Whether you and your pet are moving together into a new apartment or if you’re just getting one now that you’re in a pet-friendly place, there are a few things you’ll need to know in order to share your space with your furry friend. Here are our favorite tips for making—and keeping—your apartment as comfortable as it should be for both of you!
Equip yourself for easy clean-up. The biggest giveaway that a pet shares your space is likely to be the pet hair that’s going to find its way onto every available surface … that is, if you don’t make it a part of your routine to keep it under control. Invest in a great vacuum cleaner, preferably one with an extension hose that you can use on furniture and draperies, because seriously, that stuff’s going to get everywhere. A Swiffer or other fast floor cleaner is a great investment for daily spiffing up of hard floor surfaces. You’ll also be amazed by how much pet hair you can sweep off of a carpet or couch by passing a rubber squeegee over it every now and then to grab up what your vacuum might miss or a sticky lint brush will also do the trick. Add a good enzyme cleaner to your cleaning kit because even the best-trained pet will have an occasional accident; and stains are far more easily eliminated when they’re not allowed to set.
Clean your cat’s box daily. The next biggest giveaway will be the smell, unless you stop it in its tracks. Can I be honest with you? If you have a cat and don’t take the time to clean the litter box every day, your friends know it every time they walk into your apartment. They might be too polite to mention the smell that you’ve probably gotten used to, but you can be assured that it’s there. Don’t be “that friend.” Make daily clean-up easy by making a cat box cleaning kit out of a bucket, a ready-supply of plastic grocery bags, a scoop, a whisk broom and dustpan and replacement litter. Simply put a bag into the bucket wastebasket style, scoop fresh waste from the box into the bucket, add a little fresh litter to the box to replace what you removed, sweep up loose litter from the surrounding area with the whisk broom and pan then dump it into the bag before tying it up nice and tight for a stroll to the dumpster. When you’re done, the whole kit goes back into the bucket for easy storage. Closed boxes with flap entrances are great for containing smells (and sights) between cleaning; and adding a litter mat outside of the entrance will help keep your cat from tracking loose litter throughout the house.
Commit to keeping your pet clean and healthy. If you’re choosing a pet specifically for apartment-dwelling, keep ease of care in mind. A short-haired pet is going to be much easier for you to keep groomed and bathed than a long-haired one; and a smaller pet will likely be much happier in a small space than a larger one. You’ll be amazed by how far a quality diet, regular bathing and good grooming will go when it comes to keeping you both happy together within your apartment’s walls.
Give your pet its own special places. Creating special, designated places for your pet to eat and sleep will help you keep your apartment clean and fresh. Apartment-dwelling pets are best fed on a schedule that will allow you to pick up food bowls when they’re done, rather than leaving them out to invite pests. Pet food bowls should be washed like people bowls, which not only helps keep your apartment clean, but will also keep your pet healthier. Note that water bowls are another story … while they should be washed regularly; they do need to remain full and accessible to your pet at all times. A pet bed will give your pet a special place to sleep and relax and make it less likely that they’ll spend all of their time fuzzing up (and smelling up) the furniture. A toy box or basket on the floor is a great way to keep things tidy while leaving toys accessible to your pet whenever they feel like it’s time to play; and you’ll have a handy place to quickly stow stray toys when you need to do a quick clean up before friends arrive.
Last, but not least, help your pet be a good neighbor. Your pet relies on you for loving care, but also to help it be a great neighbor to those who live alongside you. Your neighbors will have a great deal more respect for your relationship with your pet if they aren’t inconvenienced by it in any way. If you’re living with a habitual barker, for example, the responsible thing would be to invest the time and money in obedience training toward keeping the noise under control. Ditto for cleaning up after your pet. Many apartment communities offer pet waste stations with disposal bags and receptacles; and if yours doesn’t, bring a bag along on every walk so you’ll be prepared to leave the grass as foot-friendly as you found it.
Living with a pet is one of the great joys of life for many of us, and living in an apartment doesn’t have to mean sacrificing that loving opportunity. A little careful planning and consideration will make your apartment as happy a home for your pet as it is for you!