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How do you keep your house smelling "fresh"

Discussion in 'The Cat Lounge' started by yarra, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. yarra

    yarra Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

    Nov 27, 2005
    Ok, here's the deal...

    My parents love animals, they just don't have any. My mom is a homemaker and SUPER clean. She antibacterials every surface after anyone touches it practically. I just don't have the energy for that!!

    Just the other day, we were talking about the 7 foster kittens (and their momma) that Jordan and I are raising and finding homes for.

    In that conversation, she brought up multiple cat homes, and how it's just not such a good idea to have them if you don't want your home smelling like animals. I said, you thought Little Boy and Polly stunk the house up? She said, well, You can tell you have cats when you walk in. (that was before the kittens) I was mortified. We are planing on keeping one of the kittens, so that will just add to the SMELL my mom is refering too.

    I always thought we did a VERY good job of keeping up with the litter box and things.

    What do y'all do to keep your house smelling good? Do people tell you that your house smells like cats?

    I am so embarassed. I don't think I have the energy to clean the litterbox more than once a day!!!


  2. pee-cleaner

    pee-cleaner TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Jan 6, 2006
    I have two 30 pound dogs and 3 cats in the house. I don't consider myself a "clean freak" by any stretch of the imagination, although I do have a cleaning person come in once every 2 weeks as I have a neuromuscular disease and prolonged activity is difficult for me.

    I've had several folks tell me lately (including the cleaning person) that you would never know I have an animal in the house--much less FIVE of them. Here's pretty much my routine:

    1. Don't use perfumey stuff EVER. (I'm a bit of an "earth mother")

    2. I have a Litter Robot in an enclosed cabinet. I use Dr Elsey's Perfect Cat Multi Cat litter in it. I empty the "poo drawer" about every 5 days.

    3. I wash the pet throws about every 2 weeks and use OxyClean powder in the wash water. I clean the pet beds about once a month.

    4. I have a lot of hardwood floors. In fact, the little carpeting I do have will be coming up this week and will be replaced by hardwood. Carpet can be stinky and DIRTY. I ordinarily steam clean every 3-6 mos and will be glad when that's a thing of the past!

    5. I don't have curtains in my home. Only blinds. Curtains can hold odors and pet hair.

    6. I rarely bathe the cats (one of mine has never been bathed) but I do bathe the dogs whenever I detect "doggy odor." Usually they are bathed monthly.

    6. It does help that ALL of my pets are currently perfectly housebroken and continent. Last year my senior kitty died after a prolonged period of incontinence and I must admit, we had an odor problem from that. However, now all is good and hopefully will be for several more years.

    Good luck with your issue.


  3. enuja

    enuja TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Jul 20, 2006
    My system:

    1. Open windows.
    2. Don't mind if the house smells a bit like cats.

    Pee-cleaner is absolutely correct that carpet is evil, but when I read your (Yarra's) post, I flinch not from the idea that people say they can tell you have cats, but from the kind of cleanliness you mother appears to enforce. You say that you don't have the energy to do that; I'd suggest that you research antibacterials and the effects of excessive cleanliness on the human immune system. I think that kind of cleanliness is actually a very misguided goal. It's okay to live in a universe of microorganisms: we all do, some are actually helpful to us, others compete our pathogens, and our immune system needs to have challenges in order to keep from going crazy (over-reacting at nothing).

    Also, you don't need to have your litter boxes in enclosed spaces to keep them from having a lingering order. Just completely change them and wash them out about once a week, and the lingering odor will be much, much reduced. If you are only going to scoop once a day, there will be times of the day when your litter boxes will be detectable by odor, but you can time the scooping and weekly box washing to come before a visit by your mother or other extremely odor sensitive folks.

  4. ancientsanskrit

    ancientsanskrit TCS Member Adult Cat

    When it starts to smell, I find a way to become congested....problem solved.

