How Do Indoor Cats Get Fleas?

How Do Indoor Cats Get Fleas?

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Why is your cat scratching themselves like loopy? They’re strictly an indoor cat and there’s no approach your cat has fleas…proper? Even when your cat lives indoors, they’re nonetheless in danger for sneaky fleas. Dr. Jess describes how indoor cats get fleas and how one can deal with an infestation in your individual residence.

cat scratching itself

What’s an Indoor Cat?

In relation to this text, we are going to outline an indoor cat as: Indoor cats are cats which might be strictly indoors, no time spent open air or out of the home.

Which means that, for instance, in case your cat goes outdoors in your entrance porch whilst you have your morning espresso, they’re not an indoor-only cat.

They might be thought of an indoor-outdoor cat.

Everybody has their very own description of what an ‘indoor cat’ is, however for the needs of this text, that is what I’ll think about as an ‘indoor cat’.

Many see having indoor cats as a safer possibility for a lot of cat homeowners and their feline associates.

Holding your cat indoors may also help forestall them from getting misplaced, getting hit by automobiles, from entering into fights with different animals, and from a complete host of different dangerous well being and medical points.

Why Do Cats Itch and Scratch?

Cats can scratch for a mess of causes, similar to people can scratch or really feel itchy for various causes.

Cats can have dry itchy pores and skin, the place you may even see scratch, rubbing, and flaky pores and skin.

Feline associates can have allergic reactions, comparable to meals allergic reactions or chemical allergic reactions to family cleaners, that may make them itchy and scratch.

Itchy, infected pores and skin is known as dermatitis.

Different instances, kitties can develop into itchy from exterior parasites, comparable to fleas.

What Are Fleas?

Fleas are a small exterior parasite which might be flightless, however can leap and leap unbelievable lengths in comparison with their physique dimension, and have slim our bodies which assist them navigate by way of fur and hair.

In addition they have chewing mouthparts to eat particles from the floor of pores and skin and for piercing to eat blood, which is required for the flea to thrive.

They want a heat host (or physique) to stay off of and survive and reproduce.

Fleas vary from the dimension of a pinhead to an eighth of an inch lengthy, and are typical very darkish or brown-looking in coloration.

The most typical flea that’s discovered on cats is Ctenocephalides felis.

Cat fleas love and thrive in heat, humid climates, like on dwelling our bodies.

Flea Life Cycle:

Fleas are thought of an exterior parasite (or ectoparasite), which means they full their life cycle on the surface of a number. As soon as the flea is now not capable of stay on the host, the flea will die.

Cat fleas have 4 life levels that they undergo. In accordance with the CDC’s web site relating to flea life cycles :

  1. Eggs: “Eggs are shed by the feminine within the atmosphere.
  2. Larva: Eggs hatch into larvae in about 3-4 days and feed on natural particles within the atmosphere. The variety of larval instars varies among the many species.
  3. Pupae: Larvae ultimately kind pupae, that are in cocoons which might be typically lined with particles from the atmosphere (sand, pebbles, and so forth). The larval and pupal levels take about 3-4 weeks to finish.
  4. Adults: Afterwards, adults hatch from pupae and search out a warm-blooded host for blood meals.”

Then one other full cycle can start time and again.

Can Fleas Be Harmful to Cats?

An infection: Cats ceaselessly scratch themselves, and might be seen in most cats each day – no large deal!

Nevertheless, the type of scratching prompted by fleas is in a category all of its personal.

Ceaseless scratching can result in open scratches or wounds, that in time, can result in contaminated wounds, which might flip into whole-body, lethal issues.

Dermatitis: Flea allergy dermatitis is brought on from an allergic response from the saliva of the mouthpart of the flea. The animal is allergic to substance within the saliva and a pores and skin response takes place. The dermatitis, or irritation of the pores and skin, from this allergic response, can brought on pink, raised bumps or rashes, pink patches of pores and skin, itchy and scratchy pores and skin areas.

Anemia: One other probably harmful difficulty with fleas has to do with their blood-sucking high quality. Fleas suck blood by way of the pores and skin of their host. This poses particular threat to cats, and extra notably kittens, who might be extra more likely to develop anemia because of the blood loss in excessive flea infestation circumstances.

Illness Carriers: Fleas are additionally illness vectors (illness carriers/transmitters) for micro organism. Cats can develop into illness traffickers after being bitten by service fleas.

