We have 9 cats. They make a lot of cleaning for me; I'd say at least 50% of my cleaning is cat-related (hair, puke, poop, and pee). However, I wouldn't trade them for the world!
To minimize bowl cleaning, and yes, I know this is not "green": I buy small styrofoam bowls in bulk, and trash them every day (I do 2 feedings. If any are bit dirty, I rinse them out before re-filling them). I have 3 large water bowls that are ceramic. I place a plastic boot tray under both sets of dishes, which keeps spills and kibble off the floor; I wash the trays at least every few days. Since someone likes to play with the water, and gets it all over the kitchen, I place a folded disposible bed pad (incontinence pads) on the boot tray. I buy these in bulk on eBay--a case of 200 (wonder what the seller thinks about DH and I????
). I also use a few on the living room area rug--Hobbes will not go into the garage to do #1 in the litter (but poops there); our compromise, and to save the rug, is to put these down, and change when he wets (I hide them when we have company!).
Food: We feed Purina dry food, the mid-range stuff (cheap stuff makes Jasmine's fur fall out); their coats are BEAUTIFUL and shiny. I feed them 9 Lives canned food. Honestly, they don't really like the high-end food, and they are all doing very well with what I give them. We get a 20lb or so bag of dry every week, and I go through at least 2 cans of canned each day.
Litter: They like Cat's Pride litter. We buy a huge bag every week--about $4.50-$5.00 at WalMart. I empty it into one of those plastic, flip-top pet food containers (as with the dry food in the kitchen). I sometimes get lazy, and buy the Cat's Pride "Kat Kits"--pre-filled, disposable little trays. I keep these mainly for when I'm in a rush, but see someone's really messed in a litter box. Often, when I have time, like on the weekends, I scrub out those trays, and re-fill them. Not always. They are about $2.50 in stores, shop around--I've seen them as much as nearly $5! For everyday boxes, I buy WalMart's litter trays, about $3.97 each. Sturdy, cats like 'em, and cheap. Mine won't use those hooded boxes, and I find that fancy boxes don't work any better, and just have more parts to clean. I have about 15 of these; I line them with plastic shopping bags, then insert the box into a heavy-duty, drawstring Hefty bag. (The shopping bags help keep wet litter off the box surface, making washing easier.) I'm very lucky in that we have a garage, not used for cars, that's attached to the laundry room. We installed a cat door, and have the litter in the garage. This is sooo nice! We also installed a laundry sink; and we re-purposed an old bathroom vanity, by screwing plywood to the top. It's by the sink, the drawers hold litter supplies (the boxes fit in the door part), and I have a flat surface to wash and prep the boxes on! At least once a day, the boxes get scooped. At least once a week, I empty, wash them out with hot water and soap, and re-fill. I also sweep and mop this floor oncea week. I even put down mats, so their little paws don't have to touch the cold floor!
Bedding: They like the Rubbermaid/Sterlite shallow plastic storage bins. I fold up fleece throws I bought cheaply, and put in the boxes, and they LOVE them. Once a week, I remove them, wash in hot water to kill any fleas, etc., and replace with others. Recently, I got rid of a king-size bed comforter. I quartered it, hemmed the edges, and used the pads in the boxes. I can wash them easily. The boxes reside next to the heater vent--toasty warm! When I fostered, I bought comforters at yard sales, and trashed them after each set of foster cats, in order not to pass on disease.
Medical care: We take them to a retired vet, who has vaccination clinics at the pet store. At least we can save on the shots. Flea meds: eBay--Frontline, in bulk. You just have to measure it out yourself; easy. If I take 2 or more to the vet, & they get the same things done, we get a tiny discount. Sometimes, when we get a new cat, and take them in, they give us a jug of cat food, and rebate forms to get xxx-$ off a vet visit. I also scarf up the free cat food samples there (I always leave some for others, of course)!
Love: Oh, they get LOTS of this! I really think it keeps them healthy, too. I have 3 FeLV+ cats, who look so healthy, and are so happy. Sometimes, I must admit, it gets to be a bit overwhelming for me (someone always needs attention, and they are not shy about clawing their way to it). I try to relax, and take the time to cuddle--I know how lucky I am to have these cats. Often, I have at least 3 on my lap, or laying on me in bed. I was home on vacation the past 2 weeks, & I felt like a stay-at-home mom, with all of the naughty kids getting into trouble! (My guys are active!). I had to break up fights, soothe boo-boos (Loki again); give hugs and kisses, and yell at bad cats. I try to give them equal amounts of attention, and more to those going through a rough day. I take turns holding them, if possible. BJ gets his hug and his song sung to him at least once a day. (I'm not making this up, I swear!)