can bed bugs live in cat litter

Can Bed Bugs Live in Cat Litter: The Shocking Answer and What to Do About It

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The thought of finding bed bugs crawling around in your cat’s litter box is enough to make any pet owner’s skin crawl. As unpleasant as it sounds, the question remains – Can Bed Bugs Live in Cat Litter and other types of cat litter?

Let’s dive into the details of whether bed bugs can inhabit litter boxes long-term and what you can do to eliminate them.

Do Bed Bugs Take Up Residence in Cat Litter?

Bed bugs are sneaky little pests, so it’s understandable to be suspicious of them hiding out in your cat’s litter. However, the truth is that bed bugs cannot actually live, feed, or breed within cat litter for an extended period.

Here’s why:

  • Bed bugs feed on blood. Cat litter cannot sustain bed bugs for the long haul since it does not contain any blood. Bed bugs need access to human or animal blood meals frequently to survive.
  • Litter lacks harborage spaces. Clumping and non-clumping litters do not provide the tiny cracks, crevices, and protected spaces that bed bugs need to establish nesting spots.
  • No food source. Cat litter itself contains no food source. Bed bugs rely on sources of blood, not cat feces or urine, to provide their nutrition.

So while bed bugs won’t take up long-term residence inside cat litter boxes, they can still temporarily crawl inside to hide. Next, let’s look at why they might do this and if they pose any risks.

Bed Bug FactDescription
Size4-5 mm long, about size of apple seed
AppearanceOval, flat, brownish insects. Wingless.
Feed onHuman and animal blood
BitesCause itchy welts on skin
Lifespan4-12 months
ReproductionFemale lays 200-500 eggs in lifetime
Preferred HabitatsCracks near sleeping areas and furniture
Bed Bug Facts
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Can Bed Bugs Live in Cat Litter: The Shocking Answer and What to Do About It. Image Credit: Canva

Why You Could Find Bed Bugs in Cat Litter Temporarily

Since bed bugs can’t truly live in cat litter, you may be wondering why you might spot them in there occasionally. Here are some reasons bed bugs could find their way into litter boxes:

Hiding and Traveling

  • Bed bugs are expert hitchhikers. They crawl into any dark, secluded space to hide, including litter boxes.
  • Their flat bodies allow them to squeeze into tiny cracks and crevices. Litter provides small spaces to crawl into.
  • Bed bugs may get tracked into the litter box accidentally on shoes or clothing.
  • Pets could carry bed bugs into the litter after wandering into an infested area.

Close Proximity to Food Source

  • Litter boxes are often kept in bedrooms or other areas where humans sleep. This allows bed bugs easy access.
  • Hiding in the litter box puts bed bugs in closer proximity to their human hosts.
  • Litter boxes provide a temporary refuge until the bed bugs’ next blood meal.

Seeking Cool, Damp Locations

  • Cat litter provides a cool, damp environment that bed bugs may find attractive as temporary relief from heat.
  • Absorbent litters like clumping clay give bed bugs moisture to prevent dehydration.

While brief visits to cat litter won’t sustain bed bugs long-term, it can still put your cat and home at risk in multiple ways if an infestation exists.

Dangers of Bed Bugs Crawling in Cat Litter

Having bed bugs conceal themselves in your cat’s litter carries some problematic consequences:

  • Spreading the infestation – Bed bugs hiding in the litter box can escape and spread to new areas of your home.
  • Biting cats and dogs – Unlike fleas, bed bugs feed on human blood. But they can bite pets if no humans are accessible.
  • Laying eggs – Female bed bugs may lay eggs in cat litter. When these hatch, the young bed bugs will search for a meal.
  • Health risks to pets – Aside from bites, bed bugs can transmit disease organisms and parasites to cats and dogs.
  • Treatment resistance – Litter makes it harder to locate and kill all bed bugs, allowing survivors to reproduce.

Clearly, allowing bed bugs to inhabit cat litter boxes poses problems. So what can you do to get rid of them or stop them from entering in the first place?

Live bed bugsSmall, flat, brownish bugs crawling in litter
Molted skinsLight brown, shed exoskeletons of bed bugs
Blood spotsDark red spots on litter from crushed bed bugs
EggsTiny white eggs, about size of a pinhead
Musty sweet odorScent produced by bed bug infestations
Signs of Bed Bugs in Litter Box

Eliminating Bed Bugs in Cat Litter Boxes

If you suspect bed bugs have crept into your cat’s litter, taking action is important. Here are some tips to destroy bed bugs and keep them out of the litter box:

  • Clean litter frequently – Completely change out soiled litter 2-3 times per week or more to disrupt bed bug activity.
  • Use diatomaceous earth – This abrasive powder is safe for pets but kills bed bugs on contact by absorbing their oils. Lightly sprinkle on litter.
  • Apply pesticides – Use bed bug sprays and dusts labeled for use around litter boxes. Focus on cracks and corners where litter box meets floor.
  • Replace litter – Toss out old litter completely to take away bed bugs’ hiding spots. Use new litter each time.
  • Inspect thoroughly – Check under litter liner and in box crevices for living or dead bed bugs, tiny white eggs, or dark molted skins.
  • Isolate pets – Keep cats and dogs out of any rooms treated for bed bugs until products have dried.

With vigilance and the right products, you can kill bed bugs taking shelter in the litter and stop new ones from getting access. But when should you call in the professionals?

