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Can Cats Carry and Spread Bed Bugs in Their Fur?

Everyone knows that the bed bug’s preferred type of dinner are humans. But are we the only item on the pest’s menu? What about our favorite feline companions? Can cats actually get bitten by bed bugs and carry and spread the insects in their fur?

In this blog post, we answer: 

  • Do bed bugs bite cats?
  • Can bed bugs travel on cats?
  • Can cats bring in bed bugs?

What are bed bugs anyway?

A bed bug is a tiny insect with a life goal to drink blood and make babies. Its favorite food source, as we mentioned, are humans.

But how does this bloodsucker end up in your home in the first place? Well, remember the questionable hotel room you stayed in on your last vacation? That’s how.

Bed bugs are known hitchhikers that like to travel by suitcase, sack, and even clothing.

Bed bug feeding habits

Similar to another annoying insect, the mosquito that is, bed bugs pierce the skin of their victim in order to access its blood. While having its dinner, the insect inserts saliva into its food source. This is the main cause of skin irritations after a bed bug attack.  

The bloodsuckers feed every couple of days and it takes them only 10-15 minutes to get completely full. If the insect doesn’t have any access to a food source, it can go up to 6 months without eating.

Where do bed bugs live?

Bed bugs can inhabit almost anyplace and anything.

From hospitals and hotels to apartments and thrift shops, as long as there is food, the vermin is moving house. As the name of the creature suggests, bed bugs tend to hide in beds, because this is the place you spend your most time in.

Still, here are a few other areas that the pest can make a home out of:

  • In your pet’s bedding
  • Soft furniture (sofas, pillows, chairs, etc.)
  • Electrical appliances and receptacles
  • Stuffed animals
  • Cracks in the wall
  • Under wallpaper

Photo by Jonathan Fink on Unsplash

Can my cat have bed bugs?

The answer here is no. And by that, we mean that your pet cannot bring the insect inside your home because the pest doesn’t like fur. You see, be bugs can’t craw freely through animal hair and they won’t lay their eggs their, either. Like we mentioned earlier in the article, bed bugs prefer to inhabit tight spaces.

Still, this doesn’t mean that the bloodsucker won’t make a meal out of your pet cat, especially if it can’t find a human food source nearby. And cats aren’t the only animal that can get attacked by the hungry insect. Dogs, rodents, even birds won’t be safe from a famished bed bug.

However, the good news is that even if your cat gets bitten by the insect, the pest will only be attached to it only for a couple of minutes and then it will go back to its hiding place.

Can my pet get sick from a bed bug bite?

Unlike ticks and fleas and other dangerous parasites, bed bugs don’t carry any diseases. However, your pet getting bit by a bed bug is not a good thing. A mark from this sort of parasite can lead to allergic reactions and skin infections caused by aggressive scratching. Learn about bed bug identification and treatment

Do cats eat or sense bed bugs?

Everyone knows that cats are passionate hunters. The moment they spot a moving, well, anything, consider it dead. With that being said, this rule doesn’t apply to bed bugs. Your feline companion will neither track down nor eat a bed bug. So, it’s a good idea to scratch this pest control method from your list of potential solutions.

How to take care of a bed bug problem

We asked the UK bed bug exterminator Jordan Foster for professional advice. Here are the steps you should undertake in case of signs of a bed bug infestation anywhere near your pets’ sleeping spot:

  1. Gather all of your cat’s stuffed toys and bedding and put them in the washing machine.  Turn your appliance on the highest heat setting to kill the pest.
  2. Clean the animal’s carrier with rubbing alcohol and thoroughly vacuum your cat’s sleeping place.
  3. Your third and last step is to call a pest control technician to check your home for more bed bugs. If you’ve spotted the pest near your pet’s bed, especially if it’s located in your living or bedroom, there is a huge chance that there are more representatives of the bed bug family in your property.

Is the pest treatment safe for my pets?

When it comes to treating properties with pets in them, professional pest control technicians tend to go for methods that include the use of chemicals. In such cases, it’s highly advisable to keep your cat or dog away from your home for at least 4 to 6 hours. After the required time has passed, you can let your pet in your house without any problems.

Is it true that cat litter can kill bed bugs?

Unlike other DIY pest control methods, this sort of treatment isn’t a myth. The type of cat litter that is made from silica gel crystals, when crushed and sprinkled around the infested areas, can actually kill bed bugs. The whole process is a bit gruesome, to be completely honest. You see, when the insect comes in contact with the crushed litter particles, the crystals tear up its insides and the parasites exoskeleton gets damaged, causing the pest to die.

Sounds a lot like a horror movie.

Still, this pest control method isn’t as effective as it sounds because:

  • A whole lot of bed bugs have to get in contact with the litter and the chances of that happening are low.  
  • You’ll have to buy a big amount of cat litter if you want to kill every single bloodsucker in your house.
  • Cat litter is bad for your health, especially crushed one. The idea of inhaling the substance doesn’t sound very pleasing, right?

Conclusion

To sum up everything, your cat can’t carry bed bugs, but can most certainly get bitten by them. If you spot any signs of the pest’s presence in your home, we highly advise getting a professional exterminator to take care of the situation. After all, who wants to be taken captive by an icky bed bug army?

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