Finding out your cat has worms can be worrying. You likely have lots of questions about how to get rid of the worms in your cat, and also how to clean your house to prevent reinfection and spread of worms. Properly cleaning your home after a worm infestation is crucial.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to clean your house if your cat has worms. You’ll learn:
- The most common types of worms in cats
- How to clean your cat’s living areas
- How to sanitize soft surfaces like carpets and fabrics
- How to disinfect hard surfaces in your home
- How often you need to repeat cleaning
- Tips to prevent reinfection
Follow these steps, and you’ll be able to eliminate worm eggs and larvae in your home environment. With consistent cleaning and prevention, you can break the worm lifecycle and keep your cat worm-free.
Common Cat Worms That Infect the Home
There are four main types of intestinal worms that infect cats and spread in the home:
The most common worm in cats is roundworms. Kittens usually get infected from their mother’s milk. Roundworm eggs live in the soil and can be picked up on your cat’s paws or fur. They are microscopic and invisible to the eye.
Hookworms attach themselves to the intestinal lining and suck blood. Like roundworms, hookworm larvae can spread through soil. Cats get infected by ingesting larvae, often during grooming.
Tapeworms live in the small intestines. Cats get infected by swallowing infected fleas during grooming. Tapeworm segments containing eggs detach and are passed in the stool.
Whipworms are not as common as other worms but can infect cats. Their eggs are passed in the stool and can survive in soil for years.
All these worms produce microscopic eggs that are passed in your cat’s feces. These eggs contaminate the environment and spread the infestation. Thorough cleaning is required to destroy eggs and prevent worms from completing their lifecycle.
How to Clean Your Cat’s Living Areas
Your cat’s main living areas will be most contaminated with worms. Start by giving these places a deep clean:
- Litter boxes
- Bedding and cat beds
- Food and water bowls
- Cat towers, scratching posts, and toys
Clean the Litter Box
Litter boxes contain a concentration of your cat’s feces and urine, and therefore a concentration of worm eggs. Follow these steps:
- Remove all litter and solid waste from the box daily
- Wash the litter box weekly with soap and hot water, scrubbing thoroughly
- Rinse and dry completely before refilling with fresh litter
Disinfecting the litter box with bleach or other products can help kill worm eggs. But avoid harsh chemicals, as the odors may deter your cat from using the box.
Use scoopable litter and scoop out waste every 1-2 days. This will remove worm eggs before they accumulate and infect the environment.
Wash Bedding, Beds, and Fabrics
Wash any cat fabrics weekly:
- Cat beds
- Furniture covers
Use hot water and laundry detergent. The heat from the water and soap will destroy worm eggs and remove contamination. Replace the cat’s bedding with clean linens.
If possible, periodically wash fabrics in a sanitizing cycle or use a pet disinfectant. This provides extra decontamination against hardy worm eggs.
Your cat’s food and water bowls can harbor microbes and worm eggs. Follow these tips:
- Wash food and water bowls in hot, soapy water daily
- Periodically disinfect bowls by soaking in diluted bleach for 5 minutes
- Rinse thoroughly and allow to fully dry before refilling
- Replace plastic bowls monthly, as scratches can harbor bacteria
Feed your cat in one designated area. This concentrates the contamination to a smaller space that’s easier to disinfect.
Clean Toys, Posts, and Furniture
Wash your cat’s items weekly:
- soft toys in the washing machine
- plastic toys with soap and hot water
- cat towers, posts, and shelves with pet-safe cleanser
Discard any worn or damaged cat items, as these are harder to fully disinfect. Wipe down floors under furniture to remove hair, dander, and eggs.
Vacuum fabric surfaces like cat trees at least weekly. The suction will remove eggs trapped in the fibers before they can spread.
How to Sanitize Soft Surfaces
Carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture harbor microscopic worm eggs. Follow these steps to sanitize soft furnishings:
Use your vacuum’s hose attachment to thoroughly vacuum all soft surfaces. Vacuum slowly and in all directions to remove debris deep in the fibers.
