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posted: 1/16/2014 10:57 AM

Consider you feline before purchasing cleaning products

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  • Chachi, a domestic, gray, tabby, is about 8 years old, very sweet and loves people.

    Chachi, a domestic, gray, tabby, is about 8 years old, very sweet and loves people.
    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

  • Sutton is a domestic Torbie, who is front-paw declawed. She is a petite 8-year-old, who loves attention.

    Sutton is a domestic Torbie, who is front-paw declawed. She is a petite 8-year-old, who loves attention.
    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

By Mary Hayashi

Do you consider your feline's continued good health when you are choosing household cleaning products? Perhaps you should.

Many cleaning products contain toxins and chemicals your feline can ingest through its respirator system or by grooming.

Think of the multitude of surfaces your feline's feet touch within your home. If you have a normal curious cat, that means just about everywhere. Just think of the areas he eats, naps and plays. Unless you close off a room, that is probably every room in the house, including the bedroom.

Exposure to chemicals over time can cause health problems such as allergies, metabolic disorders and cancer, that is if your pet does not have an immediate toxic reaction.

Lets face it, our felines love to be clean and are always grooming. They also like to find the cleanest place in the home. Perhaps you just cleaned the kitchen floor and in walks your feline before it is dry. Now your pet is acquiring your cleaning product on its paws. Next, the paws go in the mouth and on the fur. A potential for disaster or, at minimum, a trip to the veterinarian.

Look for "green" cleaning products that have all natural ingredients and are enzyme-based. Most pet supply stores and health stores carry animal-safe cleaners. The outcry for environmentally safe cleaners has been so great even "big box" stores carry a limited supply.

You can make your own window and floor cleaner using distilled white vinegar and water. A safe window cleaner is important because just where are our feline friends always sitting? Yes, it is with their nose pressed up to the window you just cleaned for their pleasure.

I would like to share with you a few of the animal-friendly products I have tried with good results. The old standby is Simple Green. This product can even be found at most hardware stores.

Mrs. Meyer's has a range of natural cleaners and freshening sprays. My favorite is Clean Day freshening spray, which is aromatherapeutic with calming oils. A little spray freshens their bedding instantly.

Clorox anywhere and natural Green Works by Clorox have a nice, clean scent and are safe. Perfect Planet hardwood and laminate cleaner from Weiman also has a clean scent and cleans evenly.

For cleaning carpet and upholstery, Arm and Hammer Pet Hair Vac-away actually does what it claims to do. Spraying before vacuuming allows you to pick up more hair, and the clean smell lasts for hours after you vacuum.

Oreck Vacuum shops also offer a pet deodorizer that assists in the vacuuming process. Their deodorizer vacuums up much more efficiently than Arm and Hammer, but is a bit more costly. The aroma is clean and fresh and, for me, worth the extra cost.

Another handy product to have when you have animals is Oreck's dry mist spray. It clears the air of any unwanted scent in a second.

Another more permanent solution is New Wave Crystal products. This product is especially effective because you smell and see it working. The crystals evaporate quickly and effectively, unlike those wax deodorant products that take forever to evaporate and do their job. A jar of Wave Crystals is a must in proximity to the litter box. These crystals are also available to put in your vacuum.

If you are worried abut floor cleaning products, invest in a good quality steam mop that uses the hot water temperature to sanitize. I found an Oreck steam mop that you can use on floors and vertically on walls and windows. The product is chemical free.

Toxic-free cleaning products will save you worry and money over the long haul. You will enjoy your pet's company more because he will have continued good health. As such, you will spend less money on veterinary bills by keeping toxins out of your home.

• Contact the Buddy Foundation, 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights, at (847) 813-7206 or visit