Can cat fleas bite humans? Unfortunately, the answer is yes! If you and your family have been exposed to cat fleas, you all need to get treatment for the cat flea bites as soon as possible. Never take the red and itchy patches on your legs lightly if you are a cat owner. Moreover, always keep your cat flea-free and take prophylactic measures to avoid cat flea bites.
Keep reading to find about how to get rid of the cat fleas on humans. Furthermore, we have also provided the red flag symptoms and the treatment for cat flea bites on humans. Also, get to know how to keep your adorable fur-ball flea-free.
Can Cat Fleas Bite Humans?
Cat Fleas can bite and feed on humans and cause various symptoms described below. However, the cat fleas can’t attach to the hairless (fur-less) humans. Therefore, they can’t breed on humans.
Cat fleas can only live and breed on cats as they can attach to the furry bodies of the cats.
What do Adult Cat Fleas look Like to Human Eye?
Have you ever noticed 4mm wingless creatures on your cat? Most probably, the wingless creature is a cat flea.
Following features describe adult cat fleas (parasite) present on a cat that constantly itches her/his body;
- Cat fleas have a large abdomen that stores blood.
- In addition, cat fleas have four short front legs and two long hind legs for jumping.
- The head consists of a mouth designed to suck blood by piercing the host’s body.
Fleas Life Cycle
Cat fleas undergo a life cycle of egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. First, eggs are laid on the cat by the adult female cat fleas. Then the eggs convert to the larvae stage, in which the cat fleas look like a worm with sensory hairs visible under a microscope. After 12 days, the worm turns to the pupae. Finally, an adult cat flea is formed that sucks the blood from the host.
The whole life cycle of cat fleas lasts 30-75 days, depending on temperature and humidity.
Female cat fleas can lay eggs on humans, rodents, rabbits, etc. as well. However, the life cycle of fleas is only completed if the eggs are laid on the furry cats. (Remember that the cat and dog fleas are of different species. But, they can infect each other).
Cat Fleas Symptoms on Humans
Surprisingly, the symptoms of cat fleas bite on humans and cats are the same. Following are the signs that you should search for if you suspect cat flea bites on humans;
- Red skin at the site of the bite.
- Severe Itching: Cat fleas release anticoagulants, present in their saliva, during the bite. Anticoagulants improve the flow of your blood, which makes it easier for cat fleas to suck your blood. However, our immune system recognizes the anticoagulant as a foreign substance that leads to inflammation and itching.
- Swelling (due to an allergic reaction)
- Irritability and discomfort at the site of the bite.
- Infection: If you have scratched the bite area multiple times, the site will get infected by the bacteria, resulting in further discomfort.
So, if you ever notice your cat scratching and biting her body, stay away from the cat and visit the veterinarian as soon as possible to get rid of the cat fleas.
How to Treat Cat Flea Bites on Humans?
You can treat the cat flea bites on humans by taking the below measures;
- Wash the cat flea bite site with an antiseptic soap.
- Shower every day and wash everything in your home such as; bed sheets, table cloths, your clothes, etc.
- Vacuum the whole house.
- Resist scratching your body. However, if you can’t stop yourself from itching, apply Alo vera gel, calamine lotion, or anesthetic creams as they all relieve the itching.
- Use ice to reduce swelling.
- You can take anti-histamines to treat any allergic reaction after consulting a doctor.
- Apply any flea or lice shampoo to your hair and beard. After 10 minutes, wash your hair and beard. Also, comb your hair to eliminate any eggs and fleas.
- Once you are sure that you are flea-free, change the comb.
- You can use an anti-flea spray over your body or make your own by adding 10% essential oils and 90% boiled water.
- Use antibiotics prescribed by the doctor for the infected flea bite area.
How to Prevent Cat Flea Bites in Humans?
The first step to avoid cat fleas’ bite on humans is to prevent and treat cat fleas in cats as cats are the main source.
You can follow the below instructions to prevent cat flea bites in humans;
- Clean the area where your cat lives every day
- Shower your cat at least once in 2-4 weeks
- Comb and shampoo your fuzzball frequently. Combing your cat will remove the eggs from its fur.
- Vacuum the house regularly
- Spray the baseboards with flea insecticides
- Dispose of any dirt as soon as you can as it can be a source of flees.
- Steam clean the carpets to get rid of any fleas and eggs.
- Carbaryl (Sevin), resmethrin, Methoxychlor, and Malathion can be used around the house to get rid of the fleas.
- Use chemicals such as lufenuron (Program), imidacloprid (Advantage), fipronil (Frontline) around the house to control flea infestations.
- Keep your cat indoors as the cats that go outside can get fleas from other stray and unhygienic cats.
Tip: Cat fleas migrate to the head if they notice water on the cat’s body. Therefore, apply shampoo on the neck of your cat first before applying it to the body. This way, you can get rid of the fleas and eggs from your cat’s body effectively.
Treatment of Cat Flea Bites in Cats
Visit the veterinarian, and the veterinarian will inform you about the ‘on-cat’ treatment. The on-cat control of fleas begins by treating the cat with products to attract the fleas. Then, the cat roams around the house to attract the fleas, and when the fleas suck the treated blood of the cat by pills and liquids, the fleas die. The fleas can also be killed as they come in contact with the products sprayed on the cat’s body.
You can also use anti-flea collars or anti-flea sprays. Begin by applying the anti-flea sprays on a small area of the cat’s body. If you don’t observe any adverse effects for an hour, you can apply it to your cat’s body by avoiding eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and the genital area.
However, make sure never to buy anti-flea collars and sprays containing permethrins or cypermethrin, as both compounds are toxic to the cat.
Can Cat Flea Transmit other Diseases?
The cat fleas can transmit multiple diseases rarely, such as;
- Bubonic plague that can be treated with antibiotics
- Typhus presenting with recurrent high fever, chills, headache (headaches), and generalized skin rashes.
- Flea allergy dermatitis that is an eczematous itchy skin disease in cats and dogs
In addition, cat fleas can be a source of tapeworms and cause anemia in humans.
What do fleas do to humans?
Fleas can bite humans and produce itching and swelling. In addition, fleas can transmit typhus and bubonic plague in humans rarely.
Can humans get cat fleas?
Yes, humans can get cat fleas. Fleas can only bite and feed on humans. They can’t live on humans as they face difficulty in attaching to the hair-less body of humans.
Can cat fleas live on dogs?
Yes, they can, even though the cat fleas and dog fleas are of different species.
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Cat flea bites on humans should always be taken seriously. If you ever notice your cat scratching her/his body, always visit the veterinarian. Treat your cat, use anti-flea sprays and apply chemicals around the house to eliminate a flea infestation. Never scratch your body frequently as the site of flea bites can get secondarily infected by bacteria resulting in a severe condition.