    Errr if that method is not of your liking open windows, scented candles, etc. I used to burn incense, but cut back as they contain carcinogenic PAHs.

  5. monaxlisa

    monaxlisa TCS Member Top Cat

    I wash all my pet blankets a lot too. I've recently moved to a more humid area and noticed that they start to smell quickly. In a dry climate I never had that problem. I'm gonna have to try the oxyclean!

    I use a lot of Febreze, I spray the furniture, and my curtains, and sometimes the walls get a little misting. I also vacuum a lot and try to mop (but not as often as I should) with Murphys Oil Soap.

  6. pee-cleaner

    pee-cleaner TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Jan 6, 2006
    LOL--the "enclosed" litter robot is mainly to keep the dogs out of it! It also looks very nice enclosed and I gain another place to sit things.

    I agree about the antibacterial cleaners. They are not good. A good plain soap and warm water is all that is needed to clean things. Clorox is the worst and has been banned from my home for 15 years now.


  7. valanhb

    valanhb TCS Member Veteran

    IMO there's a difference between "knowing that you have cats" and the housing smelling like a litterbox. Pets have a smell - it's natural. Humans have a smell too, but unless it smells like you never bathe then noone says "you can tell a person lives here" when they walk in. [​IMG] So what if someone who isn't used to smelling that pet smell noticed it when they walk in? I can tell when someone owns a dog when I walk in a house because I'm not used to that smell. Doesn't mean their dogs pee on the carpet, just that their dogs are in the house. I can also usually tell if someone has a baby by the smell in the house. Doesn't mean it's bad, just different than what I'm used to.

    I do clean the litterboxes regularly, and have enough for them, and scoop every day. But I'm telling you, if one of the cats just "went" right before you walk in the room where the litterbox is, it's gonna smell like cat poo no matter what I do! We also have the automatic air fresheners in multiple rooms but mainly because we just like the smell of those thingies.

    I also have to agree that the anti-bacterial craze has proven to be harmful to our immune systems too. If we aren't exposed to the bacteria, our bodies don't get the antigens built up to fight them when we need to.

  8. carolpetunia

    carolpetunia TCS Member Top Cat

    Oct 25, 2005
    Plano, Texas
    Outstanding advice! Especially points 1 and 2 -- although in our house, with six cats, it takes daily emptying of two Litter Robots to keep up.

    Mom and I fantasize about ripping out all the carpets and replacing them with wood. Someday, if we win the lottery... [​IMG]

  9. lemur 6

    lemur 6 TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Feb 5, 2005
    Actually, that's pretty funny you say, because while I was hunting for a house I could tell which houses were vacant for a long time and which houses were recently lived in by the smell. Long vacant houses do not have a pleasant smell, almost hollow empty smell, or maybe it's just the musty moldy smell, or both. Oh I can recognize people by their smell too, well certain people.

    oh, back to the subject. I sprinkle baking soda into my litter pans. Usually after a complete dumping. I hose the pan down, let dry, sprinkle baking soda and then fresh litter over it. Keeps the ammonia smell at bay.

    Other than that, just vacuum once a week, wipe counters, etc. Now if Shami would quit shooting off the contents of his anal glands every now and again you'd probably never know I had two cats.

  10. yosemite

    yosemite TCS Member Veteran

    Apr 26, 2001
    Ingersoll, ON
    I agree with everything said here so no need to re-type it all. I don't get stressed out about normal, everyday bacteria. It's all around us and I do truly believe we need to be exposed to it to strengthen our immune system. As I've said in other posts, I believe that is one of the reasons so many children these days have allergy issues - the parents are overly protective with all the anti-bacterial stuff.

  11. natalie_ca

    natalie_ca TCS Member Top Cat

    I have 2 cats and live in a one bedroom apartment. The litter box is in the bathroom and I've never had a problem with pet odor in my home.

    I scoop the box every time I'm in the bathroom. I used to empty and disinfect the box every 2 weeks but since June due to back pain, and now due to time, I only do that once every 4 to 6 weeks.

