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If You Have Indoor Cats, Do You Still Provide Flea Control?

I let feral cats in my garage, so I fight fleas. But what if your cat is indoor only? What do you do?

 |  Jun 6th 2013  |   46 Contributions


It’s that time of year again when all of the pesky insects literally come out of the woodwork, trees, bushes, grass, and ground. It’s very difficult to avoid them while you’re outside. Ants, flies, mosquitos, ticks, and fleas seem to magically appear when the weather gets warm. I think we’d all agree that they’re a pain in the hind quarters to us humans and our animals alike.

For our animals, the flea seems to be the biggest pest of all. I’ve always provided flea meds for my dogs since they’re outside multiple times per day. It got me thinking, however: If you have an indoor-only cat, do you still find it necessary to provide flea preventatives?

He's not coming with that flea preventative again, is he?

I use a monthly flea preventative that doesn’t cause any adverse reactions with my dogs. Whereas the dosage could be given in one dose, I spread it out over two treatments so as not to overload their system. For years we’ve also treated our yard and indoor carpeting with an environmentally friendly treatment that keeps the fleas away. This has worked well for us over the years.

Woman grooming cat by Shutterstock

Having cats of my own is relatively new. Not until we adopted our feral cat colony a few years ago did I have full-time cats who depend on me for their care. After I allowed them open access to the garage, I experienced my first flea challenge.

The treatment of the yard wasn’t sufficient in this case, since the cats roam across multiple yards and in the wooded areas behind our home. They’d visit our home each night for food and a safe, comfortable place to sleep. However, the fleas came along for the ride and decided to make our garage and the cat beds their home. Fortunately for us, the fleas never managed to find their way inside our home.

I make sure there are no fleas in Angelica's bed.

I immediately contacted our environmentally conscious pest control representative, who came over and spread boric acid powder in the garage and cat beds. He then provided a treatment for our indoor carpets as an extra precaution.

For those cats who would allow me to get close enough, I used a topical flea preventative that my vet recommended. For those I couldn’t treat, I added Barley Cat to the food. Though the cats seemed to like the taste of the Barley Cat, I can’t honestly say whether it does anything to eliminate or detour the fleas. I must admit that I’ve never been a real fan of topical flea control, but it seemed the best solution in this case. They were miserable being covered and bitten, and I wasn’t thrilled about having fleas in the garage.

Skitty-Bitty, Momma Kitty, and Itty-Bitty keep an eye out for fleas.

I would assume that an indoor-only cat wouldn’t need flea meds. Unless people or dogs bring the fleas inside, the indoor cats shouldn’t be exposed to fleas. This wouldn’t be the case if you have indoor/outdoor cats, of course. If you have cats who have access to a back deck or porch area, I’d say they probably need to be treated to prevent fleas. They could pick up the fleas from those areas and bring them inside.

Perhaps you could choose to treat your furniture and carpets just in case the fleas were brought inside. Outside of those situations, I can’t think of why you’d treat your indoor-only cat with flea preventative.

Our garage is a flea-free eating area.

However, if I had indoor-only cats, I’d likely take the cautious route and treat them and the house they live in. It’s much easier to maintain your cats and their environment than to take a chance. Once they have fleas, it’s a challenge to get rid of them. The fleas can also cause other medical issues in addition to the scratching and irritation.

Do you still provide flea preventative to your indoor cats? Have you had any issues with indoor cats attracting fleas? Let us know in the comments!

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