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9 Life-Changing Things To Mask The Presence Of Pets In Your Home

I got 99 problems but dander ain't one.

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Hi, I live in a 900-square-foot apartment and these are my four roommates:

Emmy Favilla

Meet Benny the (maybe Maine coon mix?) cat, Tico the pit bull mix, and Margaret and Melba the (who knows what kind of) rabbits.

They each brighten up my life in a special way, but the joy of a pet comes with some strings attached: namely, excess fur all over the damn place, and the odors that dogs, cats, and rabbits are naturally wont to emit — from that distinct "dog smell" to, well, poop. (Hey, it's a small price to pay for unconditional love and unlimited fodder for Instagram.) Luckily I've found a few seriously game-changing products to effectively mask the mess that the four furry companions who share my smallish space can create.

1. The Furminator (for cats and dogs AND small animals), a de-shedding tool that will leave you both shocked and disgusted at how much fur your pet is capable of shedding without going completely bald.

Emmy Favilla

Yes, this photo — the result of roughly 20 seconds of brushing — is gross, but holy crud look at all that hair!! Okay, so I used the "dog" version on my cat and it worked just as well (and since he has long, dark hair, it also makes for a better visual so you can see just how efficient this thing is). If you have rabbits, who tend to have sensitive skin, however, you should probably use the Furminator specially designed for small animals.

If this isn't convincing enough, how about these 10,000+ Amazon reviews, eh?

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Emmy Favilla

Disposing of the ungodly amounts fur you may comb off is super easy: You just press the little button at the top and all the hair comes off in one big piece. The tool is also available in an array of sizes, as well as in options for both long- and short-haired pets.

Get the Furminator for dogs from Amazon for $14.25+ (available in sizes extra-small, small, medium, large, and giant, as well as for long and short hair); the Furminator for cats from Amazon for $17.28+ (available in sizes small and large, as well as for long and short hair); and the Furminator for small animals from Amazon for $29.97.

2. The Pet House Candle, a nontoxic, all-natural, soy-based candle that will legit will make your home smell like a blissful spa.

Emmy Favilla

The first time I used this candle, I forgot that I'd lit it, and when I walked back into my bedroom where it was burning, I literally said out loud, to myself, "Oh my god." It smelled that good. It doesn't take long after lighting for the fragrance to start permeating the air and replacing any funky animal smells (or any other smells, for that matter) killin' your vibe, *and* the calming scent of lavender lingers in my bedroom for an hour or two after I blow it out. This candle has reset the bar for all candles going forward, tbh.

Get it from Amazon for $21.95 (available in 15 scents).

3. A trusty ol' lint roller that's extra sticky and extra awesome at picking up hair from literally everything you wear and own.

amazon.com, Emmy Favilla

The label on this guy boldly proclaims "Our stickiest tape EVER!" and man, they ain't lying. Like any stereotypical New Yorker, my closet consists primarily of black and dark gray clothing. (I wore a brown-and-blue dress one day this week, and my regular Starbucks barista, with whom I typically share very few words aside from my drink order and a thank-you, actually said to me, "Oh, wow, you're wearing color.")

Add to this the fact that I live with a white-haired dog who sheds at an alarming rate, and you've got the makings of a person who looks like she's been snowed on every day before leaving the house if he so much as leans against my leg (which he does a lot, because he's so adorable and such a good boy and oh my god he's the best dog in the world). Anyway, yeah, this thing works really well, and for $10.67, you get a roller and two refills, which is enough to last me several months.

Get the roller and two refills from Amazon for $10.67 and additional refill tape from Jet for $3.95 each.

Emmy Favilla

The face of a dog who a) doesn't care that this lap is going to be covered in layer of white hair in T minus two minutes, and b) is going to try his damnedest to convince you that yes, 50-pound dogs can be lap dogs too and don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise.

4. An all-natural, nontoxic, concentrated all-purpose cleaner that'll last you until the apocalypse.

Emmy Favilla

It's important to me to use a natural cleaning solution for all the various cleaning projects I take on throughout the week that involve my fuzzy lil' buds.

I'm especially concerned about my rabbits, notoriously sensitive creatures in every way imaginable. They use a litter box (yes, rabbits can be litter-trained! The So Phresh High Back Small Animal Litter Pan is a great choice, btw), which I line with newspaper then add a layer of Sunseed Fresh World Bedding to. I usually dump their litter every other day, and in between give this a quick spray. I also use it for cleaning up any ~accidents~ they may have in their pen (whose floor is make of this ridiculously easy to clean material), as well as for 90% of other cleaning jobs in my home.

The Shaklee Basic H2 Organic Super Cleaning Concentrate is a damn miracle worker, and I've been using it for nearly a decade. For everyday cleaning jobs, you just need to add a few drops to 16 ounces of water, so unless you're cleaning your home 24 hours a day, seven days a week — which, color me impressed, but also maybe seek professional help? — this bottle should last you through the year and beyond. It contains enough to make 48 gallons (!) of cleaning solution.