Cat fleas can carry illnesses that have an effect on different cats and people….

Frequent Feline Ailments Carried by Fleas: 

  • Tapeworms: Fleas additionally carry a parasite known as the tapeworm, Dipylidium, which is well treatable. They’re generally present in cats which were uncovered to fleas.
  • Haemobartonellosis (Mycoplasma Haemofelis): Fleas will also be vectors for a bloodborne parasite known as Mycoplasma Haemofelis in cat’s. This micro organism is understood to trigger anemia, fever and different medical issues.
  • Bartonella species infections: Also called “Cat-Scratch Illness” is attributable to a micro organism named Bartonella henselae, which a cat can contract by way of fleas. If a cat with Bartonella ‘scratches’ an individual and leaves an open wound, there’s a potential for the uncovered human to contract the illness as nicely and present signs of fever, headache, and wound an infection.

How Can Fleas Be Detected and Recognized?

Should you observe your cat scratching and aren’t positive if fleas are the trigger, it’s best to contact your vet to arrange a time to deliver your scratching cat in for a veterinary examination.

The veterinarian will possible use a flea comb in your cat and observe if tiny black dots are current.

These black specks are generally known as “flea dust”, however in actuality, it’s the excrement that the flea leaves behind on the pores and skin of the host.

Many instances, a considerate observer will see this flea dust and suppose that these are the precise fleas themselves, when the truth is, they aren’t.

Should you discover the black specks, smush some in between a humid paper towel. Whether it is flea dust, the ‘dust’ will flip the moist paper towel a rusty pink coloration.

The reddish coloring on the moist paper towel is from the residue out of your cat’s blood that was beforehand consumed by the flea and partially digested after which excreted onto the pores and skin of your cat.

Nevertheless, generally, transferring, dwelling, leaping fleas will also be noticed.

Frequent areas the place fleas and flea dust are noticed are on the base of the tail (decrease again space), neck, and again legs of the cat.

Fleas are excellent at hiding on a cat’s physique.

If somebody doesn’t see them, it doesn’t imply that they aren’t there, as a result of fleas might be current in small numbers, and lots of instances, the flea or flea dust is solely not noticed at that exact second in time.

Remedy For Cat With Fleas:

Should you’ve been underneath the impression that your feline buddy doesn’t want flea and tick prevention since you suppose their indoor way of life will shield them from these parasites, you would run into troubles.

I’ll focus on the methods by which indoor cats can get fleas within the part under.

Contact Your Vet:

Should you suppose your cat presently might have fleas, there are a few totally different choices and approaches to treating the flea infestation that it’s best to speak to your veterinarian about instantly.

How do you make sure that the fleas can not full their life cycle? Properly, that is the place your veterinary medical workforce will get to work!

Veterinary clinics are stuffed with very educated employees that know loads about what merchandise are protected and efficient on your pet.

If there are fleas in your cat, quick and fast motion is finest. Contact your veterinarian for remedy choices ASAP.

Use a Flea Comb:

Your first job will probably be to get rid of as many fleas by combing and bathing your cat. 

Use a flea comb to take away as many fleas as potential, and vacuum ceaselessly to take away the fleas and their eggs out of your carpets and flooring. Make sure that to take the vacuum canister or mud bag outdoors instantly.

Give Cat Flea Tub:

Many cats don’t tolerate baths very nicely, so don’t drive this step.

Many veterinary workplaces may assist with this step – with the right employees and methods to get the job achieved safely and shortly on your cat.

Nevertheless, flea combing, flea baths and shampooing collectively, will not be sufficient to do away with a flea downside.

There’s extra that must be achieved in your half!

orange tabby cat in bed with owners

Clear Your Surroundings:

The one technique to rid a flea infestation is to take away the fleas out of your cat AND your house.

Regardless of the numbers and selections of economic flea-killing merchandise on the market in the marketplace, eradicating fleas from you and your cat’s lives is more durable than it sounds.

Not solely do it’s worthwhile to take away the fleas out of your cat, however it’s worthwhile to take away the fleas from your house in order that they’ll’t re-infest your cat.

Then after eradicating the infestation in your house, you have to forestall fleas from taking stake in your cat ever once more, by utilizing flea preventatives, which I’ll discuss right here in a sec….

