This is my cat Quill. He’s the best cat ever. He comes running when you call him, he frolics through the grass like a puppy, and he catches gophers. The only problem: he sheds. I petted him a few minutes ago and am now covered with white hairs. So it goes.
The battle against cat hair is a slightly shameful one. If you’ve ever had to lint roll a guest to get cat’s hair off them, or if you’ve ever found cat hair in your mouth, you know what I’m talking about. Lately there’s been a slew of products on TV claiming to be specially designed for pet hair. I am curious but skeptical. It’s well known that cleaning companies take their usual products, change them slightly, and re-market them as specialty products in the hope of making some extra cash. So I’m not sure if these new pet-hair product work better than the usual methods–but I would love to hear of any that have surprised you.
In the meantime, here’s some things that help control cat’s hair:
* Brushing the Cat: That hair is going to come off one way or another so it might as well be on a brush instead of the furniture. Brushing the cat takes time and is annoying–especially if your cat doesn’t like being brushed–but it does help with the hair.
* Corner Comb: I haven’t tried this, but many groomers recommend a corner comb, a device that goes on your wall that the cat rubs against, like so:
It effectively combs them for you. I could see that corner getting pretty messy, however.
* Cat Bed. I bought each of my cats a bed and trained them to sleep there through a combination of catnip and encouragement. If they are sleeping on their own bed, they are not shedding on the furniture, and I can just wash the cat bed when it gets bad. This method works pretty well, although it’s hard to get them to sleep there all the time.
* Microfiber Glove. I was using one of those sticky lint rollers to pick up extra hair but then a friend gave me a red microfiber glove she got at the store:
It works better than the lint rollers, plus it’s reusable. In a pinch, packing tape wrapped around the hand or a wet rubber glove also works.
* Dryer Sheets. In the dryer, that is–I am not sure about rubbing dryer sheets on the cat. Some dryer sheets specially advertise getting pet hair off your clothes when you dry them, but it seems to me that all dryer sheets should work. The reason cat hair doesn’t come off your clothes when you wash them is static cling keeps the hairs, well, clinging. Dryer sheets are designed to reduce static cling, so they should remove cat hair. I haven’t used dryer sheets for a couple of years, but I’m thinking of starting up again because of this.
* Vacuum. Should you buy a special vacuum designed to remove cat hair? Consumer Reports says no. They tested 46 vacuums on pet hair and picked the two that worked best. They also happen to be good vacuums in general.
It’s the Kenmore Progressive model 35922, for $300. It rated excellent for both pet hair and overall cleaning.
Another option, the Eureka Boss Smart Vac Ultra model 4870 performed nearly as well for half the price, $150. Either one will pick up after your furry friend.
I guess there is no magic formula for taking care of cat hair. No matter how you slice it, it takes a lot of incremental cleaning to keep on top of it. But hey, they’re worth it.