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Open House: Pets and Your Home

Although I've only posted a few pet-related posts, your responses to these posts show that you're a pretty pet-oriented group! Who knew that the kitty washroom would inspire so much love?

Those of us who live with pets struggle to varying degrees with how to keep our homes clean, organized, and pretty, even with a sixty-pound dog underfoot or a kitty who likes to use your favorite chaise lounge as a scratching post.

So for this weekend's Open House, I want to hear your best ideas for living happily, healthfully, and beautifully with pets in your home. How do you keep them off the furniture? How do you keep your furniture clean and fur-free if they're allowed on the couch? How do you ensure that your cat's litterbox is smelling fresh? If you're a renter, how have you helped keep the peace between pet-wary landlords and pet-loving you? Just leave your ideas in the comments section below. Then next week, I'll compile our CasaSugar list of smart ideas for living with pets. Let the open house begin!

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CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I have three cats. Only one is declawed, the other two have scratching posts to keep them from tearing up the couches. They are NOT aloud on counters, or tables and if i see them up there all i have to do is clap my hands, or say NO! I have One litterbox but clean it twice a day, and I use Tidy Cats Multiple cat litter its awesome. I tried the electronic cat litterbox but its motion sensored and my oldest male cat mazzy "perches" on the outer lip to go #2, so the box would "sense" that he was out and start its sweep, which scared the poor old man that he didnt poop for days untill we realized what was happenening (he started guiltily pooing outside the bathroom door, and he had NEVER done that) I have dealt firsthand with a cat dying from kidney disease and had to weigh the decision to put her to sleep or keep her on expensive meds, i own a Munchkin cat bred to have short legs, I have dealt with a cat peeing on everything in sight, hairballs, humping my leg, a cat chewing his hair off due to a change in his surroundings, seizures, name it
arienne arienne 9 years
I also use a kennel for my brittany when we aren't home. He actually prefers to be left in there than loose in the house (when he sees me get my keys he runs over to his kennel so I won't forget to put to him in and give him a treat). It does mean that I have to have a large kennel in my living room, but I bought a pretty wicker one that actually looks pretty nice. To deal with dog hair, sticky lint rollers are are a lifesaver. My dyson vacuum is a must have for me too.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 9 years
I've enjoyed reading all the tips and agree that kenneling a dog is a good thing. They really do look at it as their safe place. We got a puppy 8 days ago and he is already adapted to going to the crate when I can not keep a watchful eye on him. It also helps to have an older dog to model good behavior. :) I have to vacuum at least once a week and find myself doing it two to three times a week. My cat doesn't shed much, but the shepherd mix sure does.
Pez4Pres Pez4Pres 9 years
I used to use flushable litter until I found out that cat litter has a parasite that survives sewage treatment and ends up in the ocean where it can kill sea otters. I like otters more than flushable litter so now I clean it out every night and use the littermate. It's basically a diaper genie for cats. It works pretty well, and helps keep odors down. For pet hair, I vacuum my furniture regularly and when guests are coming I use tape to get any extra hair off.
amybdk amybdk 9 years
That is a fantastic idea, chancleta - the letter of recommendation!
verily verily 9 years
I second the pine kitty litter. It's flushable, which makes my life a whole lot easier, considering that the apt. complex's dumpster is really really far away. No urine smell ever...the pine naturally breaks down urine. My cats don't hang out on my counters (thank god!), but one of them discovered that my Bunn coffee maker is very nice and warm at all times. To deal with that, I put two pieces of duct tape on the top of it. Cats totally hate the feel of it and it's way more durable than scotch tape. If you have a cat that kicks litter badly, consider investing in a large rubbermaid. You can cut a hole in the lid and use it as a very deep litterbox. OR you can cut a hole on one side and put your smaller litterbox inside; it catches litter like a covered box, but leaving the lid off makes the more claustrophobic kitties happy.
