Indoor Cat Fleas? Why it’s not Cool & Why it’s Happening
Can indoor cats get fleas?
They definitely can. Let's start by telling you what a flea is capable of so you can have a slight idea of how sneaky these little critters can be.
Fleas can take leaps of about one hundred times their own height. Yes, impressive. In a nutshell, basically anyone or anything can carry fleas into your home without them even knowing they did (Click here to see the best cat flea treatment). It's pretty easy for them to hitch a ride on any moving thing.
Restricting your cat to the indoor environment can help prevent many things from happening to it, such as avoiding altercations between your cat and other animals, preventing it from getting lost and so on and so forth.
However, if your keeping it indoors to prevent it from catching fleas and ticks, then its unfortunate for you because you'll have to prepare to run into a bit of some trouble.
Keeping them indoors is, sadly, not a very effective way of protecting your cat from a tick or flea infestation. Although it's much less common for an indoor cat to contract ticks and fleas, not only can it happen but in most scenarios it does actually happen.
Top Reasons Why Indoor Cats Get Fleas
But don't fret, these things are totally manageable. Herein below are the top reasons why indoor cats get fleas (click here to see how feral cats deal with fleas). Let's take a look, shall we?
1. Another Cat or Animal Brings Them In
One of the most, if not the most, common ways fleas, ticks and other insects invade your home and attack your indoor cat is through another pet or animal you have that is normally allowed to roam outside.
In most cases that is usually the family dog. Even though you may be using flea and tick prevention products on your dog, they may still carry the eggs inside which are still pretty dangerous, especially if the product your using is being overwhelmed by the high population of ticks and fleas outside or if the product is not really as effective at repelling fleas and ticks.
Also, if you're in the habit of allowing other stray cats into your home from time to time then that could be the cause of the flea infestation in your home.
Even if it's only a handful of fleas that make it inside, these annoying parasites have the ability to lay thousands of eggs in a short time which, in turn, puts your indoor cat in immediate danger.
Outdoor areas that have a large population of stray cats, dogs, mice and other mammals, during warm weather, can become infested with fleas. That will make it very easy for your other pets or animals to pick them up and bring them inside inevitably exposing your indoor cat to those unwanted parasites.
2. A Human Brings Them In
The migration of ticks and fleas is no where near exclusively limited to other pets and animals. Human beings are equally capable of transporting these little critters into your home in the form of pupae, larvae, eggs or even full grown adults.
An adult flea will think nothing of getting a ride on your shoes, socks (Why do cats play with these? Click here) or pants leg and making their way into your home and onto your indoor cat.
Fleas do not have wings. However, one might think they do because, like we mentioned, fleas have the ability to jump extremely long distances.
One hundred times their normal height to be exact. This is why it's so easy for them to hitch a ride on the pants, coat tails or socks of any human being that comes into their jump range. How to tackle this problem?
Okay, we all no that it isn't feasible to check all the guests that come into your home, however, you can keep the parasites at bay by cleaning up after they leave. Wash all your towels and sheets after the guest visit, especially if it was an overnight guest, and vacuum clean your carpets, floors and upholstery.
3. Rats or Mice Bringing Them In
Many experts are of the school of thought that this method isn't exactly probable, however, they believe it's certainly possible. In an environment where there is a healthy cat, you'll find that rodents are normally not likely to inhabit that area for very long.
But, in the event that they do, they are most likely going to drop a few flea eggs here and there while they're doing their rounds in and around your home and those droppings will eventually make their way onto your indoor cat (Click here to see if indoor cats can go outside). The fact that they also have access to the outside world is why they have and carry fleas (and their eggs) in the first place.
So, what to do when in this situation? While cats will help you keep your rodent population low, try as much as you can to keep your kitchen and counters free of waste and food scraps.
Furthermore, you can prevent their entry using metal screens as well as placing tight seals around your windows and doors.
4. Picking Them Up During the Vet Visit
Even though your cat doesn't go outside that much, or at all for that matter, it's still likely to go for the occasional grooming visit or veterinary appointment. When this happens, your cat is likely to interact with other animals.
This puts it at the risk of catching fleas if some of those other animals have some already. They can also pick them up during those times it's out on a play date or when it's at your pet sitters care in those scenarios where your out of town or something like that.