Get it from Amazon for $24.86.

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5. This quiet Electrolux vacuum with near-magic capabilities, for ridding every corner, crevice, and piece of furniture of pet hair (and also hay and litter and food).

Emmy Favilla

I have only two requirements for a vacuum: It has to 1) work really, really, well, and 2) not make rock-concert-level-decibel noise as it's working really, really well. I just like quiet vacuums, because I'm old and loud noises make me nervous, and also I live in an apartment building and don't want to disturb my neighbors if I'm vacuuming at wee hours. Plus, I don't want to freak out my pets. (Sorry to be a Debbie downer, but...did you know that rabbits can literally DIE of fright?! 😭 So yeah.)

Disclaimer: As a testament to how amazing this vacuum is, I've had it for six years and it still works like new. In fact, I've had it for so long that it is no longer available as the model I own — the newer model looks a bit different than the one pictured above, but still has all the same features, just in a ~new and improved~ package.

At $299, it's not cheap, but given its quality and how long this bad boy been chugging along with zero issues, it's absolutely worth the investment if you're in the market for a new vacuum, imho.

Here's a before, during, and after of this vacuum doin' its thing on a gross spot on my daybed where my cat loves to sleep (and thus deposit obscene amounts of fur).

Emmy Favilla

Sometimes I'll take the head of the vacuum off and just use the nozzle for turbo efficiency on fabric, upholstery, and furniture, as pictured above. (It actually came with two attachments, for non-floor cleaning, that I either lost or misplaced in my apartment somewhere — oops — so I just use this hack and it works perfectly.)

Get it from Amazon for $299.

6. A urine stain and odor eliminator that works on carpets, upholstery, mattresses, pet beds, and more — because sometimes your pets can be real (lovable) jerks.

Emmy Favilla

Thankfully I haven't had to deal much with pee-happy pets, but the week I brought Tico home from the shelter, he had a little moving-in accident on my lime-green couch, and then a few months later, a non-moving-in accident on my comforter. The Rug Doctor Platinum Professional Urine Eliminator removed the stain and odor both times like it was NBD. It's not too heavily scented, and if you use it according to the instructions, you too will soon have a pee-free couch, or bed, or whatever it is that your pet has chosen to mark as their territory.

Note that you really need to follow the directions and allow up to 24 hours of drying time for this to work well (though both times it's taken less for me): You'll need to blot the wet spot as much as you can, then spray it, then put a damp towel down and let it dry naturally.

Get it from Amazon for $6.49 or Walmart for $5.94.

7. A covered litter box plus litter mat combo, which traps odor as well as excess litter, hair, and even (because it happens) poop.

Emmy Favilla, amazon.com

Benny loves to have a party in the litter box every time he jumps in there, flinging litter — and along with it, his poo — every which way. (Sometimes, I'm not sure he's even going to the bathroom??) So a covered litter box was a non-negotiable. A mat placed just outside the litter box, as you can see, also helps with catching any litter or whatever else my cat decides to toss outside the confines of his cozy plastic box.

I've been using these two items in tandem pretty much since I adopted him 10 years ago, and I replace the litter box (which is under $10!!) every few years, when it stars to get grimy from use. To keep things extra fresh, I swap in new air filters at the top of the box the recommended every three months.

Get the litter box from Amazon for $8.49, the litter mat from Amazon for $9.49, and the air filters (available in packs of one, two, three, and six) from Amazon starting at $4.48.

8. And a litter deodorizer spray for use in between full litter-box cleanings.

Emmy Favilla

I dump out all of the kitty litter in the box every month or so, but in between, I poop- and pee-scoop every or every other day and then give it a few sprays of this Arm & Hammer cat litter deodorizer, which kinda smells like baby powder and isn't overpowering. I can attest to the fact that this stuff really helps to neutralize any lingering odor! (Also, a 16-ounce bottle lasts me nearly a year.)

Get it from Jet for $5.81.

9. An air purifier, to reduce the amount of pet dander and dust — and other icky things like mold and pollen — in the air.

jet.com, Emmy Favilla

I am beyond lucky to not suffer from any sort of pet allergy, which has been great for cultivating my personal brand of Crazy Woman With Many Animals in an NYC Apartment™. My mother, however, who has no such luck and is both asthmatic and allergic to most furry creatures, swears that the Honeywell True HEPA Air Purifier has made living with her cat much more bearable. She bought me this air purifier as a moving-in gift and I use it regularly to make my home more bearable for her and other allergy-prone guests when they comes over — and, you know, to generally have clean air circulating in my home. (Also, I recently discovered that my poor little pup has both dust and mold allergies, so this works double-duty for him as well!)

Get it from Jet for $149 or from Amazon for $151.16.

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