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Can Cat Fleas Bite Humans?

"Can cat fleas bite humans? Feline fleas can bite pets and humans. Symptoms are itch and red skin. Fleas prefer cats as their host over humans."

Can cat fleas bite humans is a concern if you have a pet in the home that is suffering from fleas. The cat flea will feed on cats and humans with preference for the cat since their coat is a better protective environment.

Female fleas lay up to 50 eggs a day. The eggs hatch into larvae, which feed on "flea dirt," excrement of partially digested blood. Larvae grow and molt twice, then spin cocoons, where they grow to pupae and then adults. The adult remains in the cocoon until vibrations indicate a host is nearby. This waiting can extend the life cycle and explain why an infestation can just appear.

Six-legged adults emerge and attach to a host to feed and breed, beginnning the cycle all over again. The eggs drop from the host such as your cat and drop all over the house. They go into the carpet, under furniture and other random areas. After hatching, if they do not find a host they will die for 1 to 2 weeks.

Common household fleas don't usually transmit diseases to pets and people. In rare cases they can transmit bubonic plague. Symptoms of bubonic plague include fever, headache, vague discomfort, and very painful, swollen lymph nodes near the infection site. Antibiotics are used for treatment. There is a vaccine for this disease. Early diagnosis is critical,

For more on feline fleas and how to treat your cat see our guide on cat fleas.

Sources

Food and Drug Administration
FDA Consumer magazine (July-August 1996)

 

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