A Cat Relaxes in its Cat House | FRONTLINE® Flea and Tick Protection
A Cat Relaxes in its Cat House | FRONTLINE® Flea and Tick Protection

4 Ways Indoor Cats Get Fleas

All cats are at risk of getting fleas—yes, even if your cat lives indoors. There are many ways your indoor cat can get fleas, from moving into a new home to taking a routine trip to the vet. Keep reading to learn how flea infestations can start, how to protect your indoor cat from fleas, and fight off flea infestations.

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Can Indoor Cats Get Fleas?

It’s easy to assume that only pets who spend time outdoors are at risk of getting fleas, but the fact is that indoor cats are also susceptible to flea infestations. It’s important to be aware of the risks and regularly check your cat for fleas. What appears to be one single flea can very quickly turn into a full-blown flea infestation, which can be dangerous to your cat

How Indoor Cats Pick Up Fleas:

1. People in the House

Did you know fleas have been known to jump as far as 13 inches? That’s nearly 200 times their own body length!1 This makes it easy for fleas to hop onto humans in search of a host, clinging to their clothing or shoes. You, or anyone else who enters your home, could unknowingly bring fleas indoors to your cat’s environment.  


This is even more likely if there are wild animals in your neighborhood, like rabbits and opossums, that pass through your yard. If those animals are infested, they may be dropping flea eggs around your yard that will eventually hatch and make their way indoors via a human host. These are sometimes referred to as “hitchhiker fleas.” 


Regular deep cleaning can help rid your home of any hitchhiker fleas that may have gotten in. This includes vacuuming the carpets and washing all bedding, upholstery, and furniture. It’s important to do this routinely, but especially after guests have visited your home. 

2. Other Animals

If you have other pets in the home who do spend time outdoors, they may also be bringing fleas into your cat’s environment. For example, most dogs take several bathroom breaks a day, and they also go on walks or to the dog park. Your dog could be bringing fleas home that can then jump onto your cat. 


You should also be aware of other pets who enter your home, like a friend bringing their puppy over for a playdate, since other people’s pets carry the same risk of bringing fleas into your home. 


To reduce your cat’s risk in these situations, continue to clean and vacuum frequently, especially after having guests. It’s also important to treat all dogs and cats in your home with monthly species-appropriate flea and tick prevention, and make sure everyone is up-to-date on their vaccinations.

3. Other Places Cats Visit

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Your indoor cat may never venture into the yard, but trips away from the home are still necessary. Common places your cat may visit include the vet’s office, a boarding facility, or maybe even the pet groomer.  


To protect indoor cats against fleas while away from the house, ensure that each place you visit with your cat follows proper cleaning protocols. Don’t be afraid to ask about the business’s cleaning practices or other measures they take to prevent the spreading of fleas.  


Of course, the best way to reduce the chances of a flea infestation on your cat is to treat your cat with monthly flea and tick protection.  

A Cat Sits in an Open Pet Carrier | FRONTLINE® Flea and Tick Protection A Cat Sits in an Open Pet Carrier | FRONTLINE® Flea and Tick Protection

4. New Home and Furniture

Humans aren’t the only ones who call a house a home—parasites may be doing the same! If you’re moving into a new house or apartment, be aware that the previous homeowner could have had fleas living there. 


Places with carpeting and central heating provide the perfect conditions for fleas to thrive year-round. Since flea eggs and flea larvae can survive in the carpet for months at a time, it’s possible that there may still be an infestation, even if the home has been vacant for some time. 


Furniture may also be a mode of transportation for fleas. Use caution when purchasing used furniture from a thrift store, garage sale, or online. 


If you’re moving into a new home or bringing home used furniture, it’s a good idea to do some serious cleaning before you move in. You may even hire professional cleaners to deep clean the home and/or furniture beforehand.  

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My Indoor Cat Has Fleas. What Do I Do?

It’s much more ideal to prevent than to have a full-blown infestation that can take months to get rid of. But while it’s never ideal to find fleas on your cat, there are ways to treat your cat and prevent future flea infestations. Even if you’ve never found a flea on your cat, there are measures you can take to prevent an infestation from happening in the future.

Best Practices for Protecting Your Cat From Fleas

Flea Inspections

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Make it a habit to perform regular flea inspections on your cat. While it’s convenient to turn your cat on their back for this, many cats aren’t comfortable with this. It may be easier to wait until your cat is relaxed and just run your fingers through their fur, going against the direction of the hair, to look for bumps or fleas.


When searching for fleas, pay close attention to areas where fleas can easily hide. This includes the armpits, groin, and ears. Flea combs are also helpful, because their tiny teeth are designed to catch and remove fleas from your cat’s skin. When using a flea comb, get as close to the skin as possible and have a bowl of soap and warm water on hand for rinsing the comb in between brushes.

A Cat is Being Inspected for Fleas | FRONTLINE® Flea and Tick Protection A Cat is Being Inspected for Fleas | FRONTLINE® Flea and Tick Protection


Maintaining a regular cleaning routine at home can also help prevent infestations. Vacuuming carpets, washing bedding, and cleaning furniture and upholstery can remove flea eggs from your cat’s environment. When vacuuming, be sure to empty the bag into a trash can outdoors and not inside the house. 

Yard Maintenance

Fleas generally prefer shady places. Knowing this, here are some things you can do to make your yard less attractive to fleas: 

  • Mow the grass frequently. This exposes the soil to sun, discouraging fleas from thriving there. 
  • Avoid over-watering the lawn and garden. Leaving your yard dry makes it less inviting to fleas. 
  • Use pet-friendly insecticides. These products make your property less prone to fleas. Products like diatomaceous earth kill fleas and are safe for use around humans and pets. 
  • Rake leaves and debris. Removing yard debris eliminates places where fleas can hide and increases the fleas’ exposure to any insecticides you may be using. 
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Treat With Monthly Flea and Tick Protection

Treating your indoor cat with a monthly flea preventive is the best way to keep fleas away (and don't forget to treat all animals in your house with an appropriately approved product, too). FRONTLINE® Brand Products kill existing fleas and stop flea eggs and larvae from maturing into adults, preventing future infestations.