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Can Indoor Cats Get Fleas and Ticks?

Next time you see a critter latched on to your kitty, here’s why.

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Your feline friend is sunbathing by the window, and you decide it’s time to brush and inspect their coat. (You’ve always been a glutton for punishment.) Everything looks good at first, but suddenly you spot a tick on their fur. How could that happen if they’ve never even left the house? Bad news: Your indoor cat can get fleas, ticks, and other pests.

How Your Indoor Cat Can Get Fleas and Ticks

Before you decide to burn the house down out of fear of an infestation, here are a few ways your indoor cat can inherit fleas or ticks:

1. Another pet may bring the pests indoors

For example, you may have a dog who regularly goes outside. If they get a flea or tick while they’re out on a walk or potty break, they could usher the insect inside and give it to your cat. Luckily, keeping your pups up to date on their flea and tick medicine can reduce this risk.

2. A person can be a carrier

You or your guests could carry fleas or ticks into your home and onto your cat. That’s yet another good reason why you should always check yourself for ticks after roaming in grassy areas. This can protect both you and your cat. (Learn early signs of Lyme disease in humans here.)

3. Rodents could bring in the bugs

This is less likely, but mice can carry in and drop flea eggs in your home. When the eggs hatch, the fleas can latch onto your cat.

4. A new home could already host the pests

It’s not the best welcoming gift, but you might move into a home that already has fleas. Pre-existing fleas can be dormant for months. These fleas may latch onto your cat while you’re unpacking your candle collection and hanging up your family photos.

How to Handle Fleas and Ticks in Cats

Notice your indoor cat is acting itchy? It might be time to check them with a comb. Catching pests early is important, since fleas and ticks can carry infectious diseases.

If you find fleas or ticks on your cat, stay calm. Talk to your vet for advice and help on removing ticks or treating fleas, so your indoor cat can return to pest-free sunbathing. Depending on your situation, your vet may also recommend starting your cat on regular flea and tick medicines to prevent further issues.