    I use Jonny Cat Scoop clumping litter.

    The only odor I will notice when I come home is the smell of old food if Chynna hasn't finished her breakfast. I try to give it to her early enough that I can pick up the plate before I go so that I don't encounter that smell when I come home in the afternoon.

    So far as my furniture goes, I just vacuum it once per week. A good vacuum is essential to get the dust and cat dander out from deep inside the fibres. I have a Dyson Animal and between the turbo head and the suction, it does an amazing job.

    I don't often spray air fresheners in my home largely because of my asthma, but also because I worry about the effects it has on the cats because the mist will settle on surfaces. However, I do occasionally give a spritz of Oust Citrus before company comes over to give that "just cleaned house" scent. And I have an unvented dryer so when I dry clothing the smell of laundry soap and fabric softener is released into the air giving it a nice clean smell.

  12. yarra

    yarra Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

    Nov 27, 2005
    I TOTALLY agree with these comments. I can't stand that my mom uses the antibacterial spray/wipes/gel/sanitizer every chance she gets. She doesn't have an OCD, it's not to that extent. Well, hmm, maybe it's mild...she CAN'T leave dinner dishes in the kitchen. Not even until the show we are watching is over. She will get up, or insist I do (when I am over for dinner), during commercials.

    ANYWAY! Evidently I have unresolved issues with my mother's cleanliness! lol

    I should just bask in the sent of my kitties and tell my mom to climb a tree!! [​IMG]

    I loved the, anaology that everyone/thing has a scent. The baby example made A TON of sence. I am going to use that one on her when she brings it up again.

    I think i am going to get some baking soda too, and use it in the litter.

    Worlds Best is flushable right? I might start flushing it, rather than bagging and tossing it in the trash.

    Tonight when I came home from work, it smelt of hot dogs, my Hubby had made them for his dinner. LOL Maybe I should fry up some weenies befor my mom comes over next time! [​IMG]

  13. sakura

    sakura TCS Member Top Cat

    Oct 21, 2007
    I keep the windows open to air the place out every so often. I also vacuum every day and scoop the litter box 1-2 times a day. You can only tell if one of the cats poops before someone comes over. I just scoop it out right away, open the window to get air moving, and spray some fragrance-free air freshener (I think we have Febreeze).

    Our house doesn't smell like pets, but the fur and my allergies are an issue.

    I use soy candles (they burn cleanly), but I hate trying to cover up scent with nasty air freshener.

    The cats have never peed/pooped outside of the litter box. Our labrador retriever puppy has had 3 accidents since we've lived here, but 2 were on linoleum (the other was on carpet and was today...ugh).

    The thought of using chemical cleaners gives me a headache. I don't like anti-bacterial stuff either. I much prefer white vinegar, Method, and stuff like that.

    A good vacuum is a must. We have the Eureka Pet Vacuum with the Power Paw. It's really nice! We eventually want the Dyson Animal but for now, the Eurkena one is the best vacuum we've owned.

  14. sarahp

    sarahp TCS Member Veteran

    Jun 7, 2006
    I use a plug in air freshener near where the litter tray is. The first one I used was overbearing, but the last one I had was quite nice. I always open the windows when I'm at home, particularly if the house has been shut up for a few hours to air the place.

    My place has a cat smell, but it's not overbearing, or gross, you can just tell we share our house with cats. And almost everyone we know is a cat person, so nobody cares, and if they do, that's too bad [​IMG]

    Edit: It's the Febreze ones I use too [​IMG]

  15. dragoriana

    dragoriana MajesticFloof Top Cat

    Aug 20, 2006
    Considering that she is your mother, i cannot say what i really think so i'll just say this. She sounds extremely rude. Not EVERYONE can be obsessively perfect in their housekeeping. If you cannot notice it, then you're either so used to the bad smell you can't smell it, or there is no bad smell and your mothers nose is just overly sensitive. Not every pet owners house you walk into has a noticeable smell or signs of a pet until it walks around the corner and climbs up your leg [​IMG]

    Unless other people have made the same comment to you as your mothers, then i wouldn't let it bother you.

