One Cat Away from Being a Crazy Cat Lady

Posted on May 07, 2018

Kristen Hall Shirley

I never know who I will meet at the animal shelter.  

During my first visit I met Pretzel - a scrawny little cat with a broken tail, a heart murmur and an upper respiratory infection.  Pretzel was also unneutered.  And underweight.  And covered in scabs.  I was surprised when he confidently marched up to me and nuzzled against my leg.  I think everyone in the shelter was surprised when I declared him the perfect cat and asked for the adoption paperwork. 

Later that year I decided Pretzel needed a friend, so I returned to the shelter and met Ramsey.  The label on her cage had only 2 words: Lap Cat.  Like many cats, it turns out she is also a Laptop Cat, which means she enjoys laying on the computer and nudging my hands as I try to type.  During the past 3+ years, Ramsey has brought a lot of love into my life.  And also a few typos into my writing.

On one particularly memorable day in 2015, I attended a shelter event and met my husband.  No, that's not a typo.  I told you... I never know who I will meet at the animal shelter!   

David and I combined households and for the past 2 years we've lived with a total of 4 dogs and 4 cats.  As a wedding gift, one of my friends gave me a towel which reads "One Cat Away from Being a Crazy Cat Lady".  The gift was funny but not entirely accurate.  I'm aware that anyone who meets their spouse at the animal shelter, owns 8 pets, and proudly displays this towel is the very epitome of a Crazy Cat Lady.  

So I may be Crazy, but I believe it's possible to own a lot of pets while also maintaining a clean and odor-free home.  Here are the ways David and I make it happen:

1.  Vacuum -  

David and I bought a Roomba 614 Vacuuming Robot for Christmas a few years ago and we found that it works well but needs frequent maintenance.  There are a lot of specialized (and expensive) vacuums available but I have used the affordable Eureka AirSpeed since 2007.

2.  Hide your litterbox -

I display the Crazy Cat Lady towel but I draw the line at displaying a litterbox.  This tutorial shows how to keep your litterbox out of sight, and away from your dogs.  David and I ordered a console table from The Unfinished Furniture Shop and asked them to cut a small hole in the side of it.  The staff was accommodating and said we were not the first people to make this request.  Dogs stay out, litter stays in, cats come and go as they please.  

3.  Keep the litter fresh -

After a string of experiments, we determined that Up & Up Fragrance Free Clumping Cat Litter is the best.  In addition to being one of the cheapest options, it's easy to scoop and does not smell like chemicals.  Instead of perfume, this litter uses baking soda to trap odors.  We scoop daily, add an inch of fresh litter every 3 days, and change the entire litterbox about once a month.  Spray the litter with this product from Arm & Hammer if you need an extra boost of freshness.

4.  Use an enzymatic cleaner -

Enzymatic cleaners are non-toxic and biodegradable, which means they are the safest and most effective way to clean pet messes and odors.  Our favorite product is Bac-Out by Biokleen (we buy it by the gallon to qualify for free shipping).  You can learn about other popular pet-safe cleaning products here.

5.  Have a sense of humor -

Because you can't fully enjoy animals, marriage, or this blog without it.