No bleach! Bleach, aside from toxicity issues on its own, shouldn’t be mixed with ammonia (the main component of cat pee) because it will result in things that shouldn’t be inhaled, like chloramine gas, hydrazine, or nitrogen trichloride (depending on the amounts of ammonia and bleach).
Vinegar is a cat-safe alternative to bleach, and you can use it outside, although keep in mind that vinegar will kill plant life, so dump it over weeds or in an area with no vegetation. Litter dust and residue can clog your sink, so after dumping the litter, give the box a good wipedown before cleaning it in a sink.
Another option that can save you time and aggravation are litter box liners, as long as your cats don’t notice and/or hate the texture and refuse to use the box.
A brush with rubber bristles (like this, or there are tons of other styles) works way better than lint rollers and with no waste. Some people swear by using an anti-static spray like Static Guard, but the smell of it makes me sneeze, so I can’t vouch for that.
Make sure you’re brushing your cats, too. The more loose fur/hair you can get off of them under your conditions, the less will end up everywhere else. I swear by Furminator products.
You need an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle, Simple Solution, or Anti-Icky-Poo. Cat pee is notoriously difficult to eradicate, so you need to pull out the big guns. I’m tagging this “team cat pee” so you can browse back through the archives.
cordeliarose asked you:
I need help from team cat pee please. My cat has started peeing in our dining nook, he has a litterbox near by and goes outside often. I clean with enzyme cleaner often but I can’t figure out how to get him to stop! There’s no way to close off the area. What can i do?
First, take him to the vet to make sure there’s no underlying medical issue causing the peeing.
Second, a good rule is to have one more litterbox than the number of cats you have. Try a second litterbox and see if that helps.
Keep up with the enzyme cleaner, but make sure you’re saturating the area and letting it evaporate rather than wiping it up.
Team Cat Pee, what say you?
I didn’t publish them; there were just a number of them after I published that ask this morning, saying that people have had plumbing problems, septic problems, and various other problems that all stem from flushable litter. Everyone’s mileage will vary, of course, but given that I have dogs and litter is a foreign thing for me, I defer to the experience of the cat-owning members of Team UfYH.
In almost every area (every one that I can think of, but there are always exceptions), kitty litter can be disposed of with the regular garbage.
ETA: Don’t use flushable kitty litter. A number of people have sent me asks saying it’s a bad thing.
Based on the follow-up ask you sent (the cats are ripping out the carpet fibers), I don’t think you can fix the damage; I think replacing the carpet or at least the damaged parts is going to be necessary.
As for preventing future damage, you’ve got soft paws on (and I’m not sure how they’re doing all this damage with them on?), make sure they have plenty of access to other things to scratch/bite/tear apart, covering the carpet with cheap rugs, and maybe limiting their access to carpeted areas (or, the next time you move, look for somewhere without carpeting).
My cats taught me a UFYH lesson today. Daughter shut boy cat in the kitchen when she went to school, because she was loaded down with too many things to carry, and he likes to door rush in hopes of escaping (for what? we don’t know, he immediately sits outside and cries to be let back in, but she didn’t have time to deal with it either way, and I was in the shower).
Unfortunately, I did a bad bad thing, and left dishes on the bench last night. The bench right above the completely empty dishwasher, and right under the hooks holding the big heavy frying pans. Kitty doesn’t usually climb on the bench, let alone up the shelving above them, but what’s a critter to do when shut in the kitchen for 15 whole minutes? Why get up to mischief, that’s what.
Total body count, 2 black stoneware bowls, a bottle of hp sauce (and wow, that was hard to get up off the wood floors!) and my wee bodum 1 cup cafétiere, which I LOOOOVed and my daughter got for my birthday a few years ago. And a huge dent in the cast iron frying pan that he knocked down onto said broken items (pretty sure a panelbeater friend can hammer that out, but I’ll very likely have to strip and reseason the pan after. Yay.) And a cat who now knows he can climb the shelving to sit on top of the pantry right up under the ceiling. Again, yay.
Lesson learnt, well and good: Do my damn dishes at night, particularly when “doing dishes” means “putting dishes in the empty dishwasher which exists for exactly that purpose.”
One reason I love UFYH is that it’s explicitly intended to be accessible by people with different physical and mental health capabilities (THANK YOU FOR THAT, SO MANY TIMES OVER!), and while my house is by no means entirely unfucked, due to a nightmare move + major health issues this year, I have found a few ways to do household chores that had become more and more difficult as time went on/various injuries accumulated.
