Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat.

How Did My Indoor Cat Get Fleas?

Indoor cats can get fleas multiple ways.

Indoor cats are almost always safer than outdoor cats. The risks of being outdoors include contagious feline diseases like FIV and feline leukemia, cars, other animals, and cat-hating humans. So if you keep your cat inside, you might be shocked when he is sitting on your lap one day and you happen to see a tiny insect jump off of him and onto your couch.

How did my indoor cat get fleas?

Your Dog Brought Fleas In

If you have dogs in your home, fleas can hitch a ride inside on them. Even if your dog is on flea preventative, the insects can sometimes get inside and then hop onto your cat before they are affected by the medication.

People Brought Fleas In

Fleas can hitch rides to different places on people, too. If you've had a guest who has been in a flea-infested home, some of the little buggers might have come into your house on that person.

Fleas Were Already in the Home from Previous Owners

Fleas are only on a pet or person long enough to get a meal, and then they jump off and live in the environment, laying eggs on the carpet or furniture. Those eggs can lie dormant for long periods of time, only hatching when there is a warm-blooded entity nearby to attach to. So if you've moved into a new home, it's possible that flea eggs were already there, waiting to hatch and begin another life cycle, using your cat as their food supply.

Rodents Brought Fleas In

Mice can bring fleas into a home. Most cats will keep rodent levels low or non-existent, but they can still get in and the fleas they are carrying could jump off, lay eggs, and start a flea problem in your home.

Fleas Got on Your Cat During a Grooming, Vet, or Kennel Visit

When you take your indoor cat out, he is at risk of picking up fleas in another spot that animals frequent. While most grooming, boarding, and veterinary facilities are quite careful about cleaning, it is still possible for an unprotected cat to pick up fleas in these places.

What Can You Do?

Even indoor cats should be on flea and tick preventative year-round to keep a flea problem from taking off in your home. Ask your veterinarian which one he or she recommends for your particular circumstances. In fact, it's crucial that you keep all of the pets in your home on year-round flea preventative, so the insects have no way to get a foothold and start an infestation.

Remember, don't use any flea products on your cat without first checking with your veterinarian.

Keep your home vacuumed, especially after you have visitors, and wash all bedding routinely. Also, do what you can to rodent-proof your house by keeping food put away in containers and sealing any openings to the outside. Do not use rodent poison, which is also deadly to pets.

You can learn more here: "Flea Control for Cats."

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