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Dealing with cat fur and urine (opinion)

Hi, my name is Duke. I am 5 years old and a good dog. I walk nicely on my leash. I do well with other dogs and I like to play with them, but I would like to meet yours before going home with you. I was surrendered because I kept escaping my yard, so I would be best on a runner when left outside. I need a patient owner who will spend time house training me, I would do better wearing belly bands. Please come visit Duke at The El Dorado County Animal Services, 530-573-7925. For Spay-Neuter services and other support, call the Lake Tahoe Humane Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at 530-542-2857.

Dear Hopeful Henry,

I love my cats, but sometimes all the cat hair all over my clothes is frustrating. Do you have any quick-fix suggestions for clean clothes that still have hair stuck to them?

— Amy

I totally understand. Even if you are a cat lover, you likely do not like all the hair that is left behind on your clothing. Fortunately, most cat hair that remains on your clothes after they are washed will come out in the dryer and end up in the lint trap. Just make sure you clean the lint trap before every use.

To help your washing machine do its job, make sure you don't overload the machine. I only fill my machine half-full (the equivalent of a medium load), then run the water level as a full load. This gives clothes room to move around during the wash cycle, making for cleaner, less hairy clothes.

If cat hair remains, there are additional steps you can take to remove hair from the clothing.

First there is the "dryer method." Tie an old pair of clean panty hose into a knot. This will prevent the panty hose from wrapping around your clothing. Toss your clean, hairy cloths with the panty hose into the clothes dryer. Clean out the dryer's lint trap and set the dryer to air fluff setting. Let the machine run for five to 10 minutes. The cat hair will attach to the nylon panty hose.

There is also the "tape method." Lay the clothing out on a flat surface, such as a table. Tear off a length of wide tape, such as masking tape or shipping tape. Make the length of the tape the width of the article of clothing you are cleaning. Press the tape to the clothing, lift and repeat. Move down the entire article. The tape will pick up the hair.

Dear Hopeful Henry,

How do I really get cat urine odor out? There are so many cleaners that promise to work and just don't — and they are always so expensive. There has to be a better way.

— Barb

Cat urine is one of the most pungent odors on earth. When your cat has an accident, the problem is more complicated than simply cleaning it up. The smell has a tendency to linger and can be very difficult to remove without the right materials.

First, I would avoid most all of the "urine remover" sprays and cleaners on the market. Most do not really work and, like you said, can be very costly. As frustrating as it may seem, getting rid of the odor that urine leaves behind is easier than one may think.

Here is a tried-and-true solution: Soak a clean cloth in hydrogen peroxide. Be sure to use the cheap, three-percent hydrogen peroxide you can purchase at the local grocery store, not the industrial type that hairdressers use. Wring out the cloth and place it directly on top of the affected area. Cover it in plastic wrap and place something on it to weigh it down, such as a phone book, to help speed the process along. Allow the cloth to sit on the area for at least half an hour. This will help to draw out any urine that is within the wood or carpet. Remove the cloth as it begins to change colors and replace it with a new one, checking it every 30 minutes to an hour. Continue to do this until no more urine comes out and the cloth stays clean. Dry the area with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel and sprinkle the area liberally with baking soda. Make sure that the entire area is completely covered. Allow the baking soda to sit on the area for at least an hour to absorb any lingering odors before wiping, sweeping or vacuuming it away. If you are cleaning wood, wipe the area with a clean cloth dipped in Murphy's Oil Soap to help further clean the wood and help restore the shine.

Please also remember that cats by nature are very clean. By keeping your a litter box clean and using unscented litter, it will keep your cats happy. If you notice a sudden change in your cat's litter box behavior, first contact your veterinarian to make sure there are no health issues causing this change.

Hopeful Henry is a column managed by Niki Congero, executive director of Lake Tahoe Humane Society & S.P.C.A. Submit questions or letters via e-mail to AskHenry@LakeT ahoeHumaneSociety.org or by mail to P.O. Box PET South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. For more information, visit http://www.Facebook.com/LakeTahoe HumaneSocietySPCA, http://www.Facebook.com/Hopeful.Henry or http://www.twitter.com/LtHumaneSociety.