Q. We have had a wicker cat carrier in the garage for many years and now wish to use it for a kitten we plan to bring home in a few months. We are planning on cleaning it with dilute bleach. Would that be safe, or too dangerous for a young kitten?
A. Dear Ms. McGuire,
Safe, if you dilute the bleach enough. For general disinfection, the ASPCA recommends diluting a half cup of 5.25 percent bleach in almost one gallon of water. (The percentage bleach is printed on the product label.) Take a gallon con-tainer, put in the half cup of bleach, then fill the rest of the container with water. It’s a ratio of roughly one part bleach to 32 parts water. After washing, make sure to rinse the carrier thoroughly with water to get rid of any bleach residue and give it plenty of time to air dry.
Most important is not to let your new cat near an open bleach bottle or a dilute bleach solution in your mopping pail or elsewhere. Bleach poisonings are rare, but when they occur, they can cause excessive drooling in cats (shortly after ingestion) and redness and irritation on the skin around the mouth. Worse cases include vomiting and other symptoms.