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Your Pet’s Fleas Could Be From Animals Visiting Your Yard!

By Chris Williams on July 6, 2014.
Outdoor cat

Ginger kitty is displeased with other animals bringing fleas into the yard

Flea Question

I can’t believe it, but I found several fleas on my cat. She goes outside but she’s old and stays in our fenced yard. There haven’t been any other animals in our yard or in our house. She’s never had fleas before. Where could she get fleas? P.S., Windham, NH

Answer

I would guess that there have been other animals in your yard, fenced or not. Neighbor’s cats or wild cats could be visiting your yard at night, drawn by the scents left by your cat. Opossums and raccoons are known to carry fleas that can infest your cat. Squirrels can also bring fleas into your yard, and no fence is going to stop a squirrel!

These animals don’t have to have direct contact with your cat to transmit fleas. As they move through your yard, the fleas that they carry lay eggs that drop off into your lawn. The eggs hatch and the flea larvae develop hidden in the grass or duff outside. Fully mature larvae then pupate and wait for an animal to pass by. If that animal is your cat, the fleas jump on board and are carried back into your home.

You Can’t Treat One Source Without Treating the Others

This is why we always say that flea control is a three-part process involving pet, home, and yard. If you treat your pet but don’t have your home treated, new fleas will still hatch out. If you have your home treated, but don’t treat your pet, the fleas on your pet will lay eggs that will start a new infestation in your home. If you treat your pet and your home, but don’t have your yard treated, your pet may pick up new fleas outside.

First, have your cat treated by a veterinarian for fleas. Second, flea hot spots inside your home need to be treated by an exterminator. Indoor hot spots are the places where your pet rests since this is where you will find flea eggs, larvae, and pupae. Finally, have your yard inspected by the exterminator and your cat’s outdoor travel/resting areas treated if necessary.

If you suspect that a wild animal is bringing fleas into your yard, you could contact a company that does nuisance animal trapping to see if that animal can be trapped and removed from the area. It’s even possible that you have raccoons or opossums denning on your property. If you contact Colonial, our wildlife experts can also inspect your property, trap out any wild animals, and treat the den for fleas.

Photo credit: James Whitesmith / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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