One of the problems faced by cat owners is dealing with fleas on their cat. Fleas are small, wingless insects that survive by feeding on the blood of animals. They can be a nuisance for both cats and their owners. Not only do they cause irritation and discomfort for your cat, but fleas can also spread diseases.
The risk of getting fleas is higher in cats that are allowed to go outside the house. But what about indoor cats? Can indoor cats get fleas without going outdoors? And if so, how can you prevent indoor cats from getting fleas in the first place?
While fleas are mostly found on outdoor cats, indoor cats can also get them. Fleas can hitch a ride into your home on your clothing or on other animals. They can also get to your cat by jumping through open doors or windows. A visit to the vet or a pet groomer, buying used furniture or moving to a new house can all result in indoor cats getting fleas.
Indoor cats can also get them if there is an infestation in the home or neighborhood. Once they’re inside, fleas can quickly multiply and infest your cat. And when that happens, getting rid of them can be a real challenge!
One mating female will lay at least 20 eggs a day under ideal conditions. Half of these hatch to females. At this rate, about 20,000 new adult fleas will be produced in just two months.William Miller Jr., VMD, Professor of Dermatology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent your cat from getting fleas in the first place which we will discuss in this article.
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How Can Indoor Cats Get Fleas?
If you’re an indoor cat owner, you may be wondering how your cat could get fleas. Below we have listed some of the most common reasons why an indoor cat can get fleas without ever leaving the house. This will help you be aware of the risks and take steps to protect your cat from fleas.
Having Other Pets That Go Outdoors
The most common way indoor cats can get fleas is when other pets who already have fleas are around. So, if there are any other pets in your household, like a dog for example, that go outside the house and come in contact with fleas, there is a risk that they can bring them into your home and transmit them to your cat.
Living in an Apartment or Shared Housing
If you live in an apartment or other shared housing, your cat can meet other cats who have fleas. For example, if another tenant in your building has a flea-infested cat (or any other furry pet for that matter!), your cat can get them via common areas or through doorways and windows.
The above two scenarios explain how fleas are transmitted to indoor cats through nearby pets. But how do indoor cats get fleas with no other pets around? Let’s find out.
Visits from Other Animals or Rodents
Another way your cat can get fleas is if other animals or rodents come into your home and leave fleas behind. If you live in an area with a lot of wildlife, such as near a forest or Park, it’s possible for animals like squirrels, raccoons, or opossums to visit your backyard or your home through open doors or windows and leave fleas behind.
Even if you don’t live in an area with a lot of wildlife, other smaller animals like mice can also bring fleas into your home.
So, it’s important to be vigilant and keep an eye out for any such animals or rodents that might be trying to get into your house.
Using Cat Boarding or Daycare Services
If you use any kind of cat boarding or daycare service, there is a risk that your cat can encounter other cats who have fleas and bring them home with them. Such facilities have many cats in close proximity to each other, which can make it easier for fleas to spread.
The problem can get worse if the facility is not properly maintained.
Visiting the Vet or Pet Groomer
What is the first thing you do if your pets are infested with fleas? You take them to the vet, right? The veterinary clinic may be visited by several pets having fleas every day.
So, when you take your indoor cat for a regular vet check-up, there is always a risk of your cat picking up fleas, irrespective of how clean the facility is.
The same risk applies when you take your cat to a grooming salon which is visited by numerous furry pets each day.
You or Someone Visiting Your House Bring the Fleas Indoors
You or a guest visiting your house can unknowingly bring fleas into your home on your clothes or shoes and transfer them to your cat. This is how fleas can enter your house even if neither you nor your cat ever go outside.
Renting or Buying Used Furniture
Another way your cat can get fleas is if you buy or rent used furniture that is already infested with fleas. When you bring such furniture into your house, the fleas can jump off and infest your cat.
The spreading of fleas is not just limited rented furniture.
If you have rented appliances, a bagged canister vacuum cleaner for example, you can inadvertently bring fleas into your house which can multiply quickly.
