What are they?
Bed bugs are a type of insects that feed on human and animal blood. They are small, about the size of an apple seed, oval-shaped and brown in color with a musty, or moldy smell.
On humans, their bites often result in skin redness, bleeding, blistering, and itchiness. Too many bites can lead to urticaria. Some people may have a fever, feel tired in case of many bites. However, they are not known to transmit any infectious diseases.
These bloodsuckers often hide in cracks, crevices, folds or hollow on bed rails or stands, in headboards footboard and end seams. They can also hide in furniture cabinet, drawers, boxes especially sides or bottom areas, on carpet edges, in cracks or hollows on walls, floor, or any other isolated, dark place.
Dried blood spots, their feces (dark and rusty), their smell and their shells may be a way to detect them. You can also see them while looking at the various place they hide.
Finally, when they detect either a heartbeat or carbon dioxide emission, these insects know that there is a potential host. This is how they are attracted to cats, dogs, human beings, or other animals.
Do they bite kitties?
Yes. Bed bugs can bite cats, dogs, and other animals. Usually, they will target or feed on areas where there is less fur and easier to access. However, they will prefer humans that other animals.
In case they bite your fluffy friend, you are likely to find their bites on areas such as their belly, ears, and some areas of their legs or any other place that has lesser fur and easy to access.
Usually, cats that have a dense coat or long fur will be less affected as these parasites will have lesser places to bite. As they attack your cat, they are unlikely to dig deep into their fur to find spots they can bite.
If you suspect that your feline pal has been bitten by these bugs, check on areas that are more exposed and easier to access where you may notice symptoms like those they cause when they bite human beings.
Bed bug bites on cats will result in pink welts or skin redness. Your feline may begin scratching or excessively grooming the affected area after a few days. Scratching may break the skin, cause bleeding, and open a gateway for possible secondly skin infections.
However, such bites may also be caused by mosquito bites. If there is a heavy infestation, you will these pink welts in a line since they can detect scents of other bed bugs and will want to be near them.
Some kitties may not show any evident signs of bites just as in the case of human beings and allergic reactions may also occur in rare cases.
Finally, unless they are severely bitten, in most cases, no treatment is required besides getting rid of these bloodsuckers.
Can bed bugs live on cats?
No. They do not live on kitties. These parasites are not engineered to crawl on animal fur and they do not nest or lay eggs on animals. They are not like fleas, ticks, or mites which may live on your felines or canines.
This is further affirmed by PetMD who notes that “a bed bug will attach to its host to feed for about five minutes and then detach, meaning it is very unlikely that you will find an actual bed bug on a person or pet.”
Can cats carry bed bugs
The next big concern is whether cats can bring bed bugs, i.e., spread them or if they can travel through them from one place to another?
To begin with, the main way in which they are transmitted is through infested (having eggs or bugs) items such as clothing, bedding, language, furniture, bags, and so on in homes, hotel, airplanes, vehicles and so on.
Also, they can crawl to nearby areas and some species may be spread by wild animals such as bats and birds to whom they are parasites.
Your cat cannot carry, spread or help bedbugs to travel from one place to another. In fact, we have already mentioned they do not live on them. Therefore, it is unlikely that your feline or dog brought these creepy-crawly blood-sucking critters to your home.
Finally, it is not impossible for them to be on your feline’s fur especially if they wake up while still sucking them. However, they cannot carry them far since they will hear them moving and get rid of them.
can cats detect bed bugs or kill them?
Ordinarily, they will not detect, pursue or chase them because they are always hiding unless they are trained to do so. However, if they are on them, they may bite them or kill them. Also, if they spot them, they may try hunting them as they do to other bugs.
According to Zappbug.com, cats be trained to kill these bedbugs. Usually, they are trained and rewarded with a potent catnip. Initially, they are trained to chase laser dots then the laser dots are used to show them where these parasites are. Once they see them, they smash them with their paws.
Eventually, they can be able to kill them without being guided by lasers to get their rewards. Once trained and owning their great sense of smell, they can be used at home to find and kill these parasites, i.e., such cats can smell bed bugs, find and kill them.
Do cats eat bed bugs?
While they may be trained to kill them using their paws or bite them, they will not eat them. They are not among the bugs that these pets often pursue such as crickets, grasshoppers and so on.
Bed bugs and cat litter
Is it possible for these blood-sucking insects to be hiding or living inside your cat litter? No. They cannot live in your feline friend’s litter since they are not burrowers.
However, they might hide under litter trays or if it has cracks or hollows especially on the outer surface and it is placed in a dark place.
Secondly, if the litter is made from silica, it will dehydrate and kill them. In fact, the use of ground silica is one of the ways to kill these parasites. You need to grind it and sprinkle it on areas that are infested.
However, they can hide in their toys, bedding or areas where your cat lives if it has hollows and crevices.
How to get rid of bed bugs on cats
We have noted that these vermin do not live on cats. Therefore, there is no special way to get rid of them that applies to these pets.
Getting rid of them will involve things such as cleaning your bedding, curtain, clothing, etc., with hot water, vacuuming everywhere they may hide, sealing any cracks, brushing your mattress with a stiff brush to get rid of their eggs or extermination by a pet-safe chemical.
- When they bite you, you are unlike to feel much pain because as they pierce your skin, they leave anesthesia and a blood anticoagulant to help blood flow easily.
- They can live for up to 5 months without a blood meal and still survive
- They quickly multiply as one female can lay up to 200 to 500 eggs in her lifetime.
- They can sense carbon dioxide about 100 feet far and infrared signal to detect their host.