Home » Blog » How to Clean Your Home After Fostering a Cat with Feline Distemper

A black and white cat staring into the camera.

It’s an undeniable fact that there are several shelter or rescue cats in need of a home. However, shelters do not have enough workforce most of the time, which exposes rescues to sickness like Feline Distemper.

This is where fostering comes in to help. Simply put, fostering saves animals’ lives. It means keeping them healthy and giving them a home before they find their forever fur parents. 

You can also protect them from several health issues, like parasitic worms. They can also learn social skills and basic manners from your household, which will make them more appealing to prospective adopters.

As mentioned earlier, shelters have several responsibilities on their hands, making it difficult for them to monitor and care for each pet. Such circumstances may lead to health issues among rescue cats, such as Feline Panleukopenia or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), for example. 

What Is Feline Distemper?

A kitten sitting on a bed.

Feline Panleukopenia or Feline Distemper is highly contagious. It is a viral disease caused by the Feline Parvovirus. 

Like its canine counterpart, the Feline Parvovirus is highly challenging to deal with. Despite this difficulty, you can prevent it from devastating your home. Your household will undoubtedly be distemper-free with the proper cleaning methods!

1. Put On Protective Gear

Protective gear is laid out on a flat surface.

Since you are dealing with a contaminated area, you have to prevent yourself from being exposed to the contamination. This is why you should put on protective gear.

Acquire protective coverall, a face mask, a pair of disposable rubber gloves, and disposable footwear. Always wash your hands before leaving the contaminated area. Leave your footwear behind as well to avoid exposing the uncontaminated spaces in the house.

2. Clean The Area

A person in protective gear cleaning a contaminated surface.

Cleaning reduces the number of pathogens in a particular space. It prepares the area for disinfection, which aims to eradicate pathogens in the vicinity.

Here’s a friendly reminder: cleaning and disinfecting are not the same. One precedes the other, and the latter finishes the job of the former.

To start, scrub everything down using a regular household cleaner. The cleaner should contain quaternary ammonium compounds (QUATs) like dodecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride or benzalkonium chloride. We recommend KennelSol as a cleaner.

3. Disinfect The Area

Two people in protective gear disinfecting an area.

Now that you’ve cleaned the area, disinfect everything from surfaces to objects. Use a diluted bleach mixture (1:30 ratio of bleach and water, respectively) for this part of the process.

You can never be too careful, so do not miss any spots. Disinfect the cat trees, windows, and nooks and crannies of the foster space. 

To avoid messy spills, try using bleach tablets instead. It’s a relatively safer alternative to liquid bleach. 

Moreover, if your foster space has carpeted floors, you can use a carpet steamer with bleach. Remember to scrub all the sides of the carpet, especially the bottom part.

4. Sanitize Non-Porous Surfaces

A person with gloves is spraying on a cloth.

Soak non-porous objects in bleach for ten to fifteen minutes — namely concrete floors, litter boxes, stainless steel grooming tools, and food bowls. Afterward, rinse them thoroughly with water and air-dry them.

5. Throw Out Porous Items

A trash bag lying outside a white door.

Everything that cats with distemper owned or interacted with should be treated as if they’re contaminated as well. You should discard opened medicine and food bags.

Plastic food bowls, toys, feeding tubes, litter pans, and cardboard or wood scratchers may also be home to the distemper virus, so they should be discarded as well. They cannot be treated with bleach because it will ruin the material and be counterproductive.

Instead, throw them in a plastic bag and make sure they’re closed tightly. Triple-bag these items and dispose of them in the outdoor trash can.

6. Disinfect Or Discard Protective Gear

Protective equipment in a white background.

Wash your hands after cleaning and disinfecting the foster area. If possible, disinfect the protective gear you used, such as the clothing and footwear, with diluted bleach. 

Soak your shoes’ bottom area in the diluted bleach mixture for approximately ten minutes. Rinse them with water afterward. You should wash the clothes you wore with bleach as well. 

If disinfecting is not possible, then dispose of them. Triple-bag them like how you dealt with the infected cats’ items and dump them in the outdoor trash bin. 


The Feline Distemper virus is very challenging to deal with, especially since they can stay indoors for up to a year. That’s 12 months long, and in those months, you may foster new cats. If you do not clean and disinfect your home after fostering cats with distemper, other pets may get infected from it.

Fostering is difficult and may be emotionally taxing due to some inevitable losses. However, numerous animals are still in need of your help. Consider reaching out to Doobert to know more about foster programs.