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     The Woes of Cat Hair and How to Control It   

By Morgen Marshall (for-the-love-of-cats.com)

Cat hair gets everywhere. In the bedding, on the screens, deep in the carpet, and of course, on clothes. While the hair is not an allergen, the danderand allergens stick to it so we sneeze. As an owner of two beautiful long-hair cats, I'm inundated with cat hair.

I end up covered with cat hair as soon as I get out of the shower, and even when I'm cooking. It can be a real mess! So, how do I keep it down, and what makes things worse?

Spray a light mist of water over the floor, then, sweep up the hair with a broom and dust pan and put it in the trash. After that, damp mop, don't use a dry dust mop. They will catch a little of the hair, then start pushing the hair around. It will be so full of hair, you'll have to toss it. Those dust mop heads stir up more hair than they pick up. Using a damp paper towel over a sponge mop is much better.

First of all, never, ever stir up the hair. A damp towel on the end of a broom helps take it off the walls, picture frames and moulding. A damp sponge helps remove it from furniture and clothes.

Rugs are a completely different story. Put a light mist of water over the carpet, then rub a damp sponge mop over the carpet. Then, use the best vacuum you can find. Go over the rug or carpet several times. You will need to change bags at least once, if it's a bag model. Put a filter over the air return so that you don't end up putting cat hair back into the air.

Once you have the hair picked up and off the furniture, rugs and walls, treat everything with an anti-static spray or wipe it down with a dryer sheet. This makes the next round of cat hair easier to remove. You can make your own dryer sheet by using a washcloth, liquid softener and a dryer. Use just enough of the softener liquid to lightly dampen the washcloth and dry it before use.

Clothing can be taped, wiped down and laundered. I've tried several of those little balls you throw into the washer and dryer to collect the hair and had little results. The best way I've found to remove the hair is to damp sponge items before throwing them in the washer and picking off the hair balls that show up after the dryer. I keep the lint filter cleaned and clean it out midway through the drying cycle. Always tell your dry cleaner about the cat hair. They can remove the hair and treat your clothes to make hair removal easier the next time.

Some items need special care. A sewing machine should have a cover. When cat hair gets in the inner workings and combines with the oils present for lubrication, the machine stops working or burns up the motor. Stereo and video equipment should be wiped down daily. A computer will draw the hair inside because of the cooling fan. Use canned air to clean it weekly. This will greatly prolong the life of your computer. Televisions collect hair in the back workings and need to be blown out weekly. Wall and space heaters should be cleaned before use to prevent fires. Area and room fans need to be kept clean. The work better that way. Clean the blades regularly and keep all grills free of hair.

You can deal with the cat hair at the source. Run damp hands along your cat and remove a lot of loose hair that way. You can also use a rubber brush.

I recently got a memory foam pad for my bed, and the cats love it. They act like it's catnip! There is a chemical odor to the foam that draws the cats. Because it's foam, it grabs the hair from the cats. You can try wood combs, plastic combs and rubber brushes. A trick I learned a long time ago was to spray hairspray on a comb and then spray it again. The sticky surface grabs hair. Try this on your favorite brush.

You can try supplements to the cats diet, including oils and vitamins that decrease shedding. Of course, you can wash your cat with a gentle shampoo.

If your cat gets a mat in her fur, use a sewing tool! Get a sharp seam ripper with a ball on the point. Work from the outer-most parts of the mat in, and loosen small sections at a time. If the mat is free and small, you can cut it off, but be prepared for more mats in that location as the hair grows in. Comb the area regularly.

If the mat is bad enough to pull the skin, it really needs to be removed. Large mats can be made easier to handle by cutting the outer parts off and then work with the seam ripper closer to the skin. If the mats are exceptionally large or pulling on several parts of the skin, the cat needs to see a groomer to have the mats removed. My persian cat, Squeaky, first showed up with mats on both sides, his belly and back. I had him groomed, and they shaved him into a lion cut. He was much happier.

Regular grooming is your best defense against cat hair. It will reduce the hair coming from the cat and make the cleaning up much easier.

Yes, cat hair is a pain -- a pain I'm willing to live with.

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