How Do Cats Catch Ticks and Fleas
Where do cat fleas come from?
Flea eggs can survive in many environments. They can hatch and quickly jump onto passing animals, including cats, and are then transported – sometimes for miles. The animal they live on is known as a ‘host’. Some flea infestations don’t occur when your cat comes into contact with eggs in the environment, but when they meet an existing host which already carries fleas.
How do cats catch fleas?
If an animal with cat fleas comes into contact with other animals, the fleas may pass between them. This is one of the ways in which they spread. Flea eggs can also exist in carpets and other soft furnishings if there has been a previous infestation and they aren’t completely removed. When the eggs hatch, your cat may then pick up the fleas.
It can be very difficult to pinpoint where a cat flea infestation came from – it could be from the environment, another cat (or a different animal), or even from an existing infestation in the home. The main thing is to get rid of them as soon as possible.
How do cat fleas multiply?
When an animal with fleas moves around the fleas usually lay eggs on the way. Around 50 eggs may be produced each day. These eggs fall from the cat, and into the environment.
Within 2-16 days these eggs will hatch in larvae, then into pupae in a cocoon. At this point they are ‘dormant’, and can remain so for up to two years. They will remain immobile until a new host comes along. The pupae can usually sense the presence of a host through signals such as warmth and vibration. It may only take a few seconds for the flea to emerge and attach itself to the host.
What time of year are cat fleas most common?
Because fleas do well in warm environments, modern homes – particularly those with central heating – are ideal for fleas to live in all year round. Even in winter, when they are inside the home, conditions are right for them.
Where do cat ticks come from?
If they’re not on a host, cat ticks live outside. They cling to things such as plants, branches, and even grass.
How do cats catch ticks?
They are transferred to their host – your cat – when your cat brushes against them, usually when they’re outside.
Even if your cat lives indoors, they may still end up with ticks. If you’ve come into contact then them, ticks may transfer themselves to your hair or clothing, and can then cling to your cat’s fur when you get inside.
Ticks can also be passed from animal to animal. If your cat interacts with a cat who has ticks, they may very well end up with ticks themselves.
How do ticks multiply?
Most ticks breed while they are on their host. They will then drop to the ground to lay eggs. These eggs will hatch into larvae, which then grow into young (‘seed’) ticks. By this stage, they are ready to attach themselves to a host.
After attaching themselves to and feeding on one host, most ticks will fall to the ground again, shed their skin, and become adult ticks. The next host they attach themselves to will be where they lay eggs. They will also feed again.
Because ticks attach themselves to different hosts, they are capable of spreading tick-borne diseases from one cat (or different animal) to another.
What time of year are cat ticks most common?
It is most common for your cat to have ticks in spring and autumn, but it is possible for ticks to attach themselves to your cat (or you) at any time of the year. Another notable factor is how common ticks are in your area. Your vet will be able to tell you how common cat ticks are where you live.
Read about removing or treating fleas and ticks on cats here.
If you are concerned about fleas or ticks on your cat, contact your vet for advice. Remember, never use products intended for dogs or other animals on your cat, as these can be harmful.