6 Reasons Cats Get Fleas When They Don’t Go Outside

why your indoor cat still gets fleas

Keeping your cat indoors is an excellent way to ensure its safety and minimize exposure to harmful elements outside. However, despite this precaution, parasites like fleas can still manage to take hold of your cats. There are several ways for fleas to make their way to your home.

It is essential to be aware of how fleas can get into your home so you can take appropriate steps to protect your cat. Prevention is always better than cure. Cats suffering from fleas can become very irritable. Their skin can become inflamed, and their fur can be pretty unkempt. In extreme cases, cats develop bald patches and rashes, which can cause further illness.

Because fleas multiply so quickly, it can be hard to treat them. But with the right cautionary attitude, you can prevent extensive stress on you and your cat. And remember, whether you have an outdoor or indoor cat, ensure you’re regularly treating your pets for fleas.

Here are 6 reasons why your indoor cat still gets fleas:

1. Fleas are getting in through your other pets

Fleas are getting in through your other pets

Perhaps one of the most common ways for your sheltered indoor cat to get fleas was through the fleas that your other pets, such as dogs, may have brought inside. Most pet dogs get their exercise by going on walks outside. If a pet owner has both a cat and a dog, there’s a huge possibility that one of them can get fleas from the other.

Neighbor pets or strays may also be a source of fleas. Birds, guinea pigs, rabbits, raccoons, possums, squirrels, and even skunks may have borne fleas that may have gone to your pets when they came into close contact.

Sometimes, even on a monthly preventive, dogs don’t wholly repel all fleas. Flea preventives need to take some time before they start taking effect. Fleas can jump from your dog to your cat before the preventive medicine takes effect.

What you can do is have year-round flea prevention for all your pets. Implementing this is imperative, particularly in the warm months during spring and summer. Warm weather is more conducive for fleas to reproduce.

Regularly check on your cat and other pets for fleas and other parasites. Bathe them regularly and feel through their fur if there are unexpected small lumps that may be fleas latching on.

When you bring your dog out, be mindful of where he goes. Avoid flea-infested and dirty areas. Stay away from strays and other dogs as much as possible, as your dog may contract their fleas.

2. Fleas are getting in through humans

Fleas are getting in through humans

You can get focused thinking about cats and fleas all the time. But don’t overlook that humans can play a potential role in delivering fleas to your indoor cat. Fleas are notoriously tiny and can lay eggs in all places. Fleas can hang onto people’s clothing and shoes and ride them until they reach your home.

Despite not having wings for flying, fleas can jump ridiculously high and huge distances, which makes hopping onto people very doable.

You may have brought fleas to your home after spending an afternoon outdoors. Perhaps your housemates or other visitors who may be exposed to other pets can also carry fleas to your house. Your cat is an easy target once a flea carried by a person gets access to your abode.

Whenever having guests, you should always clean up after them. Wash your floors, bathrooms, couches, towels, upholstery, and sheets. If you think your cat may have fleas from your guest, check your cat’s fur immediately. Fleas usually go directly behind a cat’s head, along the back by the tail base, or on the underbelly.

Be alert whenever you see “flea dirt” or black specks that are flea’s fecal matter. This is a sure sign that fleas may already be infecting your cat.

3. Fleas are getting in through rats

Fleas are getting in through rats

As the fight between cats and fleas continues, you must consider a third party that can carry fleas at home. Cats and dogs are not the only animals that fleas love to target. They also target furry rodents such as rats and mice.

Unfortunately, some homes can be victims of rodent infestation. And with these rats, there bring with them their own fleas. Rodents are numerous and highly filthy, making them a perfect host of microbes, parasites, and fleas. And while rodents are easy to spot and are large enough to be kept away, the fleas that jump from them are harder to track.

You should keep your floors and countertops clean. Don’t leave food scraps or crumbs lying around, as it always attracts mice and rats. Make sure to clean your cupboards and the nooks and crannies of your kitchen.

When using traps, choose humane options. Install metal screens over openings on pipe openings for plumbing and ventilation. Seal your screens, windows, and doors to keep any rodents out.

4. Fleas are getting in through secondhand furniture

Fleas are getting in through secondhand furniture

Ordering stuff online has been the norm, especially when the pandemic hit. Unfortunately, our packages and the items we buy online can be a mode of entry for fleas to get into our homes. This is especially true when purchasing secondhand mattresses, couches, or other furniture with multiple fabrics and upholstery. 

Fleas thrive in warm and humid environments. You need to take specific measures to keep your cat away from potential flea-infested packages. To keep our homes free of fleas, we need to be vigilant about our purchase habits and ensure that we take all of the necessary precautions to keep them out.

Treat your packages with a flea spray before you bring them inside. Be wary of getting secondhand furniture, especially if the seller has pets. This furniture may likely house some fleas and their eggs. 

The same level of caution should be in high gear when buying in garage sales and bargain shops. 

5. Fleas are already inside your new home – Spoiler Alert: It’s flea-infested!

Fleas are already inside your new home

The process of moving can be stressful enough, but adding the worry of fleas on top of that can be incredibly daunting. On the one hand, there’s the excitement of having a new home. Still, on the other, the worry of living in a flea-infested space would be very problematic for your indoor cat.

Kittens and fleas are never a good combination. When you move to a new place, be it a new house, a condominium, or an apartment, you need to check tell-tale signs that it might be flea-infested.

The first sign is if the place is covered with carpets and has central heating. This is the kind of environment where fleas and their eggs thrive. Most of the time, people see fleas where pets of previous owners used to spend the most time, such as on beds and furniture.

So whenever you and your cat move to a new place, have a professional cleaning service clean the entire house before you move in. It’s also an excellent preventive solution to have a home fogger. 

Fleas have a nasty habit of being almost invisible to humans, so don’t take them lightly. They may not be easy to see, but their effects on your beloved pet cat would be felt painfully.

6. Fleas are getting in because your cat picked them up when they slipped out

how do Cats Get Fleas When They Don't Go Outside

Sometimes, as much as we would want to believe that we have our cat under control all the time, our fickle pets can figure out a way to sneak out of our homes from time to time. Your cat could have picked up fleas from other feral or stray cats they may have met outside.

It’s also possible that your indoor cat may have fleas from the few times you went out, be it when visiting the veterinarian or the groomers. These facilities are often visited by different pets, such as dogs and cats. Fleas may have made their way there and jumped directly to your cat’s fur.


Your cat must be on veterinarian-recommended flea prevention all year round. Fleas are very bothersome to handle. However, it’s not impossible to get rid of them as long as you rigorously follow the doctor’s advice on how to take care of your cat.

Make sure that you follow your doctor’s prescription as they take into account your cat’s personal medical history. Each cat has specific needs. Do not take formulated prevention willy-nilly, as it may be disastrous for your cat if you mix up the dosage.

Fleas on indoor cats are definitely a big problem. Just keeping them indoors is not a guaranteed way to keep them away from these parasites. This is even more problematic if you have kittens who have more sensitive skin and are not yet able to adapt to a high level of discomfort. Aside from the irritation, fleas are carriers of even more harmful parasites such as tapeworms and other viruses. Always check your cat for fleas to ensure a healthy home environment.

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