As the owner of two wonderful pets I have really had to learn to get over my need for the perfect house. I have a 17-year-old cat, Matisse, and a two-year-old Beagle named Baxter. I love them both and they provide me with wonderful company.
However, I have learned a few things about keeping a tidy house when all I seem to do is clean up fur and other delightful presents. Here are my top 10 tips for living with furry friends!
1. Buy an amazing vacuum
Although you may have central vac, it isn’t always powerful enough to deal with stubborn fur so you may want to have a separate vacuum unit, just in case.
I absolutely recommend a Dyson Pet Vacuum with Ball. It is great on carpet and although it is heavy, the ball base allows it to roll fairly easily around corners. It took me a bit to figure out all the attachments (I’m not that clever) but once I finally sorted it out, I found a great piece for sucking all the fur off my sofa. As it has no bag you never have to touch the dirt, dust or fur when you go to empty the contents of the vacuum.
Miele also makes a great vacuum with a rotating brush in the head which is excellent at removing fur off carpets and fabrics. It is slightly easier to manage on stairs due to its shape and size as its not an upright. It comes in a variety of price ranges and neat colours!
2. Small accidents
For cleaning up small accidents, I have had great success with two products for carpets: Woolite for Pets and Nature’s Miracle. Both of these are spray liquids and help to remove odour and discolouration. Nothing is perfect, of course, but both of these have certainly worked for me. Test them first on a small area before committing to use overall, just to make sure that materials are colour-fast.
Slipcover where necessary! I have one particular fabric chair Matisse loves, and so does his fur! So I made a slipcover for the chair seat and when it gets too furry to vacuum I wash the slipcover instead. This was much cheaper than slipcovering the whole chair and its much easier to remove quickly when company is coming!
Patterns work wonders. It’s an old designer tip, but a good one: select patterned rugs and fabrics as less shows in terms of fur and marks.
5. Think about fibre types
If you love the luxury of wool but are worried that buying a wool carpet will be a problem with a pet, think again. Rugs made of wool have a natural stain resistance due to the properties of the wool itself, so they can be easier to clean than synthetic carpets.
Also, some upholstery fabrics are simply more stain proof than others. Polyesters, specifically those made into microfibres, can be more durable than cotton or linens on furniture. The best cleaning microfibre is made by Robert Allen Fabrics called “Sensuede”. It is amazing. It resists cats claws and cleans up beautifully from spills or pet accidents. It is expensive, but worth it!
6. Add surfaces your pets naturally love
Matisse always lies on the things I don’t want him to so I bought a small sheep skin rug from IKEA for about $35 (canadian). I placed this on his preferred area of the sofa and that’s where he now sits always. The sheep skin is natural and it catches all his fur. I can simply shake this out at the end of the day.
7. Colour coordinate the dog’s bed
I know this sounds ridiculous but from an interior design point of view, if you can select a colour for the bed so that it blends in to your roomscape it will be less noticeable overall. This is particularly important in a small space like a condo as it will help keep the space looking larger and less cluttered.
8. Floor colour considerations
Lighter or medium coloured hardwood floors are best for camouflaging pet fur. The darker and shinier the floor, the more obvious the fur balls on it will be, so think lighter for less housekeeping!
9. Buy pillows
Again, this may seem foolish but if your dog has a tendency to get on the sofa when you are not home, purchase decorative pillows to make it difficult for he/she to get on in the first place. Although Baxter can climb over the pillows it seems like a hassle for him so he will usually give up and settle on the floor. And if all the pillows are knocked over when I get home….I know someone furry was on the sofa who wasn’t supposed to be!
10. Built-in litter box
Cats are great in small spaces but their litter boxes aren’t. So here is my solution. When I designed new cabinets in my front hall I added an enclosed space for the litter box to fit in. I added a ‘garage door’ on the front of this area, meaning the door pulls up and down the way an exterior garage door does. Matisse can get to his box regularly, but if I have company I can pull it down to hide the box from view.
Remember that pets are hard on home interiors. Nothing will ever be perfect again but they are such wonderful friends, it’s worth the investment to make your space work for you and your best furry friend.