Many major developed countries like the US had erased all possible signs of bed bugs. But bed bugs have now come back with a vengeance! Bugs have always been an unwelcome companion that, once into our homes, are hard and expensive to control and eradicate.
It gets even more expensive and painful when it hits your feline friend. From mopping up dirt, dusting leaves off their fur to applying flea medication every month, it’s challenging to keep your furry pets safe and healthy, especially when bed bugs latch onto your cats for a quick snack.
While you must be worried about if bed bugs live on cats, what parts they affect, and what disease they can cause, we have come up with the best solutions and answers to all these problems.
Observing Bed Bugs Keenly
The name of bed bugs is justified by their habit of taking refuge in the beds and feeding on humans (and mammals). Bed bugs are blood-sucking parasites that can develop or survive on the blood of birds and mammals. They usually target warm-blooded animals, poultry and other birds. As explained in the language of science, these are the insects from the Cimicidae family, associated with humans and mammals. They feed on blood every 8-10 days but can go months without a meal.
Though they do not really cause serious diseases but can cause anemia, pruritus, allergic reactions, discomfort, and sleeplessness. The worst trouble that they bring apart from being expensive and difficult to eradicate is how they affect your cats and dogs.
Now that we know that these bloodsuckers survive on blood, the question that might hit you is how do your little feline friends attract them and if bed bugs can live on cats? Let’s find out.
Can Cats attract bed bugs?
A bed bug is lured mainly by two things: body heat and carbon dioxide.
By following these traces, they find their way to their hosts. Apart from humans, cats, dogs and other pets emit carbon dioxide and heat and can find your cats as easily as they can find you.
But remember, cats can’t attract bed bugs without an existing infestation nearby. So when someone tells you a bed bug infestation can’t just come from nowhere, that’s true. Bed bugs tend to find their new hosts from within six feet but can also explore beyond that to find a host.
Potentially, if a neighbor has bed bugs, your cat can lure them. But if there are no reports of bed bugs in your neighborhood, there’s nowhere for your cat to attract them.
However, a question that might occur to you is can bed bugs live on cats? The answer is No! Bed bugs cannot live on their hosts but they can make your pet’s bed a source of infestation. So inspect it thoroughly and use a heat treatment, such as washing in hot water if possible – this will kill the bed bugs and their infestation, but the water needs to be above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Which Body Parts of Cats do Bed Bugs live on?
Bed bugs are more attracted to bite the part that has less hair and fur. This is the reason if you wake to a bed bug bite, it is more likely to be on your back or legs than your scalp.
Similarly with cats, bed bugs prefer parts where they can get easier access to the skin. They hate to dig around and into the fur because their shapes inhibit them. Bed bugs prefer to bite open areas like:
- Part of the leg
This may vary from one cat to another. If checking for bed bugs, look in the areas where your cat has the least fur.
Cat breeds with longer or thicker fur including Somali, Ragdoll, Siberian, Persian, etc. are less likely to be affected because of the excess fur.
Get Rid of Bed Bugs on Cats
Controlling and eradicating bed bugs can be a little challenging as they hide in cracks and crevices. Well, despite them being hideous, these amazing home remedies and aromas can be a dual healing potion for you and death to bed bugs. Use these easy tricks for preventing bed bugs on cats:
- Use citrus scents like lemon in areas of suspected bed bug activity.
- Spread crushed peppermint leaves or peppermint oil around infested areas.
- Spraying areas diluted alcohol with water can do wonders
- The smell of garlic can make bed bugs uncomfortable.
- Sprinkle cayenne powder in suspected areas.
You can also use the chemical pyrethrins to kill bed bugs and its eggs.
Can Bed Bugs live in Cat Litter?
A lot of cat parents ask the question: can bed bugs live in cat litter?
The answer is No! Bed bugs can’t live in cat litter for several reasons, most significantly being that contact with cat litter dries them out and eventually kills them. Cat litter is often made from silica gel crystals, and if crushed and sprinkled around infested areas, will kill bed bugs. Crushing cat litter might be tricky, but nonetheless, it means you have at least one bed bug treatment permanently available!
Crushed cat litter needs to be a fine powder and once done, sprinkle it around your furniture, bed, boxes, and cracks. The crystals cut the exoskeleton of the bed bugs it meets, and soon cuts through to softer tissue, killing the bed bug.
Although there is no fail-safe way to ensure you and your pets do not bring bed bugs into your home, the measures mentioned here can help reduce the risk significantly.