Bed Bugs on Cats: What You Need to Know

by | Jun 4, 2023 | 0 comments

When we talk about bed bugs, we often associate them with human hosts. But what about our furry friends, particularly cats? In this article, we delve into the topic of bed bugs on cats, and if you should be concerned.

Understanding Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are small, nocturnal insects that feed primarily on human blood. Contrary to popular belief, these pests can’t fly or jump, but they are excellent climbers. They’re also known for their resilience, making them particularly hard to eliminate.

Despite their name, bed bugs don’t just hide in beds. They can be found almost anywhere in a home, including on furniture like couches. So, the question arises: “Should I throw away my couch if it has bed bugs?” The short answer is not necessarily. While getting rid of infested furniture can help, it’s more important to have a comprehensive plan for bed bug control.

Bed Bug Life Cycle and Reproduction

Bed bugs multiply fast, with females laying hundreds of eggs over their lifetime. Their life cycle, from egg to adult, takes about 5 weeks under ideal conditions. You can find more about their reproduction rate and life cycle here.

Can Bed Bugs Infest Cats?

Bed bugs are not like fleas or ticks; they don’t live on their hosts. Instead, they hide in nearby cracks and crevices and only come out to feed. While they primarily target humans, they can feed on other mammals if necessary, including cats.

However, it’s important to note that bed bugs don’t choose cats as their primary hosts. The fur of cats makes it difficult for bed bugs to reach their skin for a blood meal. Therefore, bed bugs are more likely to infest a cat’s bedding or carrier rather than the cat itself.

That said, it’s still important to keep an eye on your pets if you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation. If your cat often sleeps in your bed, for instance, they could inadvertently transport bed bugs from one area to another.

Signs of Bed Bug Infestation in Your Cat’s Environment

Bed bugs leave several signs of their presence. You may see dark spots on your cat’s bedding, which could be their faecal matter. You might also find small, white eggs or shed skins. If your cat has been bitten, it may exhibit signs like itchiness, redness, or small, raised bumps on its skin.

For a detailed guide on how to identify bed bug presence, check out our article on bed bug behavior.

Dealing with Bed Bugs on Cats

Professional Pest Control

Bed bugs are extremely resilient and can be resistant to many over-the-counter treatments. That’s why it’s recommended to get professional help when dealing with an infestation. If you’re in Houston, our team at Houston Bed Bug Exterminator can provide you with a comprehensive solution to your bed bug problem.

Vacuuming and Cleaning

A thorough cleaning can help remove bed bugs and their eggs from your cat’s bedding. Vacuum all surfaces and wash all bedding in hot water. This can also help to reduce the number of bed bugs in your home. Read more about cleaning after bed bug treatment to ensure your cat’s safety.

Use of Insecticides

Some insecticides are safe for use around pets. However, always check the label and, if in doubt, consult with a pest control professional. Keep in mind that while insecticides can kill live bugs, they might not be as effective against eggs or hidden bugs.

Heat Treatment

Heat is a proven method to kill bed bugs at all stages of their life cycle. If your cat’s bedding or carrier can be put in the dryer, run it on high heat for at least 30 minutes. For larger items, or an overall infestation in the house, a professional heat treatment may be necessary.

Comparative Analysis: Bed Bugs, Fleas, and Ticks on Cats

While bed bugs can indeed pose a nuisance, other pests such as fleas and ticks tend to be much more common and can significantly compromise your cat’s health.
Below is a detailed comparison of these pests, considering three key factors: whether they live on the host, their potential for disease transmission, and the characteristics of their bites.

Fleas Ticks Bed Bugs
Lives on Host Yes Yes No
Disease Transmission Yes, can transmit Cat Scratch Disease, Tapeworms, Flea Allergy Dermatitis Yes, can transmit Lyme Disease, Cytauxzoonosis No known disease transmission
Bites Itchy, potential for secondary infections due to scratching Itchy, potential for secondary infections due to scratching Itchy, potential for secondary infections due to scratching

For more information, visit the following government websites:

To help you differentiate, we’ve also covered a detailed comparison on bed bug bites vs hives that may help in identifying bed bug bites.