Cleansing and vacuuming your house completely is one a part of the equation relating to ridding your house of this gross parasite.

I all the time advocate getting the assistance of others for this main process, hiring skilled cleaners that can assist you.

Additionally- think about hiring a skilled exterminator.

Treating Your House For Fleas and Flea Eggs:

Cleansing must be an ongoing process whereas the grownup flea remedy is killing the stay fleas in your atmosphere.

  • Vacuum carpeting every day and get rid of used vacuum luggage.
  • Whereas your focus is on the ground, clear the baseboards, the place fleas love to cover, completely each day.
  • Wash all bedding completely.  Whereas the bedding is freed from coverings, vacuum the mattress, notably within the crevices, the place eggs would possibly cover.
  • Steam-clean carpeting will kill any remaining eggs the vacuum might need missed.
  • Launder all material, pillows, cushions, and all clothes within the residence.
  • Chances are you’ll select to do a flea or insect remedy within the residence. I like to recommend hiring knowledgeable and asking them to make use of pet-friendly merchandise.
veterinarian doctor writing a prescription

Flea Drugs:

As soon as the majority of the fleas are gone, you possibly can forestall additional flea infestations with the usage of veterinarian-recommended topical or oral flea management merchandise, remembering to NEVER use canine flea merchandise in your cat as some are poisonous to them and might trigger extreme sickness to your cat.

Learn all drugs labels very fastidiously earlier than administering to your cat and all the time ask your veterinary employees any questions previous to giving flea therapies.

Flea therapies work by interrupting the flea’s life cycle ultimately.

An necessary factor to recollect is that there are totally different levels of the flea life cycle: egg, larva, pupae, and grownup.

Due to this fact, to make sure that the flea infestation doesn’t proceed in your house, you have to deal with all pets in your house for 3 full months.

This three-month remedy will assist to make sure that the flea’s life cycle is disrupted, irrespective of which stage that the of the flea life cycle the flea is presently in when the cleansing and remedy of your house happens.

You don’t want sneaky little larvae or pupae hatching and turning into grownup fleas additional on down the street!

Topical Feline Flea Remedy Choices:

Beneath are some examples of some topical flea merchandise obtainable on your cat.

  • Benefit: This makes use of imidacloprid because the energetic ingredient, and is usually considered protected for cats and kittens over 6 weeks of age. It doesn’t kill ticks.
  • Frontline: Claims to kill each fleas and ticks, Frontline makes use of fipronil, an artificial ingredient, which can trigger momentary sensitivity within the space of software. 
  • Revolution: Its foremost ingredient is selamectin, which is claimed to kill not solely fleas and a few ticks, but additionally ear mites, in addition to providing safety towards stopping heartworm infestations. Revolution stays within the bloodstream, and shouldn’t be used on kittens underneath 6 weeks of age.
  • There are numerous different manufacturers on the market, nevertheless, these are the three most typical manufacturers that my previous shoppers have used on their pets.

All the time guarantee that whichever product that you simply decide, that it’s one advisable by your veterinarian.

Additionally, guarantee that the product that you’ve is the appropriate weight class on your cat, as most topical flea merchandise are primarily based on the pet’s dimension/weight.

Additionally, be extraordinarily positive that the flea product you’re about to place in your cat is NOT the canine version of 1 these merchandise as these might be poisonous to felines.

Comply with all the bundle instructions on your age/dimension of the cat, and ask any questions you will have in regards to the product or its administration to your vet BEFORE making use of the product to your furry buddy.

So Why Do Home Cats Get Fleas?

There isn’t a approach that was a flea…

Indoor cats don’t get fleas, proper?

WRONG buddy.

I’ve needed to inform this to so many consumers I’ve had all through the years….

Sure, your indoor-only cat does have fleas, and right here’s how.

Even with our greatest efforts, fleas can enter our houses, and subsequently, our cats too. Seems that it’s fairly darn simple for these little pests to get inside our homes!

A house is just not a sealed environment – individuals and pets come and go, doorways and home windows open and shut.

As I focus on some frequent methods fleas get inside and onto your pet cat, remember that a single flea can leap greater than 160 instances its personal physique size. They’re additionally fairly small and nimble creatures.

These information will make the factors under appear much more possible for these little buggers to leap proper into your lives.

Different Pets:

Do you’ve gotten every other pets in the home?