All these outdoor trips put your cat at risk because it gives fleas the opportunity to access your indoor cat.
How Fast Can Fleas Multiply?
A grain of sand or salt is what a flea egg looks like and they stay at that stage from about two days to two weeks, however, that usually depends on the environment they're living in.
It's also pretty rare for these eggs to stick to the location where they were first laid which is what can make there spread so rapid in such short periods of time.
The pupil stage whereby the larvae make a complete metamorphosis into an adult flea usually takes about four to eighteen days. Its watertight cocoon is designed to blend with its environment making it virtually unnoticeable.
Fleas multiply at an extremely fast rate if kept unchecked. They are insects that happen to be highly reproductive and can generate enormous masses in a matter of weeks.
The flea species as well as the environment they reside in is largely what will determine the daily number of eggs that will be laid by those particular fleas. However, when the conditions are just right, a female flea can possibly lay around twenty to forty eggs each day.
That's basically roughly one egg every hour of your day. That is how fast these things can populate your home if you let them. Your indoor cat can stand no chance against such odds.
The Best Treatment Procedures
Fleas can sometimes be extremely difficult to treat because they have the ability to multiply very fast. The first thing you'll have to do is to begin treating your indoor cat and below are some of the ways you can get this done:-
- Flea Combs- Traditional flea combs still happen to be one of the best ways you can treat your flea ridden indoor cat. Every cat owner should always have one of these available to them.
This natural, low-tech, low-cost tool will help you throughout the entire process, from locating to killing the fleas. It will slowly become your best friend when it comes to fighting those annoying fleas.
- Flea Sampoo - An easier way to effectively reduce a large chunk of the flea population that is terrorizing your cat is by using flea shampoos designed for cats.
They may hate you and that bottle of shampoo when bath time comes but afterward, they'll definitely appreciate you so much more. This flea treatment's biggest perk is it has the ability to eliminate almost ninety percent of the flea population on your cat.
- Flea Spray- If bathing your cat is not an option then you might want to try this great alternative to shampoo. This technique avoids the water hassle while keeping the flea killing benefits. The fact that no water is required when using this treatment method is this technique's most obvious perk. It's ideal for those of you that might have fussy cats under their care.
- Flea Powder - This is a great alternative to both the flea spray as well as the flea shampoo. This product contains the same flea killing pesticides that are found in the spray and shampoo, the difference being that it's produced in powder form.
Cat Flea Prevention
One main goal all cat owners should be to try and keep their cat flea free as much as they can. Not only to relieve your cat from the itchiness that fleas cause them but to avoid the diseases that these fleas can sometimes bring as well.
Some cats can even, due to flea bites, develop hypersensitivity whereby even just one measly bite can trigger an intense allergic reaction. How to get on top of your prevention game is by:-
- Getting Educated About Fleas- Killing fleas is not exclusively all about, well, killing fleas. There's a lot more that goes into it. You'll need to learn about the type of flea you're dealing with for different fleas have different characteristics. Knowing exactly what type you're dealing with will help you zero in on the most effective prevention.
2. Flea Collar- Using a high-quality wearable, oral or topical flea collar is a good way of making sure fleas stay away from your cat. This product is ideal for those cat owners that aren't very sure whether their cat has fleas or not. It happens to be one of the best prevention techniques.
Flea Prevention Best Practice
No one likes fleas, your cat included, and keeping this problem unchecked can sometimes prove to be a very serious issue. Once your home and pet(s) get infested with fleas it can get very hard to eliminate them. In this scenario, prevention is always better than cure. Learn about this unwanted pest early and know how to effectively deal with all their kind.
All in all, if possible, try checking your cat for fleas daily if you can. It may seem like a cumbersome and tedious thing to do, but, if done well, it could save you and your cat lots of troubles as well as discomfort.
What is the difference between cat ticks and fleas?
Parasites can bring discomfort to both humans and animals, and nobody would want to be infected with such parasites. However, there comes a point when ticks and fleas infest on bodies of humans and begin feeding on the host’s blood.
Ticks and fleas are parasitic infestation and can bring a lot of trouble when they infest in children, adults or even on animals. Moreover, these parasites are naturally highly specialized on how they adapt to their surrounding environment and the mode of life of their hosts.