Shifting to a New House
If you move to a new house, there is a possibility that the previous occupants had fleas and left them behind. This is especially true if the previous occupants had pets.
Symptoms of Fleas on Cats
Now that you know how indoor cats can get fleas, let’s look at some of the symptoms cats exhibit which indicate your cat may have fleas.
- Excessive scratching or biting of the skin.
- Hot spots.
- Hair loss.
- Scabs and bald patches on the skin.
- Red, inflamed skin.
Where Are Fleas Most Commonly Found on Cats?
While fleas can be found anywhere on your cat’s body, they are most commonly found around the neck, back, and base of the tail. These are the areas of their body that cats cannot reach easily.
According to Dr. Miller, the fleas are quick to figure out the areas where a cats can’t groom themselves. This results in cats scratching those areas and getting severe lesions due to their sharp claws. The lower back, thighs, abdomen, head, and neck are among the areas most commonly affected by flea allergy dermatitis.
Risks of Fleas for Indoor Cats
Fleas can be a major problem for cats, both indoor and outdoor cats. Fleas can cause skin problems and can also transmit other diseases to cats.
Fleas can cause anemia, especially in kittens, due to the loss of blood they can cause. Fleas can also transmit diseases to cats. These include cat-scratch disease, and typhus.
What Should You Do If Your Cat Gets Fleas?
Finding out that their indoor cat has fleas can come as a shock for many first-time cat owners. After all, how can indoor cats get fleas if they never leave the house? But there is no need to panic. Here’s what you can do to bring the situation under control.
Visit Your Veterinarian First
If you notice your cat exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, the first thing you need to do is take them to the vet. They will be able to properly diagnose your cat and recommend the best course of treatment.
There are several different products available that can treat fleas on cats, including oral medications, spot-on treatments, shampoos, and collars. Be sure to follow your vet’s instructions carefully when using any of these products.
Dial Pest Control Service
You will also need to treat your home for fleas, as they can quickly spread and infest other pets and humans in your household. There are a few different products available for treating fleas in the home, including sprays, powders, and foggers that the pest control service may use.
12 Tips to Prevent Fleas on Indoor Cats
There are different things you can do to help prevent your cat from getting fleas. The best way to deal with fleas is to take some preventive measures to keep them at bay in the first place.
- If you have both indoor and outdoor cats, or pets that are allowed to go outside the house, it’s important to keep them separate as much as possible. This will help in preventing the spread of fleas from one pet to another.
- If you are living in an apartment or shared housing, keep your cat up to date on their flea medications, as this can shield them from fleas.
- Keep your backyard and surroundings clean to prevent squirrels, raccoons, or opossums from coming near your house. Try to keep your indoor cat from hunting mice.
- Make sure that the boarding or daycare facility you’re using is clean and free of fleas. You can ask the staff about their flea prevention methods and whether they have had any recent cases of fleas. Same applies for the cat grooming service facility.
- Remove your footwear outside the house.
- Before buying or renting used furniture, get it fumigated. In case of rental appliances, get ones that are in good condition. For example, get a vacuum cleaner without a bag instead of a bagged one.
- Before shifting to a new house, get it treated by pest control professionals. Make sure to inform them that you have pets.
- Make sure to regularly vacuum your home, as this can help to remove any fleas or eggs that may be present. Use disposable vacuum bags. In case you are using reusable vacuum bags, make sure you empty them away from the house to prevent fleas from getting back in.
- Keep your cat’s bedding clean and free of debris. This will help to keep fleas from hiding in their bedding.
- Regularly groom your cat with a flea comb to help remove any fleas or eggs that may be present on their fur.
- Use a flea collar. Flea collars work by releasing chemicals that kill fleas and other insects.
- Give your cat regular baths using special anti-flea shampoos.
As you can see, there are many ways to help prevent your indoor cat from getting fleas. I know the list if long and all this seems like a lot to do. But the best way to deal with fleas is to take some preventive measures in the first place.
You should always consult with your veterinarian about the best way to keep your cat free from fleas.