chancleta chancleta 9 years
As for hair (I own a black lab) I joke that "black hair is alll over my life."
chancleta chancleta 9 years
My advice for renter's with dogs = If your a big dog owner like me. You know that landlord's flinch when you mention your baby weighs more than 25 pounds. Some landlords find it hard to believe that bigger doesn't mean worse. So couple of years ago I started getting a letter of recommendation for my baby. Yes sounds crazy but it works! When you move out and the landlord sees how your precious baby didn't do any damage ask for a letter of recommendation for your pooch. Just a letter saying he didn't do any damages. That way you can show the next landlord a letter from the previous landlord as proof that your baby isn't "that kind of dog."
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
My cat, Naima, gets organic, flushable, non-clumping, and totally non-toxic pine kitty litter. It's cheaper than that unsafe clumping crap, AND it never smells! Also, since she came from the SPCA, keeping her off the kitchen table was a bit of a problem at first. I got one of those cheap toy waterguns from the dollar store, put some room-temp water in it, and then spritz her with it when she gets somewhere she shouldn't. She gets so preoccupied with trying to find where the water came from that she never hops up on the table again!
MamaD MamaD 9 years
Maya, our beagle loves to snuggle on the couch. The rule is she stays on her designated blanket. It's a leather sectional so we put her blanket in one corner all the time. She is so used to this now that she will look at you if the blanket isn't where it should be. When some of her fur gets on the couch, it easily wipes off the smooth leather!
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 9 years
I forgot to add that feeding your cat a better quality food will keep your litter box smells at bay. Also, the crystals are really good litter. They last for one month for one cat. I don't touch the litterbox until the 15th of each month and I just lift out the bag and replace all the litter. Gadget's litterbox never smells with this combination.
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 9 years
To keep Gadget from snacking on plants, when I first bring them in, I spritz them with a mixture of vinegar and crushed red peppers. He really liked to munch on the plant that is in the picture above on the middle shelf (ikea, right?) and hasn't since I spritzed it.
machula machula 9 years
we have a yellow lab. when she was a puppy (she turned 3 yesterday), she ran havoc all the time when she was home alone-tore up clothes, books and slept in our bed or on the couch. now she behaves, luckily, we managed to train her :) however, she still likes sleeping on the couch even though she has her own bed, she sheds hair (spring and autumn are the worst), so i am forced to vacuum daily at times. i also have to pay attention to keep each piece of clothing out of her reach. the same applies to food :) labs are gluttons. and of course, the lint roller is my best fiend for clothes. btw, the dog in the picture is so cute :)))
veronicaraye veronicaraye 9 years grandma has slip covers..
pargie pargie 9 years
I have twos cat..Norman, a one year old and the other Lula, a small kitten. I keep them from tearing things up by clipping their nails every other week or so. I have surefit slipcovers on the sofa and loveseat, because I can easily put them in the wash. What I really want to know do I keep them from eating my plants? Here is a photo:
allymaedesign allymaedesign 9 years
as our boxer gets older (and heavier), his stomping around must make our downstairs neighbor nutty. thankfully he only complained once (he had a plastic hanger on a wooden floor!) but hasn't since. brutus is shedding his first coat, and i admit it's a pain. but i vacuum as frequently as possible and have the lint roller on hand. he has his own little couch in our room (an old loveseat) so he usually chooses that space rather than the bed (unless he's feeling cuddly). i try to walk him often throughout the day, because like me, sitting in the apt all day makes me craaazy. walking him in the city makes his paws SUPER dirty. we keep doggie wipes on hand and try to wipe them clean as soon as he gets home. on the weekends, he runs around our either of our parents' backyards.
holysnap holysnap 9 years
Nice booty!