    You've said you're always good with the upkeep of the litter and such, so then you are.

    Some people are just not animal lovers..

    But if her remark is really bothering you then maybe use some scented candles for an hour or so, nothing too strong just to neutralise the smell.

    And from one cat owner to another im sure i don't have to tell you to wash soiled linen/pillows, air out the area where to tray is etcetc, that would be just silly.

  16. momofmany

    momofmany TCS Member Veteran

    I think that carpets are the worst offenders at retaining pet odors. We are removing carpet here room by room and I can't wait until we are done with it. I keep a litter box in my bathroom that used to be carpeted. I ripped it out and put in a tile floor and the room smelled remarkably better afterwards. Same with the kitchen and laundry room.

    Another trick that I've used over the years is to put the litter box in a room with either a window fan that blows outward or an overhead exhaust fan. It at least pulls the dust from the litter boxes out of the room and also the smell. When I had my laundry room rebuilt last year, I had an exhaust fan installed because I keep a litter box in that room.

    I leave my windows open as often as possible. I just like the smell of fresh air. I hate chemical smelling cleaning products.

    I also keep extra litter boxes that I rotate into the mix. The plastic in the pan itself holds a lot of smells. At least once a month when I change litter, I just rotate in a clean box and then totally clean out the dirty one.

  17. althekitty

    althekitty TCS Member Alpha Cat

    Mar 20, 2007
    Nottinghamshire, U.K
    I asked my sister and neighbour if they could smell that I have a cat and they said no and that my house was very fresh, phew!! I open the windows a lot and air the place out when at home over the weekend the french windows are usually open and letting the air in. Open fires on now so I think house smells more woody and firey. I empty alans litterboxes three times a day and wash out every week. I don't like to leave deposits in the box as it is unpleasant and I don't like my little boy having to navigate his way around you know what. I do hoover up quite a bit, we have a cream carpet [​IMG] wasn't my idea, so it shows up everything, that is why I hoover the carpeted areas. I also have a spray that is great, you spray it over the fresh changed litter and it really eliminates the odour. Al doesn't smell either, not to me anyway!

  18. trouts mom

    trouts mom TCS Member Top Cat

    Mar 4, 2006
    Snowy Santa Land
    I only have one cat so I just scoop every day and vacuum and wash the floors once a week.

  19. littleraven7726

    littleraven7726 TCS Member Top Cat

    Carpets are terrible. We just bought a house, pulled up a corner of the carpet and discovered hardwood floors.[​IMG] So we pulled it out (the carpet was SO gross) and refinished the floors. The only carpet in the house now are 2 small area rugs.[​IMG] I've never had problems with my home "smelling like cats" anywhere I've lived. I scoop the boxes 2x a day at least. And vacuum a couple times a week.

    She just sounds like someone who doesn't like having pets in their house.[​IMG] You can always tell her if she finds it so offensive she doesn't have to come over.[​IMG] My Mom and my MIL are definitely not neat freaks, so I don't get comments like that from family. I figure if anyone doesn't like my cats, they don't have to come over. It *is* kind of rude to say someone's house smells though. I have a couple relatives who are a lot like your Mom-no pets and really over the top with antibacterial cleaners, but they rarely visit.

  20. sohni

    sohni TCS Member Super Cat

    Oct 2, 2007
    Vancouver Island, BC
    I'd rather have someone tell me that they can smell cats in my house than avoid coming over. I'm going through a hassle right now trying to get my house de-smelled even though I have a hard time smelling anything myself. One thing that has worked is a larger cat box with really deep litter. I scoop it multiple times a day and it is a big improvement over my multiple small box set-up.

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