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Can Indoor Cats Get Fleas?

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Did you know that indoor cats tend to live 10-15 years longer than outdoor cats? This is due to a few different reasons, such as increased safety and reduced risk factors. Plus, if your kitty is around more, you’re more likely to detect signs of health issues early on. 

Your pampered indoor cat may be protected from the elements, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s immune to pests and other health issues. Even if your cat never leaves the house, it’s important to stay up-to-date on flea and tick defense and other pest control methods. 

Keep reading to learn more about how indoor cats can get fleas, and what to do about it.

5 Ways Indoor Cats Can Get Fleas

Fleas are tiny creatures, but they’re also powerful. They can jump up to 7 inches high, latching onto a host—any warm body, preferably one with fur—as they walk by. They can also multiply at a disturbingly rapid rate, with one host-feeding flea laying up to 50 eggs each day. (YUCK.) 

Long story short: it doesn’t take much for a single flea to turn into a full-on flea infestation. The fact of the matter is that even if your kitty never takes a step outside, she can still get fleas. 

Here are 5 ways indoor cats can get fleas: 

1. From Other Animals

Fleas can easily jump from host to host. If you have other pets in your home, your pup may bring fleas into your home after an outdoor excursion, inadvertently transferring them to your kitty. 

Fleas may also make their way into your home through other animals such as mice, rats, or other neighborhood wildlife that may sneak into your home. If your cat is one to chase after mice, be aware that the mouse may not be the only thing she catches. 

2. From Humans in the Home

We hate to break it to you, but it’s possible that you could be the source of the fleas in your home. 

Fortunately, humans don’t exactly have enough fur to act as ideal hosts for fleas… but those pesky pests can still latch onto your clothes or shoes and make their way indoors. 

3. From Used Furniture or Rugs

If you’ve recently purchased some used furniture or rugs, be mindful of the fact that these items may bring more into your home than just comfort and aesthetic appeal (especially if the previous owner had pets). 

Before bringing used furniture or rugs inside, clean everything thoroughly to avoid an accidental flea transfer. 

4. From a New Home

Similarly, if you move into a new house, there may be an existing flea infestation from the previous pets. If you’re planning a move, do some thorough cleaning, hire a professional cleaning service, or even use a home fogger to clear the area of any potential pests.

5. From Visiting Other Places

Your indoor cat may not get out much, but there are still times when she has to make a trip to other places: the vet, groomer, boarding facility, or even a family vacation, for example. 

Again, all it takes is just one flea to jump onto your kitty’s coat—and that one flea can quickly turn into 50.

Signs Your Cat Has Fleas 

Pay regular attention to your cat’s appearance and behavior, as early detection is your best bet for avoiding a full-on flea infestation. 

Signs your cat has fleas include: 

  • Movements in the fur, typically behind the head, near the base or the tail, or on the belly

  • “Flea dirt,” or flea excrement resembling coffee grounds or black pepper

  • Itching or chewing the skin (some cats can even be allergic to flea bites)

  • Overgrooming

  • Zoomies—because your cat is attempting to run away from that itchy, uncomfortable feeling! 

You know your cat best, so you’ll likely be the first to notice any signs that something is wrong. 

Protecting Your Home and Cat From Fleas

If you suspect that your cat has fleas, the first step is to contact your vet. They will be able to prescribe adequate flea defense for your cat depending on her lifestyle, age, and weight. 

Note that most flea medications only kill adult fleas, so you’ll need to be consistent with application to ensure you fully get rid of the problem. If just a few sneaky flea eggs hatch, they can grow into adults and multiply, leaving you back at square one.

Depending on the severity of the issue, you may even want to call a professional to help get rid of your flea problem. 

In addition to keeping up with year-round flea defense, implement the following practices to keep fleas at bay: 

  • Inspect your cat regularly for signs of fleas as you pet her and brush her coat

  •  Every so often, brush her with a fine-toothed metal flea comb to remove potential fleas and their eggs

  • Keep other pets in your home up-to-date on pest control medications

  • Clean your home regularly—vacuum rugs and furniture, and wash bedding and toys

  • Keep floors and countertops clean to avoid attracting flea-carrying rodents

Keep your cat feeling her best with Pet Honesty’s Lysine-Immune Health+ Powder. This vet-recommended blend is designed to promote a strong immune system, help with seasonal allergies, and support eye and respiratory health. Just scoop the tasty powder directly into your kitty’s food twice per day so she can reap the health-boosting benefits.