CAN INDOOR CATS GET FLEAS: How To Prevent Or Treat Them


Keeping cats indoors prevents them from getting lost, getting into fights with other animals, and being exposed to other potentially dangerous issues. Even if you keep your cat indoors, flea and tick control should not be overlooked. Fleas are little but strong. They use their powerful back legs to leap onto passing pets and humans. Fleas also reproduce quickly; a single flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day when feeding on a host animal. Unfortunately, this can happen inside your home as well as outside. There are multiple ways for indoor cats to get fleas.

What Are Fleas?

Fleas are microscopic insects that feed on the blood of their hosts. Ctenocephalides felis felis, also known as C. felis, is the most prevalent flea species in cats and dogs. The adults find a host animal and lay eggs, which contaminate the environment.

Within 10 days, the eggs hatch, and the larvae develop, eventually creating a pupa inside a cocoon. The cocoon is extremely hardy and can withstand a wide range of insecticides. This stage can last up to four weeks in ideal conditions and several months in hard conditions before the adult emerges to start laying eggs again.

Life Cycle of Fleas

Fleas aren’t picky about the species or things they hitch a ride on and feast on, so that’s the bad news. They have four life stages, which are as follows:

  • Female fleas lay their eggs on the skin of their hosts. They slide off into the host’s environment since they don’t stick. A flea can lay up to 40 eggs every day, according to Cornell University.
  • It takes about twelve days for the eggs to hatch. The hatched larvae then seek out a dark, warm place to make a cocoon and grow, such as carpet fibers.
  • Larvae develop into pupae in the cocoon. They’ll remain safely tucked away in the cocoon until they detect the presence of a host nearby. This can take months at times, unaffected by insecticides, winter weather, or drought conditions.
  • The adult flea will have fed on its host within hours after emergence, and females will proceed to lay more eggs.

Can Indoor Cats Get Fleas

Yes, indoor cats can get fleas even if they never go outside. Fleas are highly tough and smart little insects, making it incredibly easy for cats to get fleas without going outside. If you believed fleas wouldn’t affect your indoor cats, think again. (Sorry!)

What is the Best Way to Tell if My Indoor Cats Have Fleas?

Here’s how to check whether your indoor cats have fleas. Flea bites are irritating and unpleasant. Unfortunately, they are easily transmitted to other family pets as well as humans.

If you’ve observed your cat scratching or biting his skin more often recently, he may have picked up some unwanted visitors at home!

A flea infestation is shown by a lot of scratching, hair loss near the tail and head, sore skin around the neckline or armpits, and even scabs on the fur from biting it too much.

If they do exhibit these symptoms, this article will provide you with knowledge on how to treat them with over-the-counter medication. We’ll also give you some pointers on how to avoid this happening in the first place.

How Can Indoor Cats Get Fleas

During any of these stages of development, fleas may enter your home or cats. Here’s how it’s done:

#1. Other Pets

According to Evans, the most common way for indoor cats to get fleas is from a flea riding on another pet, such as your dog. Evans argues that if you think your cat is secure from fleas because your dog is taking flea preventive, you’re mistaken. “Even so, some fleas can travel from your dog to your cat before being destroyed by the flea medication on your dog.” “While it is beneficial that your dog is on flea medication, your cat may still be at risk.”

#2. Other Humans

Having guests leave their shoes at the door can help stop the spread of flea eggs and larvae and other unwanted hitchhikers. Fleas will happily ride on clothing or other belongings if someone else is in an environment with fleas.

#3. Rodents

Dog fleas, cat fleas, and rat fleas are just a few of the many flea species. These fleas, despite their names, are not picky eaters and will jump from species to species to feed.

#4. Transfer of Supplies and Household Items

These pesky little bloodsuckers can hide between the bristles of a pet brush or the new sweater you bought at a thrift store. Before bringing in used items or swapping pet supplies, check for flea dirt and then sanitize, disinfect, and sterilize.

#5. Traveling

Your cat may be a happy home cat, but we’ll wager she visits the vet once a year or more, travels with you, or stays at a boarding facility. Fleas can be picked up by your cat if she leaves the house or goes to a place where other pets have been.

What to Do if you Find Fleas on your Indoor Cats

Indoor cats with fleas itch, lose fur and have flea dirt on them. Evans explains, “By the time you realize your pet has fleas, the fleas have already deposited eggs in your house, and there will be more fleas on the way.”

