How to clean a cat condo?
February 17, 2010 3:17 PM   Subscribe

How can I make a trashed cat condo safe for my cat?

On the way to work this morning I found a new-ish cat condo put with the garbage. Besides vacuuming, what can I clean it with so that my cat won't catch anything that its previous occupant had?

Its a normal three story cat condo that you would find in a pet store. Its carpeted along with some sisal rope legs and has no obvious stains or wear. Its an off-white color so I'm reluctant to bleach it but if that's the best best to nuke whatever is lurking on it, so be it!
posted by zcow to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
I would be concerned about two things: fleas, and feline infectious leukemia. After having to put down a cat with FeLV, the vet told me that the virus was viable for up to a month, and I should wait before getting another cat.

Fleas are probably a more realistic concern. I'd spray it or bomb it, which I'm sure will earn me a tongue-lashing here. There are other options (herbal remedies; diatomaceous earth) which in my experience are only about 75% effective.
posted by ErikaB at 3:22 PM on February 17, 2010

I'd be more concerned about bed bugs than anything else.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:40 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Vigorous hard brushing and a good going over with a vac nozzle and then actually look at the thing and see if the critters are still there. Maybe a run over the main resting areas with a carpet spot cleaner and then give it a couple days of venting outside, then let it rip.
posted by Freedomboy at 3:52 PM on February 17, 2010

There's got to be a darn good reason why the previous owner threw it away, it being new-ish and all. Would you be willing to recover it? (That is, re-cover it.)
posted by Knowyournuts at 3:54 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

steam clean. rent a good one.
posted by jbenben at 3:55 PM on February 17, 2010

Bear in mind that stuff like panleukopenia can last years, especially in hard to wash items. Is your cat appropriately vaccinated? Panleulopenia ("distemper") can kill really quickly. FIV, FeLV, etc, can also lurk, though nothing tends to live as long as panleuc.
posted by jeather at 4:04 PM on February 17, 2010

I second steam cleaning, if it's good enough for the carpets in a new house that humans move into....

Knowyournuts, I'd wonder why it was thrown out, too- except that as a cat owner myself, I have been stuck with any number of perfectly good purchases that were greeted with utter disdain and great YAWN.

Gorgeous puffy beds, multi-leveled structured fun climbers, padded sleepy caves.... all bought in vain.
posted by GuffProof at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2010

I would treat a really nice cat condo on the curb like I would treat a really good looking couch on the curb. I would run away. Bed bugs? Fleas? Bed bugs AND fleas? Oh hell no. To me, no free cat condo is worth it.
posted by crankylex at 5:02 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Ok -- I can think of a couple good reasons for throwing away a perfectly good condo. Namely, perhaps the cat died and the owner had no good use for it. Or the cat just hated it. Or one partner bought it for their cat(s) and the other completely hated how it looked in the house. Those things are hard to give away.

That being said, I'd be wary of many thing mentioned here, and also of ringworm (which is a pain to get rid of, trust me). Also, virii... i lost kittens to the calici virus, so that would be one concern. There are probably others as well.

To clean it however, I'd call my local SPCA or cat shelter and ask what they do with donated toys. You'd think they need to clean donations before subjecting their animals to them.
posted by cgg at 5:24 PM on February 17, 2010

Response by poster: It looks like I'm renting a steam cleaner!

My cat is fully up to date in terms of vaccinations and has never had any instance of illness besides the sniffles. So I'm not too worried in regards to her immune system being super susceptible to anything.

I like the idea about the SPCA, I know a few volunteers there and I'll give them a call as well.

Thanks for the help!
posted by zcow at 5:39 PM on February 17, 2010

If there's a chance there's even a miniscule bit of feces on it, beware of the possibility of roundworm or other worm eggs. Bleach apparently doesn't clean them. The steam cleaner might be good enough, but really really clean the thing. See my previous question about cleaning carpet (and throwing away a big expensive plush cat toy) after tracking wormy poop.
posted by amtho at 7:15 PM on February 17, 2010

« Older Recommend a vector-based EAN-13 barcode font   |   what happens if it's physical vs. fiscal Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.