Cats Need a Clean, Green Living Environment
Many cat parents have concerns about how to keep their living environments safe for their felines. Well, ways of cleaning that are safer for humans are also safer for cats!
Franny Syufy, on About.com implores parents to take a look at the types of supplies they use to clean their homes: our homes are full of household cleaning supplies which can be harmful to our cats, things like chemical cleaners, disinfectants, and insect repellants. In an effort to protect our cats from exposure to toxic substances, while keeping our homes free from dirt and germs, the About Cats Forum members brainstormed and came up with a list of helpful “clean green” tips and ideas. We have discovered that there are a number of safe products we already have on hand that can be diverted toward safe cleaning.
Vinegar has a multitude of uses both inside and outside the home. Here are just a few:
- Windows: Mix 1/8 cup vinegar with a pint of water for a great window and glass cleaner. Use in a spray bottle and use newspapers to wipe and polish. For a particularly dirty window, add a tablespoon of dish detergent to the mix.
- Floors:Mix 1/2 cup of white vinegar in a gallon of warm water. Use to damp mop vinyl, ceramic tile, or laminate floors.
- Cat Urine Odor in Carpet: If necessary, use a black light to locate the stain. Use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar to water. Soak stain well, then blot with (recycled) paper towels or an old towel until all liquid is absorbed. Repeat if necessary.
- Stains on Clothing: Gently rub the stain with full-strength vinegar. Allow to site for a few minutes, then launder as usual. Helpful with fruit, jelly, mustard, coffee or tea stains.
- Clogged Kitchen and Bathroom Drains: Pour 1/2 to 1 cup baking soda into the drain, followed by one cup of hot vinegar. Let sit for several hours, then follow with very hot water. This tip is also useful as a monthly preventive maintenance, using 1/2 cup baking soda.
- Wood Cutting Boards: Spray or wipe with full-strength vinegar. (It also will remove any lingering onion odors.)
- Ant Control: Spray straight vinegar (or a 1:1 vinegar-water solution) around baseboards and other areas where ants enter the house.
- Weed Control: Spray full-strength on resistant weeds. This is particularly helpful if you have indoor-outdoor cats who venture outside occasionally to much on grass. Also use to kill grass and weeds in cracks in your driveway or sidewalk.
As a faithful devotee to vinegar, I wholeheartedly sing its praises as an alternative to chemical-laden cleaners! What I do is fill an industrial spray bottle up to the line with water, then add vinegar up to the top. This has replaced nearly all household cleaners in my house. For glass, I use a nontoxic corn-based window cleaner that performs beautifully. As my kitties frequently press their noses to the window, looking at birds, I cannot risk their exposure to harmful chemicals! I also use robotic vacuuming devices that eliminate the need for toxic floor cleaners.
Furthermore, it’s very important not to assume that “eco-friendly” = “safe to use around cats”. According to Green Little Cat: citrus oils are extremely toxic to cats. This was quite alarming since I used a bunch of eco-friendly cleaners that contained citrus oils.
Several essential oils commonly found in “natural” and “nontoxic” cleaners are highly toxic to cats, so research any such ingredient for safety prior to using in your home. Unfortunately, some such oils are actually included in products meant for direct contact with cats, such as pine oil in kitty litter! BUYER BEWARE! Also, be mindful of products your housecleaning service uses. Companies that promote their use of “eco-safe” cleaning solutions often have no idea what could be unsafe for cats. When in doubt, it’s always better to use plain water than chemicals.
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