Fleas are one of the most common pests that cat owners deal with. Fleas are attracted to cats and other house pets and can quickly become an annoyance in your household.
Many people think that because they keep their cat indoors, they can’t get fleas. Wrong!
While it’s less likely that your cat will get fleas indoors, it’s still possible.
Here’s how indoor cats get fleas and how you can prevent them.
From Another Pet
If you have other pets in the home that do go outside, the fleas could be hitching a ride home that way.
If a friend brings their pet over, they could also bring fleas into your home. The best way to deal with this is by putting all pets in the household on preventative flea medication.
You should also regularly check them for fleas and other pests before bringing them back in the house.
You Bring Them Inside
You probably don’t think of yourself as being able to bring fleas inside with you, but that isn’t the case.
Fleas can make their way inside by sneaking onto your shoes, bag, or clothing.
While this isn’t entirely preventable, you can minimize the chances of this happening by leaving your shoes in a garage or mudroom as well as washing your clothes and shoes regularly.
When They Leave The House
Even indoor cats need to leave the house sometimes, and there’s always a chance they could pick up fleas on these short trips.
For example, your cat could get fleas on a trip to the vet or a short stay at a pet sitter’s house.
If you know your pet is going to be leaving the house, use a preventative flea medicine to keep them safe.
Rodents can also carry fleas, so if you have mice or rats living in your house, they could be bringing them in. However, this isn’t very likely in a house with cats, as cats will often scare away the rodents.
You Move To A New Space
If you move into a new home, there is a chance that the space could already be infested with fleas. The flea lifecycle contains a cocoon stage, and it can go through a phase of ‘arrested development’- meaning it can stay in this stage for up to 12 weeks waiting for suitable prey, like your cat, to wander past.
To prevent this, make sure your new space has been cleaned thoroughly before moving in. You’ll also want to clean any secondhand furniture that you bring with you to your new place.
How to Treat and Prevent Fleas in Cats
If your cat gets fleas, you’ll need to treat them with a topical flea ointment. While there are many available over-the-counter, your vet can also prescribe a stronger version.
Your vet can also prescribe oral flea medication that will kill fleas who bite your cat. If your indoor cat is particularly prone to fleas, they may need prevention- either in the summer months, or year-round. Your vet will help you determine your cat’s flea risk and an appropriate flea prevention schedule, as well as recommend some drugs that work well in their area.
Different drugs work on different stages of the flea life cycle- but no drugs, sprays or flea bombs work on the cocoon stage. That means you need to treat for at least 12 weeks in order to be sure that all the cocoons have hatched and you’ve completely got rid of the infestation.
Some cats also suffer from flea hypersensitivity, giving them an extremely itchy allergic reaction from a single bite. Vets recommend that these cats (and any other animals in the house) are given year-round flea prevention.
Even indoor cats can get fleas, which can be irritating for both of you.
Keep an eye on your cat and use preventative flea treatment to keep your cat healthy and your home clean.