Living in a Small Space with Pets

Cat playing

Tips for keeping a pet-friendly home clean and odor-free

As small-space living becomes more common in cities across Kenya, we look at the challenges of owning a pet when you do not have outdoor space/garden.

It is possible to have pets without having your home look or smell like it’s housing animals as long as you take care to groom your pets efficiently and clean up after them effectively.

  1.  Give them a spot that is theirs alone – whether it’s the corner of your living room, or balcony ,a basket, cat tree, box or big cushion. This will help keep them off your furniture. You can clean/wash that area once a week to keep everything fresh, plus that will keep your friends’ clothes pet hair free when they come over.
  2. Wash the bedding at least once a month otherwise odors and fleas collect there.
  3. Litter Box  – place the box in a space that is used primarily for that purpose only, preferably near a window that can be left cracked to filter out odors.  Make sure to clean it regularly. Alternatively a covered cat litter box will help reduce unpleasant odors, and will minimize messy fallout from digging and burying action.
  4. Change the litter box often. Cats will not use a dirty litter box. If you have one cat, you need to scoop the litter daily, and if you have two, then it needs to be done twice if they share a box. If you notice an odor, then scoop. If the odor lingers, it’s time to change the litter and clean the box.
  5. Invest in a good vacuum cleaner – does not have to be expensive, just good. Pet fur everywhere is inevitable, but you can get rid of this easily with the right type of vacuum.
  6. Get the right fabric for your couch.  If you allow your pet on the furniture, you’re going to have fur — and quite possibly vomit and other bodily specimens — on there too. Some fabrics are simply going to be easier to clean and may even disguise the dirt and fur when you fall behind on cleaning.  Consider a leather or microfiber couch or a thick weave fabric, avoid silk which stains easily and is difficult to clean or velvet, which is a pet-hair magnet.
  7. Spot-clean messes as soon as they happen, using cloth or a paper towel to get the bulk of the solids or liquids up. Then use a washcloth and detergent to wipe clean and to dilute the offending material with liberal amounts of water.
  8. A healthy pet is a happy, non-smelly pet. Speak to your vet about a high quality diet for your pet’s size, weight, breed and age. You’d be shocked at what a high-quality diet can do for their skin, coat and digestive system.
  9. Make sure you are up-to-date with all vaccinations and flea treatments if you own a cat or dog, and keep them well-groomed.
  10. Schedule daily playtime for cats and walks for dogs at least twice a day. Destructive habits such as excessive barking, scratching, chewing and aggression in your pet are usually signs of frustration and boredom.


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