(I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective-tissue disorder, and the TL;DR version of what that means is that I get hurt easily, I heal slowly, my joints and spine are hypermobile, and I have a growing collection of permanent soft-tissue injuries, along with the bonus super-fun double-punch of trigeminal neuralgia and chronic migraines, common in EDSers. You could think of me as someone with a bad back, bad knees, bad shoulder — you get the idea.)
I’ve recently found a couple of tricks that are really helping me maintain, even when my back is fucked or when I’m having trouble getting up/down off the ground. The three tasks that I identified as most difficult AND most likely to cause injury (in this case, they had a high likelihood of throwing my back out) were scooping the catboxes, loading and unloading the dishwasher, and loading and unloading the (floor-level, front-loading) washer and dryer. All of these required either sitting on the floor or bending way over and reaching forward, and they were hurting me all too often.
I bought an appropriately-sized Ikea tabletop from the options here(59”x29.5”, for my space, and I chose the “Vika Amon” style):
I then bought the *adjustable* (this part is crucial!) Vika Kaj style legs, which have a minimum height of about 2 feet off the ground.
And then I bought a Torbjörn adjustable office chair (I wouldn’t use this to sit in for long, but that’s not what it’s for — it’s crucially light, easy to move, has swiveling wheels, and *it adjusts down to about two feet off the ground.)
You may see where I’m going with this — the litterboxes went up on the assembled table (with a temporary intermediate step in between for my elderly chubby cat who doesn’t like to jump — will be looking for a more permanent cat-stairs arrangement in future), I can wheel the chair up to the table, level with the litterboxes, and scoop away to my heart’s content. (Okay — to the CATS’ hearts’ content, to be fair.)
The “scooty-chair,” as I have so dubbed it, is also immensely helpful in loading/unloading the dishwasher, and it even fits into my closet-sized laundry room in order to let me load and unload the washer without wrecking myself.
I’m really pleased, because it means that I have to rely on my (non-live-in) partner for fewer things, and it also means that I feel more independent and can unfuck these portions of my house without worrying that half the time I’ll wind up hurting myself in the process! :D
BTW, I can usually be found at http://ashbet.tumblr.com/ :)
Excellent ideas! Thanks for passing them along!
scatteringashes asked you:
I have a two part question. We recently got new chairs and a table. The chairs are at least pretending to be leather, and my cat has claws. He has a whole dedicated covered-in-carpet cat thing to deal with his claws, but I’ve recently caught him taking scratches at our new chairs. Part I: Does anyone know how to talk a cat into not scratching a chair? Part II: Is there anything I can do to make remove the claw marks from the chairs? They’re only a small, few now, but I hate them. A lot. Thanks!
A leather conditioner or polish should help blend the scratches back into the material. As for keeping the cat away from the chair, the old pennies-in-the-can trick is a classic, as is a spray bottle of water (although I don’t know if that’s still a valid training tool).
Cat people, I know you have opinions about this. Have at it.
Last night I spent 45 minutes steam-cleaning the downstairs carpet.
At five o’clock this morning, I woke up to the chilling and unmistakable sound of a cat vomiting somewhere in the general vicinity of downstairs.
NOOOOO PLEASE BABY JESUS DON’T LET IT BE ON THE CLEAN CARPET, I thought. And it wasn’t on the clean carpet…but it was right next to it, on the edge of the lowermost carpeted stair tread. He must have stood on the tile and hurled vertically onto the step. Thanks a lot, cat.
After that setback, I wasn’t in the mood for much unfuckening tonight, but I did clear off my bedside table.
Before: lots of random stuff, including books, DVDs, nail polish, origami, a Halloween mask and a hairbrush.
After: nothing but the lamp, my Kindle, and the coaster for my water glass.
I also made a pot of tofu noodle soup, which was delicious, if I do say so myself. And I remembered to clean up as I went, so there’s not a giant mess in the kitchen and I can start the dishwasher before bed.
If your carpet won’t get bleached out, hydrogen peroxide works. If it will or you’re not sure, an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle or Simple Solution. And blot, don’t rub.
Take it one square foot at a time. Don’t look at the entire mess, just pick a spot and start there. You may want to treat the cat mess first; an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle or Simple Solution or something like hydrogen peroxide can help.
For the computers, find places near you that will recycle electronics. If you’re in the U.S., start here. Many big box/office supply stores also have programs in place.
Good luck, pace yourself, take your breaks, and keep us posted.