If Your Cat Could Talk: Kitty Cleaning Requests!

Have you ever heard that saying, ‘you don’t own a cat, a cat owns you’? While I’d like to think that’s not entirely the case, my cats wake me up each morning, scream for attention, demand to be petted in certain ways at certain times, control who can sit on which pieces of furniture and of course, require a lot of cleaning, tidying and household management, all for the pursuit of their own comfort and pleasure.  And if things aren’t ‘just so’, well…we find out about it.

National Cat Day is on October 29th, and to honor this, Malee and Paislee, have clearly communicated to me that they would like me to share the following tips with you on how humans should be taking care of their cats. So for all of you cat owners, lean in, because if cats could talk, here’s what they’d tell you, in plain English.

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Cat Request #1: Please, wash my food and water bowls after each meal.

I know a lot of messy people, but I know for sure that even the messiest of ladies and germs will not eat on a dirty dish.  Your cat happens to be extremely finicky about cleanliness and a dirty plate or bowl smells and makes food and water rather unappetizing.  ICYMI, a domestic cat has a sense of smell that’s 14 times stronger than a human’s, and average over 200 million olfactory receptors.  HELLO.  So aside from smelling rank, dirty dishware can also breed bacteria, which can make kitty sick and make your house smell too.  We put ours in the dishwasher or hand wash them before a meal is served.  Also, have you ever observed a cat eating?  They do not follow the rules of fine dining engagement and often spill food.  So, find a small placemat or shelf liner that can sit under the food and water bowl and will trap and contain the food and water spills.

Cat Request #2: I’d really like my toys to be cleaned.

Do you ever stop to think how gross your cat’s toys are?  I seriously do.  It’s nasty.  They schlep them around in their mouths, heaven knows where they have been tossed, hidden or trapped, and how old they are.  So to care for kitty’s toys, here’s what I recommend.  For rubber or plastic toys, soak in a bucket filled with equal parts hot water and vinegar, leave this for 20 minutes then rinse and dry each toy.  You can use a cloth if you like to wipe the toys while immersed.  For plush toys, place them in the washing machine and use scent-free detergent.  I’d recommend placing them in a delicates bag and using an extremely gentle cycle.  I haven’t seen many durable plush cat toys, so just be prepared for what may come.  Now, if the toy is stuffed with catnip, you do need to change these out every few months, since each time that toy gets wet it can add moisture to the catnip leading to mold or mildew.  Cat trees can be sprinkled with baking soda, vacuumed and wiped with a damp cloth.  If the carpeting needs some real TLC you can add a small squirt of dish soap to a bucket of warm water and use a scrub brush to clean the carpeted areas, pat dry with a clean cloth and continue to do this until the suds come out.

Cat Request #3: My bathroom should be fit for a queen (or king).

Oh don’t we know.  No one fancies a dirty bathroom.  When it comes to litter, consider the litter holy trinity: it should be good for cats, people and the environment.  We used crystals for a while, but because it wasn’t meeting the mark, we recently made the switch to Swheat Scoop, which I’ve talked about before.   Basically, it’s better for the environment because it’s 100% Biodegradable, clay-free and chemical-free.  It’s better for the kitties because it’s clay-free, you can research the perils of clay litter, and I also see them pawing around in it more than they did with crystals.  We like it more because it is easy to scoop and helps manage odours well.  It’s actually kind of cool, if you can say that about litter…the enzymes in the wheat react to the cat waste and eliminate the odours and also the fact that wheat is starchy causes it to clump well, which has made scooping a lot easier.  It’s made from non-food grade wheat, and even if you’re gluten-intolerant like me, you’ll still love this stuff.   Now a couple of litter issues to address really quick: as with all litters, it can fall out of the litter box so what we’ve done is placed a boot tray under the litterbox and stay on top of sweeping.  We scoop the box daily and change the litter weekly.    Finally, locate your litterbox far away from where your kitties eat, because they have such powerful sniffers, they don’t want to be anywhere near their bathroom when they’re about to chow down.  And frankly, neither would you.

Cat Request #4: I want to be groomed, like, all the time.

There are so many benefits to grooming your cat, it’s seriously not even a consideration to forgo it (unless kitty won’t allow it).  Now assuming the cat will let you do so, get your cat brush and get going!  First, grooming your cat is a part of keeping them, and you clean.  We just did a post all about how to care for pets and deal with pet hair, check it out!  Grooming greatly reduces hair flying around your house and in your food.  It helps the cats take better care of themselves by not having to ingest all of that hair (and later, coughing up hairballs which you’ll have to clean up). Grooming also allows you to do a body scan of your cat, so you can look and feel for anything that shouldn’t be there, like a cut, a sore spot, fleas or anything else that seems off, this is something I learned from a vet!  And finally, it’s a nice bonding experience.  And hearing your kitty purr, come on, that’s right up there beside chocolate cake and an unlimited, pre-paid credit card!

