With spring weather making an early appearance so many places, we’re already thinking ahead to a good spring cleaning in our home. In our pet home, though, spring cleaning extends far beyond our own needs and into our cats’ daily lives as well. When you begin your own spring cleaning plans, here are nine cat-related tasks to consider:
- Air out cat beds and mats. After a winter of use, your cat’s bedding needs some freshening. Read the manufacturer’s label to see if you can wash your bed; many will have zip-off covers that you can wash but the bed itself may not be washable. Sanitize the bed by putting it in the sunshine for the day. Similarly, air out all carpeted cat trees.
- Step up the grooming. Warm weather means shedding that winter coat; we give our cats a helping paw by grooming them with a deshedding tool. Not only does it cut back on fur floating across the floor but it also helps cut down on the hairballs that can plague our cats (especially Inca, who dutifully grooms our other cats as well as herself).
- Talk with your veterinarian. Spring weather will mean fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are just a hop and a jump away. Talk with your veterinarian about the best options for your cat, his lifestyle, and your climate. Our cats are strictly indoors-only…but that doesn’t mean bugs don’t find their way into our home. Last month I went for a walk in the woods and then when I returned and was petting Ochi on the couch, I looked down and saw a tick walking up my leg…
- Check your cat food storage. Warmer weather will mean that all bugs will be out in force so make sure your cat food storage is safe from bug infestation—and, at the same time, protected from the upcoming warm weather. Garages, which may be fine for food storage during the cold winter months, present a potential problem during the summer when food can become rancid due to the heat.
- Deep clean cat fountains and bowls. Now’s the time for a deep cleaning of your cat’s water fountain. To remove hard water deposits, run a vinegar and water solution through the fountain then scrub and rinse.
- Deep clean the litterboxes. Give the litterboxes some extra attention with a vinegar and water wash followed by drying time in the sun.
- Evaluate all cat toys. Roundup your cat’s collection of toys and eye each one carefully. Are there any loose parts or tears you should mend? Do the toys need cleaning? Put all plush toys in a pillowcase and launder them then hang them out in the sun to dry. Hard toys like wands, interactive games and track balls can be hand washed in a solution of vinegar and water.
- Gather items for donations. Spring is the perfect time to gather those products that you’re no longer using and donate them to your local animal shelter. Look for toys your cat no longer likes, beds he has outgrown, and excess bowls.
- Clean with pet-friendly solutions. As you start your own deep cleaning of the whole house, be sure to choose cleansers with an eye on your pets. Simple, eco-friendly products like vinegar and baking soda make great cleansers that won’t be dangerous to your cat.