TreatmentSafety Tips
Diatomaceous earthAvoid breathing in dust. Wear a mask when sprinkling. Use food-grade only.
Pesticide spraysRead labels carefully. Open windows and use in well-ventilated area. Keep pets away until dry.
Pesticide dustsUse sparingly. Avoid inhaling powders. Ensure cats don’t ingest while grooming.
DIY Bed Bug Treatment Safety

Calling for Professional Bed Bug Extermination

Do-it-yourself bed bug removal from litter boxes may not always do the trick. Consider bringing in professional pest control if:

  • You still see bed bugs in the litter after multiple deep cleanings and treatments.
  • The infestation has spread across multiple rooms.
  • You live in an apartment building, as bed bugs can easily spread between units.

Licensed exterminators have access to potent insecticides not available to consumers, as well as techniques like fumigation and heat treatments. They can target bed bugs hiding in crevices and fully eliminate infestations.

If you rent your home, your landlord may cover the costs of bed bug removal, so check first before paying for treatment. Make sure to inspect professional treatments afterwards to ensure all bed bugs and eggs have been killed in the litter box.

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Can Bed Bugs Live in Cat Litter: The Shocking Answer and What to Do About It. Image Credit: Canva

The Key Takeaway on Bed Bugs in Litter Boxes

While the thought of bed bugs sneaking into cat litter is unpleasant, the main point to remember is that they cannot live there permanently. Treating and cleaning litter boxes regularly keeps them free of bed bugs. Always check for signs of infestation so bed bugs don’t multiply and spread via cat litter.

With some diligence, you can protect your feline friend’s litter box from these pesky insects. Stop bed bugs from infiltrating your cat’s toilet area before they become established and difficult to eliminate. Your cat will thank you!

Specific Bugs in Cat Litter

While bed bugs only temporarily take shelter in cat litter, other bugs can breed and thrive in cat litter if conditions allow. Here is more about the most common cat litter box insects and how to tackle them:

Fruit Flies

Tiny fruit flies are attracted to moist, organic litter. Their eggs can be laid directly in the litter and the larvae feed on feces and urine.

Prevention: Remove wet clumps promptly. Clean the box frequently with soap and water to destroy eggs.

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnat larvae thrive in damp litter high in organic matter. Adults lay eggs in litter and the larvae feed on feces, fungi and decaying litter.

Prevention: Use low-tracking litter and completely change out litter 2-3 times per week.


Fly maggots hatch from eggs laid directly inside litter boxes. The larvae feed on cat feces before transforming into adult flies.

Prevention: Remove all feces at least daily. Use litter deodorizers. Wash the box weekly.


Tapeworm segments can detach and land in litter after being passed from infected cats. The segments contain eggs that become infectious to cats if accidentally ingested.

Prevention: Treat cats for tapeworms. Change litter frequently to remove segments.

Litter Beetles

These beetles infest litter with high organic contents. Larvae hatch from eggs laid in litter and feed on fecal matter, while adults eat litter and breed.

Prevention: Use low-tracking litter. Disinfect box weekly. Replace litter often.


Silverfish feed on the organic matter, fungi and bacteria that grow in damp, soiled litter. They lay eggs directly in litter.

Prevention: Dry out litter by changing it more frequently. Reduce moisture.

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Can Bed Bugs Live in Cat Litter: The Shocking Answer and What to Do About It. Image Credit: Canva

Tips for Preventing Bugs in Cat Litter

To help avoid infestations of bed bugs, flies, beetles and other pests, here are some proactive litter box hygiene practices to follow:

  • Scoop solid wastes out of litter at least once daily, if not more.
  • Remove wet clumps promptly to lower moisture.
  • Replace litter 2-3 times per week or when visibly soiled. Toss litter in covered trash.
  • Every 1-2 weeks, empty litter box and fully wash with soap and hot water to destroy bug eggs.
  • Allow litter box to dry completely before refilling with fresh litter to prevent dampness.
  • Use lower tracking litter like crystals, pellets or pine to reduce scattered pieces in home.
  • For covered boxes, remove hood and wash interior & exterior surfaces when cleaning.
  • Vacuum around litter box regularly to pick up stray pieces that attract bugs.
  • Consider using litter deodorizers and disinfectants to deter pests.
  • Check for signs of insects like flies, eggs or larvae during cleanings.
  • Treat cats for intestinal parasites like tapeworms as a precaution.
  • Seal cracks and install door sweeps to prevent bugs entering room.
  • Place litter boxes away from food sources and human/pet resting areas.

Staying on top of litter box hygiene helps eliminate breeding grounds for bed bugs and other pests that can turn your cat’s bathroom into an infested area. Stop bugs from colonizing the litter and protect your cat’s health with prompt poop scooping and thorough weekly cleanings. Your furry friend will enjoy a clean, bug-free place to use the litter.

FAQ – Can Bed Bugs Live in Cat Litter

How long can bed bugs live in cat litter?

Bed bugs cannot survive long-term living solely in cat litter, as they require blood meals to live. However, they can temporarily hide and crawl in cat litter for 1-2 weeks typically before needing another blood meal. Their small, flat bodies allow them to fit into cracks and spaces within litter.

Will bed bugs lay eggs in cat litter?

Can bed bugs spread through cat litter?

How do I know if my cat litter has bed bugs?

Should I throw out cat litter with bed bugs?

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