Once you get infested with these parasites, there is need for you to look out for the source and take the necessary steps to stop their infestation. In this article, major differences between cat ticks and fleas would be looked into.
What is a Cat Tick?
Ticks are tiny creatures, scientifically referred to as arachnids.
They are spineless, have eight legs and attach to the skins of mammals such as cats, deer, dogs, and rodents. Ticks survive by feeding on their host’s blood.
Since ticks feed on the blood of their hosts, they are carriers of different diseases, hence they infect their hosts when they bite, and that animal could be your cat.
Ticks are generally classified into tow section; the posterior
idiosoma and the anterior capitulum. The former contains three body parts such as the legs, stomach and the reproductive organs while the latter contains only two body parts; the head and mouth.
Generally, Cat Ticks have tow life cycle in a year, and during this period they can infect up to three hosts.
While infesting on the host, they attach themselves to their host’s body and look for a good place to feed on, and these entail traveling all over the body of the host.
What is a Cat Flea?
By far, Cat fleas are the most common flea species on earth. Just like cat ticks, cat fleas survive by feeding on their host’s blood such as cats, dogs and other animals.
Their body parts are adapted to feeding on their host’s blood; they are usually long, dark in color and their mouth is tube-like. Also, cat fleas have long legs, and they use their hind legs for jumping. Vertically, a flea can jump up to 18 cm high (7 inches) and 33 cm (13 inches) vertically.
Cats and dogs are commonly affected by fleas, but human beings may also be infested with fleas, more so if they can easily have access to dogs or cats. When they feed, Cat Fleas bite and the bites normally cause formation of spots that are itchy, swollen and slightly swollen (similar to mosquito bite).
Can fleas live longer than Ticks?
Fleas may live for a long period on the bodies of hosts, especially if there is restriction on grooming. However, under a natural a natural setting, flies die due to the grooming activity from their hosts. Fleas, unlike other parasites such as mosquitos, remain permanently on the bodies of their hosts once they’ve fed.
Therefore, grooming by their hosts is major threat to their survival. During grooming, majority of the fleas get ingested, and die in their hosts environment. But the adult fleas may survive due to their resilient and hard bodies. Fleas that survive during grooming, normally return to their host’s bodies within a few days or else they will die because of starvation.
On the other hand, cat ticks undergo four life cycle; egg, six-legged lava, eight-legged nymph and adult. In every survival stage, ticks depend on blood; therefore, they depend on different hosts and they make take up to three years before completing their life cycle in full.
As such, most ticks die before they can complete their life cycle and this is attributed to their inability to find another host to feed on. However, there are those ticks that feed on the same host in their entire life cycle. Cat ticks easily get into the bodies of their hosts through detection of body odors, breathing, moisture, body heat and body vibrations.
What diseases do they spread?
Parasites such as ticks and fleas can transmit various disease
caused by infectious agents. Fleas, for instance, causes flea-borne
infections and their bite is a great discomfort.
Their itching bites may cause allergic reactions to pets or people from the parasitic vectors. As such it is important for you to know the various diseases that may be transmitted by fleas and cast tick bites. Common diseases caused by fleas include;
- Bubonic plague: This is the common diseases transmitted by fleas. Rodents are the common carriers of the diseases and are transmitted to fleas when they bite them; hence, the diseases get to infect pets or humans when they bite. Treatment for the diseases involved use of antibiotics.
- Murine Typhus: The diseases can be brought by pets that are infested with fleas into homes. Common symptoms for the diseases include; chills headache, nausea and weakness.
- Tungiansis: The disease affects the feet of a pet or human, where it anchors itself.
- Tularemia: The diseases is a serious illness and is transferred to humans through flea infection or tick
Can Cat Fleas Live On Humans?
Fleas are a tiny parasite that feeds on the blood of warm-blooded mammals. Scary enough, the warm-blooded animals also includes humans.
It’s not possible for cat fleas to live on humans because humans do not have hairs for the cat fleas to cling on. However, they can surely bite and suck human blood.
Cat fleas prefer animal blood, but they would be equally glad to live on humans in the absence of their preferred diet. Human blood represents a tasty alternative to your fluffy pets.
Aside from the bite you receive from cat fleas, they could also use humans as a conduit to other animals. For instance, your pet could get infested with fleas if you don’t protect yourselves and your home against cat fleas.
