External parasite infestations aren't fun. If you've ever had a flea outbreak in your home, you know. Cat lice are about the same size as fleas, but they're rare and most prone to appearing in homes with poor sanitation. Getting lice off the furniture is one essential part of cleanup.
If your kitty has lice, your priority is to rain down destruction on the creepy crawlies and their eggs on her body. Get this process in motion before worrying about your furniture or other details. This puts an end to her itchiness and suffering, helping protect her from secondary injury and infections caused by scratching and other potential complications. Consult your vet about which product to use. He'll consider any individual health concerns or contraindications and recommend a flea-control product that's safe for cats and effective against feline lice. They come in sprays, shampoos, powders and other forms, and contain parasiticides like selamectin or fipronil.
Containing the spread of lice is important for putting an end to the infestation. Don't worry about you, the other humans roaming your home, or your dogs and other non-feline animal friends: Lice are host-specific -- cat lice only hop onto kitties. Check other cats for infestation and keep them away until you've completed treatments, removed lice from the furniture and finished your lice-control regimen. Cleaning the furniture and the rest of your home is necessary, since lice can survive for up to a week without a host.
Beds and Bedding
Beds and bedding are likely locales for hostless lice to hang out in wait. Lice eggs -- aka nits -- are likely to end up on bedding and accessories. Launder all the pillowcases, sheets, top sheets, blankets, comforters and other washable parts in your home. This goes for pet beds, blankets and other bedding objects and material, too. If your kitty spends time on any household beds or furniture, tend to them individually, washing every textile that can go in the machine. Pick up a few large plastic pillow storage bags and seal possibly affected pillows in them for 10 days to ensure death to all stages of lice.
Couches, chairs, ottomans and other soft-surfaced furniture require careful attention when you've had cat lice on the premises. Vacuum surfaces thoroughly, using a hose attachment to get into nooks, crannies, cracks and crevices. While you're at it, vacuum all your floors, too, including under and behind couches and other furniture. Bring the vacuum outside as soon as you're done to empty it. Deposit the vacuum bag or the loose dirt and gunk into a plastic bag, seal it tightly, and put it straight into your outside garbage can. Wipe down hard furniture surfaces with a disinfectant spray.
Cover all the ground your kitty roams when you're removing lice from furniture and the rest of your home. Vacuum and launder daily wherever your cat goes until you've completed her treatment regimen as per your vet's instructions. Wash your cat's toys, too; if she has a cat tree, use a small attachment to vacuum it thoroughly, including undersides. Seal small items that you can't vacuum or wash in plastic bags for 10 days.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Eric Mohrman has been a freelance writer since 2007, focusing on travel, food and lifestyle stories. His creative writing is also widely published. He lives in Orlando, Florida.