Monday, May 24, 2010 11:21 AM

Cat Hair, Everywhere

One of the many reasons that we love cats is because of their soft, downy fur. What cat lover can resist rubbing their noses in that fluff? And all cat lovers admire the long-haired breeds for their beauty and royal bearing, even if they are not up to the task of coping with all that extra (and extra-long) hair.

The downside to having cats around is the plethora of cat hair that one must deal with. The same attributes that make car fur so darn touchable also seem to make the stuff stick to everything: Clothing, bed linens, rugs, furniture upholstery, etc. When it doesn't stick, like on bare floors, the result is swirling clouds of dust bunnies and fur that you must constantly keep ahead of, lest it float around with every step you take. Even when you do keep on top of it, it insidiously finds its way under appliances and furnishings.

Not only does cat hair coat every bit of fabric around, it also becomes embedded in the weave of the material, which makes it doubly hard to remove. How many times have you just changed your clothes before going out, rather than face the challenge of removing even 75% of the cat hair that had insinuated itself into your shirt? Over the years, I have found a few ways to cope with these hairy problems. Here are a few things that I have found to be helpful in the daily cat-hair-control-chore department:

1. Comb or brush your cat a few times a week. If you have a long-haired cat, this is necessary anyway, or you'll wind up with mats and a very expensive grooming bill. Cats shed hair constantly, just like we do, but combing or brushing really does help grab a bunch of the loose stuff so that it can be bunched up and thrown away, rather than taking up space in your expensive vacuum cleaner bags.

2. Use the right vacuum for your floor type. If you have carpets, buy an upright style; bare floors need the attentions of a canister model. If you have a mix, say of bare floor and area rugs, choose a canister model. The job will be much less taxing if you use the right tools.

3. Vacuum often. 'Nuff said.

4. Dust mop in between vacuumings. Microfiber and fleece are incredible fur magnets, so I buy fleece baby blankets at the dollar store, cut them up, and use them with my "Swiffer" mop to rid the house of cat hair when there's no time to vacuum. Shake them out and wash with your regular wash. They last quite a while.

5. Damp sponge your upholstery. Dampen a cellulose sponge and rub, in one direction, on your upholstery to rid it of cat hair. The sponge pulls the hair right out of the fabric, and you can vacuum up the resultant pile.

6. Use lint rollers wisely. They're great for clothes, but don't use on your furniture as they will eventually leave a sticky residue that attracts dirt and hair.

7. Keep your cats indoors. The moderation of indoor temperature really cuts down on the shedding season - another plus in favor of indoor cats!

8. Don't worry about it too much. After all, it's only cat hair.
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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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