Where Do Cat Fleas Like to Live?
A flea bite is most likely to occur in an environment with an abundant amount of furry of pets which are not well taken care of. Cat fleas (Ctenocephalidesfelis) are mostly found in homes with a cat and sometimes dogs.
It rarely lives on humans as humans do not have much hair on their skin that would be sufficient enough to accommodate flea growth. Except for those who keep bushy and unkempt hairs which encourages the growth and procreation of fleas.
Cat fleas cannot live on humans except the scenario we just mentioned of humans keeping too long hairs and not maintaining proper hygiene. However, these fleas like to bite humans, and it could cause a stinging pain which should subside within few seconds.
Cat fleas generally love to hide in soft, fleecy and dark places which make them more likely to infest your pets than humans. So the next time you experience a cat flea bite, know that it’s not living on you instead it’s a sign that you live in a flea infested area with your pet.
What Do Cat Fleas Eat?
This is another interesting question about the tiny parasite called cat fleas. Cat fleas feast on their host's blood. A cat flea possesses a sharp mouth with which it uses to draw blood from its host. It feasts on warm-blooded animals and it has been proved that it prefers human blood.
Research also has it that they can live up to 185 days by feeding on human blood for just 15 minutes daily. In fact, feeding on human blood for only 10 minutes a day can sustain a female and male cat flea for up to 30 and 17 days respectively.
Another reason why it becomes easier for them to draw blood from their host is the presence of anti-blood clotting in their saliva.
Do Cat Fleas Have Wings?
Cat fleas don’t have wings though they behave as if they have one because they have adapted to jumping. It was believed that cat fleas had wings during the pre-historic era when they fed on prehistoric mammals.
But as times changed and they needed to adapt to a parasitic kind of feeding whereby they would burrow into their hosts, they had to evolve. Their wings became unnecessary and an impediment to their new feeding habits.
This led to them shedding off their wings during evolution to become a fully parasitic animal.
Instead, they possess a pleural arch, which is identical and serves the same function as the wing joint ligament of flying insects. Cat fleas also possess the starter muscle and flight muscles which both help in jumping.
How Long Will It Take For Cat Fleas To Lay Eggs?
The amount of time it will take for a cat flea to lay eggs depends on two major factors which are; the host and the amount of time and blood it was able to suck from the host.
However, for a freely sucking cat flea, it needs just 10 hours to produce 20-30 eggs a day. Conversely, if this same cat flea is allowed to suck human blood for 10-15 minutes a day freely, it will produce less than four eggs daily.
It’s also interesting to note that acat flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day if the environment is ideal which amounts to about 1,500 eggs in a lifetime.
These eggs will drop off and pass through the larvae stage before it becomes an adult flea. Within three weeks, this reproductive cycle will be completed, and you have a new generation of cat fleas in your home.
Lastly, you need also to know that the cat flea eggs cannot be seen with the naked eye except you use a magnifying glass. This is the more reason why you need to prevent fleas in your home in the first place.
Will Cat Fleas Bite Humans?
Cat fleas are a very opportunist parasite when it comes to feeding. They have the habit of feeding on whatever is available. In the case when there are flurry animals around, the fleas will prefer them because aside from sucking their blood, they can also live on them.
So if there are cat fleas in your homes and they can’t find any pet or animal around, then they will not hesitate to feed on you. This is the reason why you need to keep your environment clean and protect yourself against cat fleas.
Aside from cat fleas biting humans, they also use humans as transport to their most preferred host; your pets.
Female cat fleas are always in the hunt for where they can suck blood to keep them alive and lay eggs which is essential for reproduction. Therefore humans also are not left out in their option of the host to bite.
This is an informative guide on cat fleas, answering any questions about fleas on indoor cats (Is there an age limit for letting them out? Click here) and how you can prevent them from living on you and most importantly, your beloved cat.
We hope this guide has dispelled some myths and also answered some frequently asked questions about cat fleas.
Our advice for you is to keep your homes neat all the time, ensure your pets are clean and maintain personal hygiene. These will keep cat fleas away from you and your hairy pet.
We would love to hear your feedback about this great piece you just read. Do ensure you drop your comments. Share this information with a friend to save someone from cat flea.