As a result of they only could also be your “affected person zero” within the case of your flea downside.

Your different pets will be the offender right here.

Even when your different pet is one other indoor cat, the possibilities of your pets turning into infested with fleas goes up dramatically for each extra dwelling animal or being in your own home. (That features you! I’ll come again to that in a minute.)

So – why does this occur? Why do the possibilities of getting fleas rise as a result of there are extra animals in the home?

Take into consideration this for a second – each dwelling being offers your family extra of an opportunity to usher in fleas, be host for the fleas, and switch the fleas to much more dwelling, respiration our bodies in your house.

Possibly you’ve gotten a canine too and your canine goes outdoors for whereas, choosing up a flea earlier than coming again into the home.

The open air can simply develop into infested with fleas espcially throughout heat climate months, and in areas with identified populations of canine, cats, small rodents and mammals, and birds.

As a result of each time a pet goes open air – and even near the door itself, they’re at an elevated threat of choosing up a “hitchhiker” or “flea-loader” flea from the outside and bringing it inside the place it might probably discover a good spacious host, your cat!

Even when your different pets are already on flea preventative, a hitchhiker flea can tag alongside for a experience inside your house for a time frame.

Many flea and tick merchandise take a while to kill the bug, and even those who repel the fleas, might not repel a flea for a fast journey by way of the edge of your entrance door.

Even when just a few fleas are introduced inside, the insect can lay 1000’s of eggs.

Only one pregnant flea can shortly lay 50 or extra eggs after which the cycle expands, will get worse, and continues and continues on and on till a full remedy plan is strictly enforced and adopted, stopping the infestation in your house.

pet at the vet clinic with owner in waiting room

Vet Visits and Pet Groomers:

There will probably be instances in your cat’s life once they have to go away the home.

The vet’s workplace, boarding amenities, and/or the pet groomers are just some frequent examples.

Irrespective of how clear your vet’s workplace, boarding facility, or grooming salon is, fleas are exceptionally good at hiding.

Taking your indoor cat to the vet for a easy well-check or vaccination can expose them to fleas, flea eggs, and flea larvae, all of which is perhaps carried residence unbeknownst to you and your kitty cat. 

Home windows, Screens, and Doorways:

Fleas are so small and nimble that they’ll come into your house on their very personal.

They will use their legs to leap by way of screens or coming in by way of the smallest cracks of home windows and doorways.

So your kitty that likes to take their cat nap by that sunny window sill, or that observant cat that watches and stalks the squirrels operating round outdoors your entrance door – are all liable to that one pesky flea marching proper on in and inflicting an itchy uproar in your house.


Something, or anybody, can deliver a flea into your house.

I’ve already mentioned how fleas can hitch a experience in your pet’s that stay in your house.

The identical is true with you, your loved ones members, and any visitors which will enter your own home. This might imply visiting associates or members of the family, your own home cleaners, a pet sitter, or supply drivers, comparable to grocery-delivery service suppliers.

Fleas are comfortable to leap in your socks, leap onto your pants, and total go for a joyride in your garments, similar to ticks do.


If there are rodents in or across the residence, they’ve the potential to drop flea eggs the place your cat likes to hang around. These eggs can then discover your feline buddy and have a celebration in your cat.

New House / Surroundings / Furnishings:

Pre-existing fleas from pets dwelling within the residence earlier than you, might be dormant for months, so in the event you’re transferring, they might simply be ready on your cat to reach.

One other thought to bear in mind is in the event you purchase second-hand furnishings, bedding, or rugs from somebody whose pet presently has or has had fleas, you would possibly by accident deliver the pests into your house.

cat laying on sidewalk scratching itself with back leg

Can Fleas on Indoor Cats Be Prevented?

As a way to forestall a flea infestation in your indoor cat, make certain to maintain up with their common flea preventive drugs year-round.

Your veterinarian may also help you resolve which flea preventive drugs — topical, oral or collar varieties— is finest on your cat AND your loved ones’s way of life.

Moreover, verify your cat’s coat routinely for fleas or for “flea dust”.

Should you discover your cat scratching loads, particularly across the neck, again, and base of tail areas, then it’s possible time to contact your vet for a more in-depth inspection on what’s going on.

Commonly cleansing your own home from prime to backside is one other exercise that may assist forestall the infestation of fleas in your house.

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