Can Cats Get Bed Bugs? Prevention and Treatment Guide for Pet Owners

Can Cats Get Bed Bugs? Prevention and Treatment Guide for Pet Owners

Have you ever wondered, “Can my cat get bed bugs?” Well, you’re not alone. This is a common question among pet owners, especially those dealing with these pesky pests.

Bed bugs are infamous for their love of human blood, but does this mean your feline friend is off the hook? Let’s delve into bed bugs and their potential impact on your beloved cat.

While it’s true bed bugs prefer humans, they’re not particularly choosy regarding their next meal. So, could your cat become their next target? In this article, we’ll explore this question in depth, providing you with the knowledge you need to protect your furry friend.

Key Takeaways

  • Bed bugs primarily feed on humans but can target cats if human food sources are unattainable, though this is a rare occurrence.
  • Bed bugs are nocturnal and are attracted to body heat and exhaled carbon dioxide, so they are most active at night.
  • Cats, like humans, can experience mild irritation from bed bug bites. Areas with less fur, like the belly, are more susceptible.
  • Increased scratching, grooming, red marks or rashes, and restlessness are potential signs of bed bugs on cats.
  • Regular cleanliness and orderliness, thorough inspections and treatments, and caution with second-hand items and travel luggage can help prevent bed bug infestations.
  • If a bed bug infestation occurs, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian and engage a professional pest control service immediately.

Understanding Bed Bugs

Understanding Bed Bugs

First, it’s essential to understand what bed bugs are and how they behave. This knowledge is your first line of defense in protecting your feline.

Bed bugs are small, nocturnal insects that feed mainly on humans. They’re incredibly adaptive creatures that can survive in various environments. But don’t be fooled by their name, bed bugs don’t just live in beds. They can infest any area where they find human presence, including your clothes, furniture, and cracks in walls. That being said, the main attraction for them is human blood.

Let’s delve into the feeding habits of these pests. A bed bug’s favorite meal is human blood because it aligns with their biological makeup. When these bugs feed, they inject a tiny amount of anti-coagulant into the skin, ensuring a steady flow of blood. The substance they inject is usually the cause of unwelcome reactions like itchiness and rashes.

However, bed bugs are not particularly fussy eaters, they will feed on other mammals if human food sources are scarce. This is where your cat comes into the picture. Yes, your cat can be targeted by bed bugs if the bugs can’t find a human host.

Don’t panic yet though! It’s noteworthy that while bed bugs can indeed latch onto your cat, they generally prefer humans as a primary food source.

In the next section, you’ll learn about the potential impact of bed bugs on your cat. Stay tuned to find out more.

Cats, like humans, can be affected by bed bugs, but the pests do not prefer them as primary hosts. Catster explores whether cats can carry bed bugs and how pet owners can manage infestations. The Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) provides guidance on bed bug prevention and treatment, including the necessity of removing pets during home treatment.

Can Bed Bugs Infest Cats?

Can bed bugs infest cats? The straightforward answer: Yes they can, but it’s not their first preference. Bed bugs are opportunistic feeders. Though their preferred choice is Humans with exposed skin.

Bed bugs are attracted to body heat and the carbon dioxide we breathe out, which is why they mostly come out at night when you’re motionless and vulnerable to their attacks. Still, if humans aren’t available, bed bugs have been known to feed on other animals, like your pet cat. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a rare occurrence, and there’s no evidence to suggest a large-scale bed bug infestation in cat populations.

Now you’re probably wondering, “what happens if my cat gets bitten by bed bugs?” Most reported cases of cats bitten by bed bugs result in mild irritation, similar to how humans react. Cats are prone to scratching so there tends to be a greater risk of secondary infections due to their claws. Unlike humans, cats have a protective fur coat, which makes it harder for bed bugs to reach their skin. However, areas without fur, like the belly, could be more susceptible to bites.

In an infestation scenario where a cat is bitten by bed bugs, one thing you need to watch out for is your cat’s stress level. While physically, they might not suffer as much as a human would, a bed bug infestation could potentially distress your cat.

These insights should give you a clearer understanding of the likelihood and impact of bed bugs infesting cats. But remember, bed bugs are avoidable! By maintaining a regular hygiene routine for your cat and keeping your home clean, you can deter these pests from settling in. It’s better to prevent an infestation than to have to deal with one.

Signs of Bed Bugs on Cats

Recognizing the signs of bed bugs on cats early can be critical in preventing not only the comfort of your cat but also the infestation of your home. The presence of bed bugs isn’t always visible straight away. So let’s review the chief signs of bed bugs on cats.