Cat Request #5: My bed should be as clean as yours.

Now of course, if your cat sleeps on your bed then good for you. My cats seem to think that my bed is actually theirs, which can make for some pretty awkward sleep positions.  However, if you do have a cat bed or blanket, it does need to be cleaned regularly to help reduce hair and eliminate odors.  So this is quite simple to do, check the fabric care label and wash according to instructions.  Generally, I recommend using a scent and dye free detergent and wash on a gentle cycle.  If they sleep on YOUR bed like mine do, well, just take care of your linens as your normally would, or perhaps a little more frequently and use a lint roller or some other hair-removal device to manage the layers of cat hair you might find after a night of kitty slumber.

So from me, Malee, Paislee, Chad and our friends at Swheat Scoop, we want to wish you a very happy National Cat Day.  Take good care of your kitties and they’ll be sure to control you for years to come.

Do you have a cat?  If so, tell me about him or her and share his or her name, breed, and quirks in the comment box below!  I could read about kitties for hours!  Feel free to tag me in a kitty photo too on Instagram!

A special thank you to Swheat Scoop for teaming up with us on this project and video!  We had a blast working with them, and have learned that they are truly caring, wonderful people behind a great product.  We also love their Swheat Shares program, and we’ll be doing a video at a cat shelter very soon in conjunction with this project!

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. Thanks for this guide on how to wash a cat bed, it’s great to know my cat beds will be around for longer. So far my best solution I got is to use baking soda, it’s effective I’m thankful that I don’t have to purchase a new one anytime soon.

  2. I actually have a question about washing bedding; my boy is almost 19 and he’s not as bright as he used to be! He often licks the bed or the blanket when he’s half asleep. Can I still use normal detergent or will this harm him? Thanks!

  3. Hi Melissa,

    Thanks for all this. I washed her blanket that she sleeps on and now it doesn’t smell like her, so she won’t go near it! I have rubbed it on the chair she sleeps on, too, to pick up her smells, but that didn’t work. Any suggestions?

  4. I just subscribed and I’m catching up on all your videos. Do you have any hints on getting rid of cat urine smells/stains? My cat’s favorite spot is in front of my son’s door so I can’t move the box. I’m constantly cleaning her box so that’s not the problem. Any suggestions to get her to stop?

  5. thank you for helping me out with cat litter. My teenage cat and my senior rescues and I are definitely going to try wheat litter and the other tips. Nellie and Grumpybutt say thank you

  6. Hello Melissa! First of all, thank you for all your great tips! I LOVE your blog!! I am owned by a furmily of twelve and anyone who come to my place always ask me the secret to have a pristine odor-free home with all my kitties. I answer them a daily cleaning routine IS the key. I’ve got 9 Litter boxes, which I scoop twice a day, I clean them once a week (I mean a REAL cleaning with chlorine bleach and got water) and I broom and wash my floor everyday. No odor and my cats, as well as my hubby and I, appreciate! 😀

  7. My cat called Joe is still young little kitty and he doesn’t realize that he has his very won toilet instead he uses my carpet! Thanks for the interesting advices! I hope that soon he will find his toilet!

  8. I have two female tabbies. There orange of course and they are like any other cat. Thanks for the tips they help so much. Your kitties are so cut e too. 🙂

  9. Great video! Thank you for paying attention to the happiness of cats 🙂 I’m a big fan of your natural DIY cleaning recommendations. I also blog about cats, home and design. Thank you Melissa for the wondrful videos 🙂

    • I had issues with that. For us, it was the dry winter air. A humidifier works the best but one of my cats started to get really bad dandruff too, so I found some cat conditioner/lotion on Amazon. She wasn’t a big fan of that. Another thing you can try, give your kitty a little more oil in their diet. I accidentally spilled some Honest Co baby oil and my cat had licked it up while I scrambled to get something to wipe it with, that said, she’ll do the same thing for olive oil. Just keep oil to a minimum.

  10. Love your videos, makes cleaning way less daunting 🙂 I recently got a new kitty, and in trying to potty train her, she decided to use my favourite recliner as her litter box every time I went to work 🙁 What would be the best way to clean the chair other than having to get rid of it? I’ve tried subbing g with laundry detergent and water, but the smell is still slightly there…

  11. Kitties can be a problem some time with home cleaning, but anyways, I find it fun to use the vacuum cleaner with my cat every time riding on it.


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