Preventing Bed Bugs on Cats

The best defence against bed bugs is prevention. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Regularly inspect your cat’s bedding and carrier for signs of bed bugs.
  2. Vacuum regularly and promptly wash your cat’s and your own bedding.
  3. Be cautious when travelling. Bed bugs can hitch a ride on luggage, clothing, and other items.
  4. Consider using a protective cover on your cat’s bed that is designed to prevent bed bugs.
  5. If you suspect a bed bug infestation, contact a professional pest control service like Houston Bed Bug Exterminator for advice and treatment.

Remember, bed bugs can smell human blood, but they’re less attracted to cats. Nonetheless, taking preventive measures is key to keep these pests away from your home and your furry friends.


How can you tell if your cat has bed bugs?

Bed bugs infesting cats is rare. However, if you suspect your cat has bed bugs, look for signs such as unexplained bites or skin irritations. Consult a veterinarian for proper diagnosis.

How do I get rid of bed bugs on my cat?

It is essential to consult a veterinarian for appropriate treatment options if you suspect bed bugs on your cat. They can provide guidance on safe and effective methods to eliminate bed bugs.

What happens if a bed bug bites a cat?

Bed bug bites on cats are uncommon. If a bed bug bites your cat, it may cause skin irritations or allergic reactions. Monitor your cat’s condition and seek veterinary care if necessary.

What instantly kills bed bugs?

While various methods can help control bed bugs, there is no instant solution. Professional extermination services, heat treatments, or insecticide applications are commonly used to eliminate bed bugs effectively.

Do bed bugs hide in cat fur?

Bed bugs typically prefer human hosts and their living environments. They do not commonly hide in cat fur or on animals. However, it is crucial to ensure a bed bug-free environment for the well-being of both pets and humans.

Where do bed bugs hide on your body?

Bed bugs are nocturnal pests that hide in cracks, crevices, and furniture near sleeping areas. They tend to stay close to their human hosts and can hide in bedding, mattresses, furniture, and wall cracks.

Can Bed Bugs Live in Cat Litter?

No, bed bugs cannot live in cat litter. Bed bugs typically prefer to hide in cracks and crevices near their human hosts, such as in mattresses, furniture, or baseboards. They feed on human blood and do not infest cat litter o r use it as a habitat.

Can bed bugs make cats sick?

Bed bugs do not typically make cats sick. Bed bugs primarily feed on human blood and prefer human hosts. While it is possible for bed bugs to bite cats, they are not their preferred food source. Bed bug bites can cause itching and discomfort for both humans and animals, including cats.

Can bed bugs lay eggs on cats?

No, bed bugs do not lay eggs on cats. Bed bugs prefer to lay their eggs in hidden areas close to their human hosts, such as in cracks and crevices near beds, furniture, or baseboards. While bed bugs can bite cats, they do not infest or lay eggs on them. Cats are not suitable habitats for bed bugs to reproduce and sustain their population.

What attracts bed bugs?

Bed bugs are attracted to warmth, carbon dioxide, and human scent. They are primarily attracted to sleeping areas, where they can easily access a blood meal from humans during the night.

To conclude, bed bugs can be a nuisance to humans and pets alike. However, with the right information and professional help, you can keep your home and your pet’s bed bug-free. Reach out to us for a detailed cost estimate for bed bug extermination.

Duane Cepeda is a highly skilled and experienced bed bug exterminator with a passion for creating pest-free living spaces. With a keen eye for detail and a thorough understanding of bed bug behavior, Duane is dedicated to providing effective and tailored solutions to help clients rid their homes of these persistent pests. Trusted by many, Duane Cepeda is committed to delivering top-notch pest control services that ensure peace of mind and a good night’s sleep for his customers.


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