Can Indoor Cats Get Fleas?

Indoor cats can and do get fleas. One of the main reasons for keeping cats indoors permanently is to protect them from parasites like this. Although keeping them in a controlled environment reduces to risk of them picking up fleas, it doesn’t completely remove that risk. Even if you go to long efforts of keeping your house clean, it won’t be completely sealed from the outside. People, air, and other animals come into and out of the house with the potential to carry in a variety of pests and diseases that your indoor cat can pick up. This is why Indoor cats are still recommended to get their regular flea treatment.

If you suspect that your indoor cat has fleas, it is vital that you treat them and discover the source of the infestation for the safety of your cat and the rest of your household. Fleas can carry dangerous diseases that affect both pets and humans. They are small in size so can go unnoticed until they become a larger problem. Their bites and feces are a health hazard to you and your cat. They can also pass on other parasites such as tapeworms which can be life changing for your cat if left untreated.

How can I tell if my indoor cat has fleas?

It is fairly easy to assess if your cat has fleas at home by yourself. The first sign you could look out for is increased scratching or biting of their own skin. Your indoor cat may use their hind legs to work on an area of their skin they find particularly uncomfortable. Your cat may be irritated from the constant biting and some cats may show signs of redirected aggression. After you have noticed them scratching or biting themselves more often you can visually inspect their fur for fleas. They will appear as black specs with a sight oval shape. They will be about 1/16th of an inch in size. If the infestation is small, it may be difficult to see any fleas, especially if your cat has dark or long fur. If this is the case you can use a flea comb to search through your indoor cat’s hair. Keep the end of the comb close to the skin of your cat’s body

You may also notice a flea infestation after you get unexplained bug bites on your own body. Fleas prefer warmer conditions so the inside of your home can be the perfect breeding ground for them to thrive. If you are uncertain, you can get the second opinion of another experienced pet owner or your vet.

Do I need to go to the vet if my indoor cat has fleas?

If you quickly realized that your cat has fleas they can be treated at home but you should consult with your vet first. Call your them and tell them about your cat’s situation. If they are satisfied, they will prescribe or recommend a flea treatment for your cat that you can buy and apply to your cat by yourself. Your cat doesn’t have to go through the stress of a vet visit and have the chance of spreading fleas to other animals and people along the way. Your cat may need to visit the vet if they have shown additional symptoms such as skin irritation.  

How did my indoor cat get fleas?

The most common cause for why your indoor cat has fleas is unfortunately you. Its easy for fleas to cling onto your clothes and shoes during the day when you are outside. They can jump off from another animal that you pass on the street. Stepping on an object contaminated with flea eggs could also introduce them into your home.

Other animals in your house, especially dogs, can bring fleas into the home in a similar way. It may be difficult to think about, but this can include animals that you are not aware of. There is a small but not impossible chance that a larger pest such as mice or rats have made their way into your house. If your cat has been hunting these pests or exploring the same spaces they are in, fleas could have transferred from the pest to your cat. Be careful when setting up mouse traps and poison in your house as these can be deadly for your cat. Humane traps and activity cameras are a safer way to determine if you have pest problem.  

Flea eggs do not go dormant, despite what some online blogs claim. They can, however, survive for up to 12 days in poor conditions. You may have bought an old piece of clothing or furniture with unhatched eggs which can introduce live fleas into the house.  

What should I do if my indoor cat has fleas?

If you have noticed that your cat has fleas you should find the appropriate flea treatment through your vet. This will most likely be a liquid that will be rubbed into the back of your cat’s neck. These types of treatments get soaked in the oil glands of your cat which then causes fleas to die. It is likely that your vet will recommend you to treat other animals in your house in case they have become contaminated too. It can be frustrating to deal with fleas but try not to neglect your cat during this time as they are likely suffering too. You should pay more attention to their litter box for worms in the following days as cats can get worms after cleaning themselves of flea feces.

It may not be necessary to isolate them at this time as their medication should continue to kill fleas for a short while. This does mean you need to begin cleaning your house to destroy any fleas or flea eggs as quickly as possible. Begin by using a vacuum cleaner on all of your floors. Even if you don’t think your cat has visited a particular room, fleas and eggs may have been introduced by you. Remember eggs can live for several days under the right conditions. You should also use a vacuum on furniture. A steam cleaner is a more hygienic but slower alternative to a vacuum if you have access to one. Pay special attention to cat trees and cat beds and make sure to cover areas where your cat likes to hide but you may not normally be able to reach. Wash and dry clothes and bedding which may have been contaminated on a hot setting.  

Cat fleas can live in litter. Completely empty litter boxes and wash them out with warm water and mild soap. We don’t recommend using any type of insecticide spray as they are often harmful to both pets and humans. If you have given your cat flea treatment and cleaned your house thoroughly it shouldn’t be necessary to use any type of bug spray to kill fleas.

Why does my indoor cat keep getting fleas?

If your indoor cat keeps getting fleas after being treated, it can be very frustrating and confusing for you as an owner. Not only is your cat suffering but you have to keep spending time and money on flea treatments. It may seem too obvious to mention but your first steps should be washing all fabrics in your house where your cat goes on a high heat setting to destroy any fleas or flea eggs that may have been left about the house.

As fleas are often brought into the house by humans and dogs, you may be passing by a place on the street during your commute that has an infestation of fleas. Keep your eyes open for potential sources of fleas such as stray cat colonies when you go for a walk outside of the house. If you have a dog who socializes with other dogs in the park, be careful of who they greet. It may also be worth making a more thorough check for pests inside and on the boundary of your house. If flea infested mice regularly run near the entrance to your home fleas maybe able to hitch a ride inside of your house on you when you come in.

There is a very small chance that your cat is going outside to live with other families without your knowledge and getting fleas this way. Make sure that your cat has no exits to the house and if you think that there is a chance that they may be leaving without your knowledge during the day you can invest in a tracker for their collar.  

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