No, cats do not eat bed bugs. Cats do not consider insects to be an essential part of their normal diet. But if a curious cat comes upon a lone bed bug crawling on the wall, it is not surprising for the cat to pounce and put the bed bug in their mouth. Bed bugs have a distinct, unpleasant odor that a cat will pick up on, so the cat will most likely spit out the bed bug instead of ingesting it.
How do bed bugs feed?
Bed bugs are drawn to the carbon dioxide that their hosts exhale. They will then use their antennae and sensors to target a specific part of their host’s body to feed on.
A bed bug’s saliva contains an anesthetic component that will make the host unable to feel their bite. This is why humans cannot feel anything while the bed bug is in the process of feeding. Their saliva also has an anticoagulant that keeps the wound from healing or clotting while they feed.
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not nocturnal creatures. They will feed any time of the day as long as they are hungry.
It just so happens that most people sleep at night, and when their human host is asleep is when the bed bugs will feed. This is because this is the time of day when their host moves around the least. But if you work during the night and sleep during the day, your bed bugs will learn to adapt and feed during the day.
Do bed bugs bite cats?
Yes, bed bugs will feed on cats, but only usually when there are no human beings around. Basically, they prefer human blood when available.
If the bed bug senses the carbon dioxide expelled by a person from as far as 75 feet away, they will do what it takes to find the human before considering the cat that is much closer to them.
The reason for this is not because human blood tastes better for them, it is simply because the carbon dioxide signature is what is drawing them in.
When there are no human beings present, bed bugs will not think twice about feeding on a dog, cat, or even a bird.
Do bed bugs feed on cats?
Yes, bed bugs can feed on cats. Bed bugs will feed on any warm-blooded animal due to necessity. If there are humans, dogs, and cats in your home, the cat is probably the bed bug’s last target as they are the most sensitive to things crawling on them. They also have long claws that can easily dislodge bed bugs on their skin. This makes feeding on cat’s a difficult and dangerous task for bed bugs. But if the hunger is severe, they will certainly take a risk on feeding on your kitty.
Can cats carry bed bugs?
No, bed bugs are not like fleas or mites where they need to be on their host’s at all times. All a bed bug needs is five minutes of physical contact with their host for feeding, then they will go back to their harborage to spend the next week digesting the blood meal.
You are more likely to find your cat’s belongings infested with bed bugs than the cat itself. Check your cat’s beddings, crate, carriers, and toys for bed bugs.
If you are petting your cat on the couch and you find a bed bug on your cat, the bed bug most likely came from the couch. So, check under the couch cushions as it is probably infested.
What can I do to stop bed bugs from biting my cat?
Make sure to vacuum your pet’s bed often. Be sure to vacuum the seams. If their bed is washing machine and dryer safe, wash it in a hot cycle and dry it for at least 30 minutes.
If the cat’s bed is not washing machine safe or too big for the washing machine, try using a steam cleaner instead.
Putting it in the dryer for 3o minutes at the hottest temperature setting is crucial as bed bugs and their eggs die at 120 degrees Fahrenheit and over.
Make sure to not only vacuum the cat bed, but the surrounding areas as well. Inspect each of their toys for bed bugs and eggs. After vacuuming, seal the vacuum bag and dispose properly.
If you see any cracks and crevices on the wall and floor near your pet’s bed, caulk and seal them so bed bugs do not live in them.
Is there a bed bug shampoo for cats?
No, there is no specific cat shampoo that targets bed bugs. You can use a tick and flea shampoo from the vet. Do not use a dog shampoo on your cat as it might have some ingredients that are harmful to your cat. Do not use human shampoos, especially the ones that contain essential oils as this may be toxic to your cat.
Fortunately, as mentioned above, bed bugs do not stay on a cat’s fur or skin for long periods of time. A stray bed bug that you find on your cat’s fur may just be in the middle of a meal.
Can bed bugs transfer diseases to my cat?
No, bed bugs are known not to carry any communicable diseases, unlike ticks and fleas. That does not mean that their bites on cats are completely harmless. They can have allergic reactions to the bed bug bites and even skin infections if they scratch on the bite until it becomes a wound. So it is still best to make sure there are no bed bugs in your home for your cat’s safety.
No, it is unlikely for your cat to eat bed bugs. A cat can pick a bed bug up with its mouth if it gets curious upon seeing the insect, but it probably will not chew and swallow it. Bed bugs release a very pungent scent that may be unpleasant for the cat. Also, cats do not gain any nutritional value from ingesting bed bugs so they will not actively seek bed bugs out when they are hungry.
Image: istockphoto.com / OLENA SAKHATSKA