Scratching and grooming – If you notice an uptick in your cat’s scratching or grooming, it’s a possibility bed bugs are the culprits. Whilst occasional itching and grooming are normal habits, an infestation prompts an overdrive of these actions. So, if your cat is scratching more than it normally does, it’s time to investigate.

Red marks and rashes – Bed bug bites can cause red marks and rashes on your cat’s skin. These spots often appear in linear rows or clusters.

Restlessness – Your cat may seem restful and, at times, irritable. Restlessness can occur because of the itchiness and irritation caused by bed bug bites. Keep an eye out if your cat’s not sleeping as much as usual or is unusually unsettled during rest periods.

Aside from actively observing your pet for these symptoms, it’s also worth physically inspecting your animal friend. Let’s look into a couple of techniques for verifying the presence of these pests:

  1. Visual Inspection – Regularly comb through your cat’s fur with a fine-toothed comb. Bed bugs are tiny, so watching for tiny brown or red dots can be helpful.
  2. Track Bed Bug Shells – Just like other bugs, bed bugs leave behind molted skins as they grow. Searching for these miniature shells in your cat’s sleeping area can serve as proof of infestation.

It’s important to bear in mind that while these symptoms might suggest the presence of bed bugs, they could also indicate other health issues. So, it’s always better to consult with a veterinarian to get proper diagnosis and treatment.

Preventing Bed Bugs in Your Home

Preventing Bed Bugs in Your Home

Having covered the signs of bed bugs in cats, another crucial part is understanding how to prevent these pesky critters from invading your home. Prevention is always the best course of action and saves you a lot of future discomfort, as well as potential costs associated with eliminating an infestation.

Firstly, maintain cleanliness and orderliness. Bed bugs are attracted to clutter. A messy environment offers numerous hiding spots for these bugs while making it tough for you to spot them. Regularly vacuum your home, particularly your cat’s favorite spots and its bedding. This simple practice plays a significant role in preventing a bed bug infestation.

Second on the list is regular inspections and treatments. Besides keeping a keen eye on your cat’s behavior, make a habit of visually inspecting for signs of bed bugs regularly. Ensure your cat’s bedding and your beddings are frequently washed in hot water, an environment that bed bugs find inhospitable.

Crucially, avoid bringing second-hand furniture or clothing into your home without proper inspection. These items can house these bugs without your knowledge, leading to a new infestation. In case you’ve traveled, make sure to thoroughly check your luggage for hitchhiking bed bugs before you bring it inside.

Your pets, cats included, might also become unwilling carriers. As a precaution, engage a professional pest control service before an infestation sets in. These experts can run routine checks and conduct preventive treatments in your home to keep it free from bed bugs.

If, perchance, you discover a bed bug infestation, consult a veterinarian immediately to work out a treatment plan for your cat. In tandem, hire a professional pest control service to thoroughly treat your home and ensure every tiny crevice is bed-bug-free. And remember, the quicker you act, the easier it is to control and ultimately rid your home of these pests.

Bed bug prevention measures are essential elements in maintaining a comfortable environment for you and your furry friend. Be proactive, stay cautious, and don’t skip regular inspections to keep your home and cats bed-bug-free. Putting these measures into practice will help in preventing an infestation and ensure your home stays bug-free.


So, can cats get bed bugs? Absolutely. But you’re not powerless in this fight. Bed bugs can be a nuisance, but with the right strategies, you can keep your cat and home safe. Remember, cleanliness is crucial and regular inspections can’t be overlooked. Think twice before bringing second-hand items into your home. If you’re dealing with an infestation, don’t delay. Get your cat to a vet and call in the professionals to treat your home. Being proactive is the best defense against bed bugs. By taking these steps, you’re creating a comfy, pest-free zone for you and your feline friend.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can bed bugs infest cats?

Yes, bed bugs can bite and infest cats, causing discomfort and potential health issues. It’s important to detect early signs of bed bugs to protect your feline friend.

2. What are the prevention methods against bed bug infestations?

The article suggests maintaining cleanliness, conducting regular inspections, and avoiding second-hand items. Engaging professional pest control services for checks and treatments is also recommended.

3. What should I do if my cat is infested by bed bugs?

In case of infestation, prompt actions are imperative, which include consulting a veterinarian for the cat and hiring pest control services to eradicate the bed bugs in your home.

4. Are professional pest control services necessary to maintain a bed-bug-free environment?

Yes, professional pest control services are highly suggested for regular routine checks and treatments. They possess the knowledge and treatment options to effectively keep bed bugs at bay.

5. How can proactive prevention measures ensure a comfortable environment for me and my cat?

Proactive prevention measures like regular cleanliness, careful inspections, and employing professional services can stop bed bugs before they become a fully-blown infestation and thus ensure a comfortable, bed-bug-free environment for you and your cat.