Worms – internal parasites – are common in cats. They’re usually picked up when your pet roams outdoors. While a worm infestation is easy to resolve with proper treatment, the effects can be very unpleasant. Cats with worms tend to develop irritation of their sensitive hindquarters, which they may then drag on the floor.
They’re also likely to experience episodes of vomiting and diarrhoea, which can cause even litter-trained cats to miss the box. Cleaning up effectively when your cat has worms can be difficult, as the lingering odours and unpleasant stains can be hard to get rid of.
My cat has worms. How do I clean my house? Use newspapers or paper towels to clean up waste. Rinse the soiled area with hot water and detergent. Scrub away as much of the soiling as you can, blotting with towels. Use an enzymatic cleaner to remove stains and odours.
You’ve landed on this page because you have questions about worm infestations and how to clean your home when your cat is sick.
How do I clean up after my cat? What products should I use? How do I get smells and stains out of my furnishings? What can make the unpleasant odour go away? Why didn’t disinfectant work? How do cats get worms? How can I prevent future attacks?
Keep reading, because we have the answers you’re looking for. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about kitty clean-ups and how to cope with worm infestations.
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My Cat Has Worms. How Do I Clean My House?
While most internal parasites are not serious for a healthy cat, they do need to be treated promptly. Getting your cat de-wormed is vital to avoid further bouts of soiling. Cats with worms often have vomiting bouts or bouts of diarrhoea, creating more mess for you to clean up.
If your cat is dealing with any kind of stomach issue, it can be helpful to corral her in the bathroom as much as you can until she’s recovered. This gives her a quieter environment and lets you clean up more effectively.
Dealing with pet waste is always unpleasant, and during a worm infestation it can get a lot nastier. Grab your rubber gloves, some plastic bags and a ready supply of old newspapers and paper towels. Kitchen paper is better than bathroom paper for this job, as it’s less likely to disintegrate and shed fibres.
First, remove as much of the waste as you can with the paper towels. This is the really unpleasant part. If the waste is very watery or loose, it can help to scrape it up with the edge of a dustpan.
Read Also: How long does cat urine odor last?
What you do next will depend on the surface that you’re cleaning. If you’re not simply cleaning a tiled floor or waterproof floor covering, heck the care instructions for the item or surface before taking any action.
In most cases you’ll need to go to work on the soiled area with detergent and hot water. With a hard surface this is fairly easy, but rugs, carpets and furniture can be harder to clean.
If you have carpet-cleaning fluid, now is a good time to grab it; remember that high concentrations may change the colour of fabrics and carpets, however, and follow the directions very carefully. If carpet cleaner isn’t available, just use a plain detergent. Scrub repeatedly, blotting up the foam with the paper towels and scrubbing again. Rinse away the detergent as much as you can with more warm water.
Furniture cushions and their covers can often be removed and washed separately. Once you’ve cleaned up the initial mess, consider laundering your cushions and covers. Sometimes it’s a good idea to have this done professionally.
Even with the addition of disinfectant, nasty smells can still hang around. This is because the smell isn’t caused by bacteria. While disinfectant can kill germs, it can only mask the odour temporarily. It can be disheartening to scrub the same area again and again, only to be greeted with the same unpleasant odour every time you go back into the room.
The answer is an enzymatic cleaner. These use enzymes to break down the hard-to-remove chemical compounds that produce the bad smell. It may take more than one application, but your home should still be smelling great again soon.
Clean and disinfect areas where the cat may have walked or sat. You can use disinfectant wipes for this. It’s possible for a cat to spread worms to other pets, including you, so be thorough.
What Are the Symptoms of Worms?
Most cases of worms in cats are caused by parasitic nematodes. There are multiple types of worms that can infest cats, with various symptoms. Here are some of the most common.
It’s a common assumption that you’ll know if your cat has worms, as they’ll be visible in the stool. This is only true in very advanced cases of parasitism, however. Often the first signs that your cat has a problem can be changed in litter-box behaviour and energy levels.
As we’ve already seen, a cat with worms can suffer from loose stools and vomiting. Other signs include lethargy and exhaustion, with previously lively cats slowing down and wanting to stay in one place most of the time. Cats with severe cases of worms may want to take themselves off somewhere secluded, such as a quiet corner or even a cupboard, where they’ll huddle up and rest.
In some cases, you might notice that your cat develops a swollen abdomen. This is sometimes mistaken for pregnancy in female cats. In fact, it’s due to the presence of the parasites.
Your cat’s coat can begin to look stiff and dry, losing its normal healthy appearance. The skin beneath can also become dry and inelastic.
How Did My Cat Get Worms?
Cats can pick up worms in all sorts of ways. As an advocate for indoor lifestyles for cats, I have to point out that indoor-outdoor cats are at a much higher risk of worms. Even so, the risk to indoor cats never quite drops to zero. There are plenty of ways that your indoor cat could pick up worms without your knowing. Even my British Shorthair, a lifelong indoor kitty, has had worms from time to time.
Worms can be transmitted in a number of ways. Common vectors include insects such as fleas, which are all too easy to introduce to your home. A very common way for a cat to develop worms is through eating another animal, such as a mouse, that’s carrying the parasite. This is one of the main ways in which an indoor cat can get infected. Cats can also catch worms from each other, especially if they share a litter-box. If one pet is infected, it’s very likely that another will be too.
Unfortunately, the presence of worms in your home can result in worm infestations for the other residence. That includes humans. I recommend always wearing gloves when you clean the litter-box, and not walking barefoot in the house. Regular and scrupulous hand-washing is also important.
How did Do I Deal with Worms?
When you think your cat might have worms, it’s a good idea to take her to the vet. Your pet should be receiving yearly check-ups, with additional visits if there are symptoms of ill-health.
When your cat has worms, it can be tempting to head to the pet store and pick up a packet of de-wormer off the shelf. It’s the same medicine that the vet would give her, right? In fact, the de-wormers you get at the pet shop are often not as effective as the medicine you would get from a vet.
Some store-bought de-wormers don’t even have any active ingredients. I strenuously avoid things that claim to be a homeopathic or “herbal” treatment for my British Shorthair. In my experience, these products are ineffective against internal parasites. In some cases, they may contain herbs or other substances that aren’t good for your cat.
When I see symptoms of worms in my cats, I give my vet surgery a call and see what they say. The medicine they sell is a bit more expensive, but it’s better than watching a sick cat suffer.