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Clothes moth infestation and cats

Discussion in 'Grooming & General Cat Care' started by sophie1, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. sophie1

    sophie1 Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

    553
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    Aug 16, 2013
    I have a clothes moth infestation that I've been battling for months, and I think my cats are contributing!

    It started with a blanket that was infested while in a storage facility.   I put the blanket in the freezer for 3 weeks but apparently some eggs survived.  Since then, I've trapped the moths in every closet & corner of my apartment.  I had all my clothes in plastic bags at one point, laundered or dry cleaned everything I own made of cloth, turned over the rugs and made sure none are under furniture, took apart and vacuumed the couch at least five times, emptied out and washed closets, vacuum floors & rugs religiously...you name it.

    But new moth nests keep popping up.  One of them included my cats' toy basket.  I had no idea moths could infest a wicker basket sitting out in the open, but they can - I just now looked and found tons of eggs in there.   I guess they're living on bits of cat fur.  Then it hit me:  my cats have been spreading the eggs!  All the recent infested sites are places frequented by my cats.  I even found eggs in one of their brushes.

    Has anyone else had this problem and what have they done about it??   A friend suggested a flea/tick collar or treatment e.g. Advantage combined with chemically treating (using vet-kem) all the closets & under the couch, but I'm not sure a flea collar would kill moth eggs.   To do the chemical treatment, I'd have to lock the cats in the bedroom for a day, treat the rest of the apt minus kitchen, then go to work for the day, then reverse it the next day (cats out of bedroom, treat bedroom).  Then bathe the cats - boy that will go over well.

    Suggestions, benefit of others' experience etc are most welcome!
     

  2. Ms. Freya

    Ms. Freya Advisor Veteran

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    Sep 19, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    Honestly, I would hesitate to use flea and tick treatment for moths...most of those are pretty specific in what they're meant to kill and I don't know if the physiclogy of moth eggs is similar enough to be affected. [​IMG]

    If you haven't maybe contact a groomer in your area and see what they recommend. You may have to board the cats somewhere overnight, treat them while they're gone and then treat your house, but I'm not very familiar with clothes moths (they're really uncommon here) so hopefully someone will jump in who has experience getting rid of them.
     

  3. MoochNNoodles

    MoochNNoodles Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    30,032
    3,692
    Apr 30, 2005
    Where my cats are
    I'm not sure what you can do about these either.  This is something that might be worth calling in a professional and talking to them about your cats.  Your vet might have advice too.
     

  4. DeannaF

    DeannaF TCS Member Young Cat

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    Apr 12, 2017
    I had this problem in my bedroom and it was awful! The only way I could get rid of them was to tear up the carpet. One day, I literally got on my belly near where I saw them frequently and laid by that edge of the carpet where it meets the baseboard. I could literally see larvae crawling! They thrive on any kind of hair (they love pet fur!) and carpet fibers.
    Look everywhere and under everything even on books, ect. Even under the couch, behind the couch.. wash everything in very hot water. They lay their eggs and you'll see hanging casings. Make sure to remove and flush them! You can split one open and see if it's a fresh casing..you'll see a moving larvae inside. This is what happens before it becomes a moth. It's either clear or looks like a really right was of fiber/lint.
     

  5. sophie1

    sophie1 Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    158
    Aug 16, 2013
    Someone bumped this thread so I thought I'd post an update. I managed to clear the moth nests out without having to bathe or treat the cats. I ended up throwing away all their toys, except hard plastic ones, plus any item where I found evidence of moths. Oddly, the cat tree and favorite beds were not infested, I think because the moths avoid areas in constant use. As part of my pogrom, I bought a can of SLA spray, locked the cats in the bedroom for a few hours, and sprayed all the affected areas. It's harmless to pets & humans once it's dried, about 2 hours per manufacturer but I allowed 4 just to be safe. I'm aware that these sprays kill moths and larva but not eggs, so I followed this with a rubbing alcohol spray - supposedly that will get the eggs. Finally, I had the rugs cleaned and mothproofed, after calling around to find a company that could do this. Note that most rug cleaning methods will not kill the eggs and most companies will not take rugs that are known to be moth-infested.

    That still didn't solve the moth problem but at least it was contained to one area after that. I found nests on a hardwood floor under a couple of bookcases. Yes, on the floor! It's a complete misconception that textiles are needed for moths to thrive. They need only standard house dust and, of course, cat fur. Once I cleaned that up, the moths disappeared for a while, but then just recently came back in the same area. Despite a lot of searching there are no nests to be found. I think they're now living behind the baseboards and under the floor, so I got some diatomaceous earth to fill the cracks. That seems to have helped, so I guess the next step is to caulk and/or wood seal. Does anyone know if diatomaceous earth is dangerous to cats? I've limited it to places where cats or cat toys don't go.

    I will note that at some point I did call a professional, but that was completely useless. He just told me a bunch of stuff I already knew, and offered to spray bomb the apartment. He had absolutely nothing to offer when I told him about my suspicion that they're behind the walls.

    Deanna, did you get rid of them after tearing up the carpet?
     

  6. MoochNNoodles

    MoochNNoodles Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    30,032
    3,692
    Apr 30, 2005
    Where my cats are
    Thanks for the update! It sounds like such a pain to deal with!! I'm glad you got it under control!
     

  7. Coon mommy

    Coon mommy TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 27, 2018
    Our cats are allergic to moths and our house, also, was infested (thanks to an expensive wool rug that is now trash). We tossed or washed everything that might have moth eggs, vacuumed everywhere, but we also put out moth traps like these: (it will work well for clothes moths despite saying pantry), and . The natural, scented moth repellents do not work. I saw a moth go INTO a drawer with three scented “repellent” packs in it. This way, you can get rid of the ones you have, and prevent new ones from showing up.
     

  8. sophie1

    sophie1 Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Aug 16, 2013
    I am now (drum roll) MOTH FREE!!! For over 3 months! That is, I know they're behind the walls, but with the magical powers of spackle and plastic wood, they are contained therein.

    You do need to use clothes moth-specific traps, but you use them to find nesting sites not to stop moths. Moths will fly some distance so you will need to set out lots of them, then the one with the most moths will tell you where to look. Forget what you've been told about rugs & clothes - I found them on bare wood floors and even ON BOOKSHELVES and along the edges of a BOOK. Then seal up cracks in floors, under baseboards, around outlet covers, and along molding. Replace the traps, or if you don't mind moth counting, write the number of moths on each trap and see where the next collection is focused. Lather, rinse, repeat. And buy new traps every 3 months.

    On the down side, I now get to play with my cats more since their favorite moth-chasing game is now a thing of the past.
     

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