That is why he recommends monthly flea treatments for all creatures in your home, rather than just one spot-on flea treatment for your cat. If you have an active flea infestation, the following steps can help you get rid of them:

  • Use a flea shampoo: There are shampoos designed specifically for active flea infestations (rather than prevention). If your cat is willing to be bathed, follow the shampoo instructions, which usually include allowing the suds to settle on the skin for several minutes before washing away those pesky parasites. Just double-check the ingredients first. Flea shampoo with permethrins (included in various flea products) is toxic to cats.
  • Spot-on flea treatments
  • Vacuuming and cleaning the carpet daily to remove fleas and larvae from the carpet fibers
  • Thoroughly clean bedding, pet beds, and other fabrics

For serious flea infestations, it’s preferable to hire professional extermination. Don’t forget to see your veterinarian for flea-removal advice; they may offer oral medication or further treatments.

Can You Prevent Fleas on Indoor Cats?

Make sure to use your regular flea preventative to avoid flea infections among indoor cats. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best flea preventive for your cat, whether topical, oral, or collar-based.

Check your cat’s fur regularly (particularly during grooming) for fleas or flea signs, such as “flea dirt”—black pepper-like flea excrement. Use a flea comb, which has much finer teeth than other grooming tools, if your cat scratches too much.

How to Control Fleas Around Your Home and Yard

Looking at all of the ways your indoor cats can get fleas, as detailed above, almost makes you want to throw up your hands in the air. Where can you not get fleas, I mean?

I prefer to believe that we are at war with these little pests. However, using a decent flea prevention medication and doing a few things about the house keeps them from partying on us.

#1. Mow your lawn regularly.

Ticks and fleas prefer wet environments, as well as thick grass and weeds. It’s crucial to keep your lawn trimmed and to walk your dog or cat on a path to keep them out of the long grass.

#2. Clear your backyard

Fleas prefer to reproduce in stacked woodpiles of leaves and mounds of rocks. Fleas can hide in more places the more clutter there is.

#3. Try natural flea control methods

The scent of cedar chips repels fleas and ticks. Sprinkle them in shaded areas, under your porch, and around your patio furniture. The powder will still keep fleas away even if you walk over them.

#4. Regularly groom your pet

Regular grooming keeps your pet clean and allows you to look for fleas and ticks. It’s also a terrific moment for you and your pet to bond.

#5. Vacuum regularly.

This may seem obvious, but it’s essential for controlling fleas inside your home, especially if you have carpets. Vacuum your home once a week, paying specific attention to areas around the front and back doors.
Fleas can quickly jump out of your kitchen trash, onto your flooring, and your pets.

#6. Leave your shoes at the door.

If you have to go through the grass to get to your front door, you might want to start leaving your shoes and hitchhiking friends there as well.
This will not only help lessen the likelihood of bringing fleas into your home on your shoes, but it will also help keep your home floors and carpet cleaner and looking nicer overall!

How can I tell if my indoor cat has fleas?

The most common signs of cat fleas to look out for are as follows:

  • Constant scratching.
  • Spots showing hair loss.
  • Skin irritation.
  • Excessive grooming.
  • Flea-related anaemia causes lethargy and pale gums.
  • A dark spot in the cat’s fur or bedding.

What do I do if my indoor cat has fleas?

It’s best to act quickly if your cat has fleas. For treatment options, consult your veterinarian. Fleas and their eggs can be removed from your carpets and floors by using a flea comb to remove as many fleas as possible. Take the vacuum canister or dust bag outside as soon as possible.

Do inside cats need flea treatment?

Yes. Flea and tick prevention medication must be taken every month by all cats, even indoor cats. Discuss with your vet the best solution for your cat—you have options!—and be consistent. You won’t be able to turn your house into a flea fortress, but you can help your cat survive the attack.

Do I need to clean my house if my cat has fleas?

Yes. Vacuum every day. Clean the carpets, cushioned furniture, and floor cracks and crevices to remove any eggs before they hatch. This method will also help you get rid of live fleas. Just remember to dispose of the vacuum bag or wash out the canister with warm, soapy water when you’re finished.

How long do fleas last in cats?

In optimal conditions, adult cat and dog fleas can live for up to a year, but only one to two weeks without a host. Before reaching the adult stage, the flea life cycle progresses from egg to larva to pupa. Depending on the circumstances, the process can take anywhere from two to three weeks to many months.

Can cat fleas survive on humans?

The quick answer is that fleas on humans may bite, but they won’t live on you. As their favorite host and blood meal, fleas will target your dog or cat.


Even for cats who live indoors, fleas can be a major issue. Some cats may also get an allergy to fleas, which makes the itching and pain worse. Fleas can cause anemia in kittens, so they can be extremely dangerous. Fleas can also transmit parasites to people, including tapeworms and Bartonellosis, popularly known as cat scratch disease. To protect the health of your cat and your family, it’s important to check for fleas and take preventative steps.

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