My Indoor Cat

Can Indoor Cats Get Fleas?

Can Indoor Cats get Fleas

The short answer is YES!  Even though it is less likely for indoor cats to get fleas, the truth is they can still get them, although the risk is lower than their outdoor counterparts. 

If you catch your cat scratching excessively or chewing their skin and being restless the chances are your indoor cat has fleas!  But before you reach for a treatment you can do a flea check first to find out if this is what is causing your cat’s discomfort. This includes:

  • Looking for any movement of tiny bugs in the fur of your cat, around their head and underbelly 
  • Use a flea comb for cat fur, this will skim off the adult fleas and flea dirt (flea faeces). 
  • If you find small dark specks in their coat, clean them off and put them on a white paper towel , sprinkle them with droplets of water – if they turn a dark reddish-brown colour you are looking at digested blood that has passed through the flea. 

How do indoor cats get fleas?

You may be scratching your head, wondering how did my indoor cat get fleas?  If your cat is always indoor but has got fleas the chances are they have caught them through one of the following:

How do indoor cats get fleas

Another pet

If you have pets other than cats especially dogs, they can be a primary source of flea infestation. When these pets go outside for a walk, fleas can hitch a ride on your pets. Once they are in the house, they can hop off onto your cats and home furnishing and lay their eggs there. Just one female flea is capable of infesting your cat in less than a week. If you do not own pets other than cats and some other pet has visited your place, they can be a potential source of flea transmission. Make sure the pet that is visiting you is on preventive treatment before allowing them to enter your home.

Wild animals

If you are living in the countryside or have animals like rabbits, raccoons, and opossums living around your house, they may move around your yard and leave flea eggs in the environment. These eggs hatch and turn into adults that can get into your environment and onto your cat. Similarly, if you have a rat problem, they can also bring fleas into your home.

How did my indoor cat get fleas
Do indoor cats get fleas

A person

Flea transmission is not only limited to animals but humans can also be a source of transfer. When we are out, we may carry these external parasites in the form of eggs, larvae, and adults. We may pick them up in the soles of our boots or trainers or shoes or when we sit down outside. Although they do not have wings but they are capable of jumping huge distances so they drop off of our clothing or us when we go indoors and re-attach to our pets to continue their cycle.

An open window

A house is not a completely sealed environment. Our doors and windows can provide a way for fleas to enter our homes because fleas are extremely strong jumpers. Moreover, if your cat likes to sit by the window, they expose themselves to the risk of getting fleas from outside. Fleas can jump through the smallest of cracks in our windows or doors.

Indoor cat fleas
Indoor cat has fleas

Moving to a new house

If you have moved to a new house that had pets with fleas or bought furniture from someone that had a flea infestation in their pets, you might also bring them home with you. If you live in an apartment and your neighbor has pets with fleas it is possible for them to be in the common areas and for your cat to pick them up this way.

During a visit to the vet

If you are taking your cat out for example to visit a vet, or taking them for a walk they are at the risk of picking up parasites because they interact with animals and humans that might be carrying them.

How can indoor cats get fleas

How to prevent flea infestation?

To prevent fleas on your cat:

  • Do a flea check, regularly.
  • Bathe and brush your cat regularly 
  • Limit the time that your cat spends outdoors
  • Use flea control products to prevent flea infestation after consulting your vet and always follow the product instructions. 

How to treat flea infestation?

A single flea can lay hundreds of eggs that develop into mobile larvae within ten days that can hide in the bedding, carpeting, and furniture. It is important to treat flea infestation quickly because continuous scratching leads to open wounds and infections for you cat that can lead to diseases such as dermatitis, and anemia. if you find your cat with an infestation, here’s a guide on how deal with them.

  • Use a flea comb. A flea comb is an affordable grooming tool that can help remove fleas off your pet. When you use a comb in the direction of the fur, it traps fleas, flea eggs, and flea dirt from the fur. It is recommended to comb your pet outside or in the bathtub and dip the comb in the water that has detergent in it to kill the fleas afterward. Use a flea comb regularly until you are sure that your home is free of fleas.
  • Give your cat a flea bath. Giving your pet a flea bath can help with treating flea infestation. Use lukewarm water and mild soap to get fleas off your cat’s fur. You can also use flea shampoo or a similar product after talking to your vet. 
  • Consult your vet. If your cat has a flea infestation, the most important thing is to break the life cycle of fleas. For this purpose, you should contact your local vet immediately who will be able to guide you about the available products that are safe and effective for your pet. 

To get rid of fleas in your home, vacuum your home every day. Fleas hide under the carpeting and rugs so certain areas of your home require careful attention while cleaning. So, keeping your home clean and vacuuming every day can help in preventing fleas as it helps in pulling them out of the carpet.  Use a steam cleaner and wash the bedding of your pet giving special attention to the spots where your cat spends most of its time. You can also get new bedding for your cat if the infestation is severe. 

Indoor cats can get fleas and it is for this reason that my vet recommends that our indoor cats still have regular flea treatment.  Hopefully this article helps you understand how indoor cats get fleas and how to deal with them should this happen to you.

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