Dispose of the vacuum bag or contents after each use to prevent eggs from accumulating in the container.
Shampoo and Steam Clean
Deep clean carpets and rugs every 2-4 weeks. Use an upright carpet cleaner or steam machine to wash the fibers. The heat and detergent destroys organisms and removes dirt.
Focus on high traffic areas and anywhere your cat sleeps. Pretreat stains to lift residue before shampooing. Allow carpets to fully dry before allowing your cat back on.
Spray with Enzyme Cleaner
Enzyme cleaners like Nature’s Miracle contain natural bacteria that attack organic matter like feces and urine. Per the instructions, lightly spray on soft surfaces and allow to fully dry.
Repeat weekly between shampooing carpets. This provides an extra disinfecting boost to kill lingering eggs.
If your cat has an accident on furniture, thoroughly clean and disinfect the area. Use an enzymatic pet odor neutralizer.
If stains or odors persist, it may be time to replace furniture. Worm eggs deeply embedded in scratched furniture are almost impossible to fully remove.
How to Disinfect Hard Surfaces
Disinfecting hard, non-porous surfaces is important to kill worm eggs lingering in your home. Here are some tips:
- Sweep and mop tile, vinyl, and sealed hardwood floors weekly
- Use a pet-safe disinfectant or diluted bleach solution
- Get into corners and baseboards where eggs collect
- Allow floors to fully dry before letting pets back in room
Counters and Tables
- Clear surfaces of clutter weekly to clean
- Wash with soapy hot water
- Disinfect with pet disinfecting wipes
- Pay close attention to dining tables and cat play areas
Doorknobs and Cabinets
- Wipe down doorknobs with disinfecting wipes
- Spot clean cabinets weekly
- Use pet disinfectant spray on any scratched surfaces
Take time to thoroughly clean areas where your cat spends the most time. The kitchen, mud room, and laundry room also warrant extra attention.
How Often to Clean When Disinfecting for Worms
Here is a summary of how often to clean items in your home when dealing with a cat worm problem:
- Scoop litter daily, wash boxes weekly
- Wash bedding and fabrics weekly
- Clean food bowls daily, disinfect weekly
- Wash toys weekly
- Vacuum soft surfaces daily
- Shampoo carpets every 2-4 weeks
- Disinfect floors weekly
- Spot clean counters, cabinets, and doors weekly
You need to be diligent about cleaning while your cat is being treated for worms. Continue these cleaning practices for 2-3 weeks after your vet confirms your cat is worm-free.
This ensures you break the reinfection cycle and eliminate any eggs that could survive and reintroduce worms.
Tips to Prevent Worm Reinfection
Cleaning is only half the battle. Here are some tips to keep worms away after disinfecting your home:
- Have any other pets checked and treated
- Keep cats indoors and supervise time outdoors
- Scoop litter daily and replace monthly
- Wash hands after handling litter
- Bathe and groom cats regularly
- Treat yard for parasites
- Follow vet advise on deworming schedule
Stop worms at the source by using monthly heartworm and parasite prevention medication. Ask your vet about prescription options safe for cats.
Be proactive by scheduling annual fecal tests to catch any new worm infections right away. This allows early treatment before worms spread in your home.
A cat worm infestation requires diligent cleaning and disinfecting to eliminate microscopic eggs hiding around your home. Focus on cleaning your cat’s items like the litter box, bedding, and toys. Also thoroughly vacuum and shampoo carpets, floors, and furniture your cat touches.
Consistency is key – continue thorough cleaning for 2-3 weeks after deworming treatment ends. This breaks the reinfection cycle so your cat stays worm-free. Also have any other pets checked and treated.
Stop worms at the source with monthly prevention medicine. Schedule regular vet visits to catch any new worm infections through fecal tests. Follow these tips, and you can successfully sanitize your home and keep worms away after an infestation.