&veh=sem)

    I also have a scratching post that goes around the corner of my couch, from cattrees.com, that mostly matches the color of my couch so it doesn’t stand out too much. The only problem I have is that he’s an old guy and not super agile at jumping, so he digs his claws in when he jumps onto my bed, slowly destroying my Joinery eagle blanket…

  16. I have 8 cats (4 fosters), 2 inside cats and 2 outside cats. Hands down the best thing I’ve discovered is Everclean litter. I’ve only found it at pet stores and Amazon but in terms of containing any odor it’s unreal!

    I have three 6 week old foster kittens and one of them pooped all over my white linen and silk Restoration Hardware bedding last night. Twice. 😩😩😩

  17. I have to add my plug for the Roomba – I was dead set against it as another ridiculous unnecessary household gadget, but we found one for pretty cheap (~150) on Craigslist and I was proved absolutely wrong. We have just the one dog, but it runs on the main floor of our townhouse (living room/dining/kitchen) every day at 3:30pm and we have to empty it every day! Once I saw how much dog hair I had been ignoring on our light wood floors, I changed my mind completely. I think I would pay full price for a brand new one at this point. Go for it!!

  18. I think I’ve resigned myself to that fact that I just can’t have nice furniture around with my two rescue cats! We (stupidly) bought a brand new leather-look couch as we thought this would be less resistant to trapping cat fur which would ultimately end up back on our clothes… well that lasted about 24 hours before the cats pretty much destroyed it – claw marks everywhere! Our wooden bed is pretty much the same – their own scratching post even though we have several throughout the house. We always have tufts of fur floating around the house no matter how often we vacuum, and I’ve learned to just have lint brushes in every room of the house, gym bag, car, everywhere because their fur just sticks to everything I wear! The price we pay for our beloved kitties!

  19. I have 2 cats that pretty much destroyed my last couch (which was LAVENDER! try finding another one of those, they don’t exist…tear) and we bought a brand new couch in a pretty light blue velvety microfiber material. THE COUCH IS PRISTINE! no scratches. Sometimes I can see little marks from where they tried to scratch but can’t. I swear by velvet. the weave is way too small for them to dig their claws into so I think they got over trying pretty quickly. All furniture will be velvet from here on out!

    I use world’s best cat litter scented lavender and I love it. It honestly smells good. I can’t stand that gross artificial litter scent, blech. It does track but I don’t think a non-tracking litter exists so I have given up on that front. I also had my bf build a catio–gamechanger!

  20. I recently bought a Persian cat who I really love. But, oh my God, the HAIRS! They’re simply everywhere regardless of how often I clean. Luckily, the scratching is not a problem. I used those sticky paws strips and it worked. Anyway, maybe I’ll try hiring a housekeeper too!

  21. Spray bottles are our best method, and also making a really loud noise whenever they do it. If you have the option, training your cat to poop outside is a godsend. Ours rarely scratches furniture or has accidents because he’s an indoor/outdoor cat. I realize not everyone lives at ground level, or in an area that is outdoor cat friendly, but if you can, it is amazing! Our cat scratches trees, and poops underneath one of our bushes. He is very happy, too because he gets to explore during the day, and take naps in the sunshine on our patio.

    I realize a lot of cat enthusiasts are going to say I’m a horrible person for letting my cat go outside. *Blasphemy*

  22. I’m not sure how old your cats are, but we trained our cat to use the toilet using the Litter Kwitter system. It only took her about two weeks when she was 6 months old, but it’s supposed to be able to work on any age cat. It is seriously the best thing to only have to flush the toilet a few extra times (PLUS it is really easy to get people to cat-sit if we need it).

    For the scratching, we have a leather couch at home that she doesn’t seem to touch but if we go somewhere with fabric couches, we sometimes use these https://www.softpaws.com/soft-paws-feline-small/ They don’t seem to bother her, and they falll off in a week or two. She can still ‘scratch’ the furniture, it just prevents any damage. They’re also great for training, as you can leave furniture uncovered, and if you catch your cat scratching, just spray them with water (or whatever method of deterrence you use).

  23. I want say that I love your blog. I think you are amazing, very talented. But I will admit that your language is a little off putting and it’s possible that it alienates readers who otherwise love your content. Sorry to be so negative but I often just look at your pictures because I’m not a fan of the bad words. Hope no offense is taken.

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