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Indoor Cats Infested With Fleas

By Chris Williams on May 27, 2015.
grey cat with green eyes

It’s possible for indoor-only cats to get fleas, so make sure to keep up with Fluffy’s topical flea treatments.

Think you can avoid the expense and hassle of having to treat your feline friends with those topical flea treatments, because your kitties never set foot on terra firma? Well, think again. I get calls all the time to do premise treatments for flea control for indoor-only cats. How does this happen? Cat fleas are not terribly host specific and are known to feed on dogs, opossums, raccoons, domestic rabbits, and hedgehogs.

I suspect too that they infest white-footed mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), which is our most common house-invading species. Does your home have mice? That is one possible source right there. Is your cat truly an indoor only cat? I ask this because two of my cats developed a massive flea infestation over the summer months from a single on-leash outdoor stroll in my backyard. They could have visited areas in the yard frequented by raccoons, or feral cats and picked them up that way.

I have an elevated porch attached to my house with screening below the flooring to prevent wasps from building inside there and last summer I did some repair work because it had started to tear. No sooner had I fixed it than did some animal (probably a raccoon) get up inside and pull it all down.  My cats use the porch all the time so it is conceivable that fleas could come in through the screen door as neighborhood cats will often visit (and harass), my ‘kids.’  The article I linked above also makes mention of hitchhiking fleas entering the home via the homeowner and infesting his indoor-only cats. The person in the case study did spend a lot of time working in the yard.

Photo credit: Cr1s79 / Foter / CC BY

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