Housecat: Some Assembly Required

My (and Athena’s) bedroom reached critical fur last week. I have mild dust and dander allergies, more dust than dander. I have to really clean everything at least once every three months, as well as dusting surfaces on a weekly basis. But I had not cleaned Under The Bed for a while. Then I had to fish something out and observed that the carpet had aged from light tan to dark grey.

Before you ask, Mom or I comb Athena daily, either with a cat comb or a FurMinator(TM). She has a Maine Coon’s double coat, short in front and long in back, and is starting the spring shed, when both coats get shed (dumped, unloaded, released, scattered, redistributed). She also gets scrubbed and de-dandered once a month, releasing even more hair. She doesn’t have much of a hairball problem, just a lot of fur. So, that unasked question answered . . .

I put the process off for as long as possibly, but the time had come. I got home from work, changed into grubbies, and started moving the bed. Then I put on a dust mask and ear protection (vacuum cleaner in a confined space – no fun). By this point Athena had departed for quieter climes and was probably cowering in her usual “the cat-eating monster is on the loose!!!!!” spot. I turned on the overhead light.

Yuck. Drifts of fur, a scrape mark where she’d had a “hanger on,” dust bunnies, and more fur covered the carpet. I started with the crevice tool to get into the corners, then took it off and just used the end of the hose attachment to clean the baseboard tops. Next I removed the hose attachment, reconnected the beater-bar, and vacuumed until the color stopped changing. At this point I could also smell the motor getting hot, so I stopped, moved the bed again, switched the attachments once more, and once things cooled down, used the carpet rake (aka upholstery tool) to get more fur out. I clogged the tool, had to remove it and use just the hose end to remove the fur, then start over. That happened, oh, four or five times.

That shade, spread across the surface, minus the sulking cat.

That shade, spread across the surface, minus the sulking cat.

When the carpet stopped changing color, I vacuumed the rest of the floor just because. Then I took the vacuum to the mud room, dusted the bedroom and the stuff from under the bed, put everything back in place, and got a fresh vac bag. I took off the ear protection, but left the dust mask in place.

After I changed the bag, which was starting to overflow, I discovered that I’d also over-filled the HEPA filter and ropes of fur wound around the beater bar, requiring me to sit on the floor and cut them loose before unwinding them from the beater bar. From start to finish it took me just under an hour to clean the floor beneath a twin bed.

Pretty much mirrors what Athena thought of the whole thing. And how much fur I cleaned up.

Pretty much mirrors what Athena thought of the whole thing. And how much fur I cleaned up.

Athena retaliated by leaving clumps of shed fur on the floor, the chair, a different part of the floor, and the bedspread.


4 thoughts on “Housecat: Some Assembly Required

    • Except, interestingly, cat fur doesn’t spin into decent yarn or thread. The hairs don’t “lock” like wool, rabbit, goat, or dog hair do. It will, however, make felt.

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