stefsprl stefsprl 9 years
We had lots of problems with our cats getting up on our kitchen counters as soon as they got big enough to jump up there. We put double-sided scotch tape in rows (with about two inches in between strips) across the counter, and it worked like a charm. It became an unpleasant experience for them, so they stopped doing it (cats associate discipline with the person, not the actual act itself -- essentially, they just learn to not do whatever they're doing when you're around rather than learning it's wrong). SDJackson, we have a kennel for our dog, too, and we actually think she likes it. We felt really mean until we realized that she actually goes in there on her own to take naps during the day, even if we're home. It's her safe place when something stresses her out, and it works out well for us, too! We have a "Litter Locker" for our cats' litter, too. It's kind of like the diaper genie that Daisie mentioned -- we just put the litter box "yuckiness" (for lack of a better term) in the top, turn a handle, and the odors get sealed off. When it gets full, we empty it out and put a new roll on. They're awesome if you don't have a lot of space and want to cut down on odors.
Community-Manager Community-Manager 9 years
Daisie Daisie 9 years
Kitty isn't allowed on the kitchen counters. It helps that they are too high for her to jump on, but if she ever jumps where she shouldn't, it's best to catch her in the act and say "NO" a few times while removing her. Clapping your hands and saying "no" loudly works now - she knows if that happens it is a no-no and to stop. As for furniture, you can try your hardest to put large clear double-sided tape on the corners, scratching posts up near the furniture or in front of where they would scratch and also the clap/no combo. I have heard that water spritzers work sometimes as well but I haven't tried that. As for keeping the couches clean, I have encouraged my kitty to prefer blankets to a bare couch. I have a lot of small twin size throw blankets as well as actual fleece baby blankets that I have taught her are hers. I wash them regularly (weekly) and remove them the instant I get notice that someone is stopping by. Keeping one of those sticky lint picker-uppers is handy too! Also, I hear that nail caps for kitty are useful. They allow the pet to claw whatever they like with no damage to the clawed item. They are attached with non-toxic glue over your kitty's claws and fall off when their claw does. Declawing is not right! It is painful and can cause many problems for your cat. There are many sites that list why you shouldn't declaw. I am a firm believer that if you can't deal with some scratches here or there and refuse t use an item such as SoftPaws or take the time to train your cat, then you shouldn't have a cat! Keeping the litter clean and fresh is merely a matter of cleaning it daily (or every other day if you're lazy like me and only have one kitty)! I am tempted to purchase a Diaper Genie or something similar to hold all the clumped litter from the week. It is a hassle to take the little bags down every day and I don't. After cleaning the litter, I mix in a tad of Mrs. Meyer's Pet Litter Freshner to keep it smelling fresh. You should also change the entire amount of litter and clean the entire litter box every few weeks!
MellyBChappyChap MellyBChappyChap 9 years
To keep my cat Napoleon content and entertained I put his scratching tower post by the big picture window. He sits on the top perch and watches the people in my apartment go by. Now, I hear people call up and say, "hi Napoleon!" and most times he'll meow back. Because of his supreme cuteness, I've already had someone in the complex say anytime my boyfriend and I go out of town, he'd love to cat-sit. I almost didn't put his post there because it's not best living room design but seeing how happy it makes Napoleon and my neighbors, I wouldn't put it anywhere else. *Oh, and he loves his post so much, he doesn't sleep anywhere else.
SDJackson SDJackson 9 years
When we first adopted our terrier, he would rain down havoc whenever we left him alone in the house--digging up carpet, tearing up clothes, dragging out the garbage. I was hesitant to kennel him because it seemed "cruel," but once my boyfriend convinced me to try it is actually worked out really well! It turns out that for some dogs, the smaller space makes them feel safer when they're alone. If you buy a kennel, make sure it's big enough for them to turn around in it, stand in it, and lay down in it. And I refused to put it outside...that seemed a little extreme for our tiny dog. Of course, that meant I had an ugly black cage in the corner of my living room, but I whipped up a couple of rectangles using a really nice upholstery fabric and attached them to each side of the kennel with ribbon. Then I added some pockets for dog toys. It was a super easy way to fuse my love for my dog with my love for clean carpet.
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