Keeping cats indoors prevents them from becoming lost, engaging in fights with other animals, and being exposed to other hazards. So, can indoor cats get fleas? Are they protected from fleas?

Even if you keep your cat indoors, flea and tick control should not be neglected.

Fleas are little yet potent. They utilize their powerful hind legs to leap onto passing pets and humans.

Fleas also reproduce rapidly; a single flea feeding on a host animal can lay up to 50 eggs every day.

Unfortunately, this can also occur within your household. Indoor cats can acquire fleas in ways that may surprise you.

So, What Exactly Makes Fleas So Dangerous?

Fleas are the most prevalent external parasites cats can get. In addition to being a health concern on their own by inducing anemia at excessive levels, they can potentially cause additional diseases like the following: 

  • Tapeworms are intestinal parasites that can be transmitted to cats and even people via flea bites.
  • Flea allergy dermatitis is a frequent allergic skin reaction caused by flea bites in cats and dogs.
  • Cat scratch illness is a skin ailment transmitted to humans by flea feces (“flea dirt”).
  • Hemoparasites, like Mycoplasma haemofelis, a blood parasite that can infect your cat and stay asymptomatic for years, or cause anemia, lethargy, fever, and appetite loss when provoked by other diseases (such as FeLV) or stressful events.

How Did My Indoor Cat Get Fleas?

There are 6 major ways through which fleas can enter your home and attack your cats. 

Leaving the house – If you give it some thought, strictly indoors has exceptions.

Every time your cat leaves the house to visit a place where other pets have been, whether it’s the groomer, the doctor, another residence, or a pet hotel, it runs the danger of taking up certain parasites.

Regardless of how “clean” these areas may be or how many precautions are taken, the presence of other creatures always poses a risk.


Other animals – If both pets are not sufficiently protected, there is a considerable probability that fleas will find their way into a multi-pet household where an indoor cat coexists with a dog that receives two daily walks.

This is especially true during warmer weather, when external parasites are more prevalent (fleas cannot survive in cold weather).

And remember, before bringing a new pet or stray pet into your home, even temporarily, a small amount of flea preventative could go a long way in preventing a HUGE flea problem in the future.

Used beds — We’re all for recycling and reusing, but if someone gave you a pet bed or you purchased a used accessory that was previously used by another cat, especially plush toys or pet beds, you should be aware that eggs and larvae may be present.

Before allowing your cat to use the “new” second-hand bed or toy, if feasible, wash such items at high temperatures to kill any parasites (and other germs) and let them dry completely.

New house – It is fairly uncommon for pet owners to notice flea infestations shortly after moving into a new residence.

Flea eggs and larvae may have been left behind as a result of the previous occupant’s pet ownership (Flea eggs can stay latent for a long time.).

Or perhaps your moving company left the couch or boxes on the lawn for a short time, allowing fleas to enter your home.

Humans (entering the home) – It’s a fact. Both family members and guests can unwittingly introduce fleas clinging to their clothing into the home.

Especially if they have had contact with other animals while wearing the same clothing.

Fleas can eventually hitchhike into our homes and parasitize our indoor cats at any time. 

Rodents – Fleas feed on various mammals besides dogs and cats. Mouse or rat infestations can bring fleas. Fleas jump from rodents to cats to homes.

Can Fleas Infest Humans?

Technically, yes. Ctenocephalides felis, sometimes known as cat fleas, are not choosy when it comes to hosts.

Even though they are commonly referred to as cat fleas, the most of fleas seen on dogs belong to the same species (C. felis).

However, humans are not their favorite food. If there are cats nearby, adult fleas will gladly jump from their human host (they may jump up to 100 times their own size) to their more suitable feline host.

How Do I Treat Flea Infestation?

cat scratching its body - can indoor cats get fleas

There are numerous remedies available to prevent fleas on cats, including collars, spot-on solutions, pills, and sprays.

The correct one depends on whether you are dealing with an active infestation or acting preventatively.

Some products require the flea to feed on the host, while others merely require the flea to make superficial contact with the skin of the host. The best course of action is to get professional advice from your veterinarian’s staff.

Because fleas can develop resistance to some pesticides, they will be aware of the types of products that have proven more effective in your area and those to which fleas have developed greater resistance.

You’ll want to get it correctly the first time to prevent parasites from developing resistance.

The recommendations may also change based on your cat’s particular requirements.

Cats with established flea allergies or other conditions that place them at a higher risk of acquiring symptoms from Mycoplasma haemofelis, for example, may require more stringent preventative measures.

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