Small Spaces, Big Plans: Living With Pets - Keeping House
Living With Pets - Keeping House (1 of 2)
Continuing with a series of posts 'Small Spaces, Big Plans,' I present to you - Living with Pets & Keeping House (a two-part post)!
One of the biggest challenges that pet-lovers face in small homes or apartments is living with (or without) their animals. I, for one, can not imagine not having animals and operate under the assumption that some allowances have to be made to accommodate them in my home.
This post is designed to help small area dwelling animal-lovers keep their fuzzy loved ones happy and nearby, wherever you happen to be.
Perhaps the biggest concern with any small space, is keeping it clean and organized. This concern is only amplified with the addition of a pet, or pets. Whether you're a cat person, dog lover, or into feathers, scales, or fins, there's a certain amount of upkeep to having a pet in your home.
Though our avian, reptilian, or aquatic friends do require some maintenance, they are relatively self-contained. Meaning them no disrespect, (especially as I have a Ball Python of my own at home), I am going to direct this post more toward the furry variety of household pets.
The biggest concern many people have with keeping furry loved ones nearby is the exact reason we love them so much: they're fluffy! This means animal hair. Everywhere. Some days I feel like I'm waging my own private war against it. However, there is good news! Keeping your space relatively furless is easier than you may think.
Consider these tips and tricks:
1) Start at the source: The first thing you should consider is how you care for your animals themselves. In general, the happier and healthier your animals are, the fewer problems you'll see in terms of shedding, hairballs, and other associated health problems that only make more of a mess for you. Vitamin deficiencies and other health issues are fairly easy to diagnose, and anyone who's ever had to clean up after animals regularly can tell when something in their diet just isn't working... ick.
- Diet: The easiest way to control and maintain the health and wellness of our pets is to be mindful of what they're eating, and ensure that they're drinking enough water. (My cats love their fountain!) Healthy coats that smell fresh, bright, clear eyes, low dander, and strong teeth and nails, are all indications of an animal's overall health. Of course, regular bathroom practices are also a good sign that all is well. Keep your fuzzy ones well-fed and hydrated and the results will speak for themselves.
- Exercise: Activity is important to anyone or anything that lives in confined quarters, and our pets are no exception. Regular activity keeps most major health problems at bay and can help with those pesky behavioral problems too. Most animals develop destructive tendencies if they aren't getting enough interaction or activity from their people. So go on, go play!
- Grooming: Regular grooming practices seems like a no-brainer, especially in the war on pet-hair. Most pets love a good bath and brush if they are accustomed to the practice (please note: it is neither necessary nor wise to bathe cats regularly except in extreme circumstances). Try to get into the habit of maintaining your pet's coat and claws to prevent dirt and fur build-up in the home, and to protect your floors and furniture from scratches too!
- Space: Who doesn't like having their own room? It is particularly important in small living quarters to make sure that your pet(s) have a place they can go that is all their own. Try to set up a small area that's out of the way of normal traffic, where they can escape and sleep, play, or just relax and watch the goings-on.
2. Maintaining Your Home
Many of us are no strangers to the sight of furry tumbleweeds wandering around the house. 'How to Remove Pet Hair Everywhere' has a ton of great information on how to manage and prevent fur build-up. Other resources, including ApartmentTherapy.com cite simple ways to keep your home fresh.
Some highlights include:
- Invest in a good vacuum and make it a routine. Many machines have pet-hair attachments or are specifically made to reduce the fur and allergens that pets bring to a home. Try to vacuum thoroughly 1-2x a week, depending on the size of your space. In between vacuum days, you can touch-up the place with the use of a handheld vacuum, static dry mop, or even a Roomba!
- Another important area of cleanliness in your home is the litter box. It is vital to keep up with your cat-box, not only for the cleanliness of your home, but for the health of your kitties. (Remember, you should have a separate litter box for each cat, in ideal circumstances.) Use a good litter, and keep it scooped and fresh. Don't keep the litter box anywhere near food (human or pet). It's also important to note that pregnant women shouldn't handle litter box chores. There are a lot of creative hide-away cat box furniture options. With a little help from a nearby air-purifier, your space won't show any signs (or smells) of containing a cat box.
Feel like I left something out? Or have you already figured out the perfect system for maintaining your home with pets? Let me know in the comments!
Living In A Small Space With Pets
Best Modern Litter Boxes
How to Remove Pet Hair Everywhere
Vacuums for Pet Owners