How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs on Cats

We all know how much of a pain bed bugs can be for humans, due to their itchy bites and pesky nature, but they are even the enemies of our cats and other pets as well. Bed bugs feed on the blood of our furry friends, just as they do with humans.

Fortunately, bed bugs don't live in cat fur, so if your cat is the victim of bed bug bites you don't have to consider any drastic measures like shaving its fur as you might do with fleas or lice. Instead, you'll be better off using a spray directly on the areas infested with bed bugs.

A non-toxic, stainless, and odorless spray such as this one is ideal (see on Amazon). This is a pet-safe bed bug killer.

It is essential that you eliminate the bed bug infestation once you have identified it, as it can spread to other areas. Cats can attract bed bugs to other areas of your house as they are attracted to three things that cats possess: blood, body heat, and carbon dioxide. Eliminating bed bugs swiftly and at the source is important to avoid making matters worse.

I will discuss everything you need to know about how to identify bed bugs and exterminating them so your cat can get back to enjoying life. Included are also tips for taking care of your cat if he or she has been affected by bed bugs and other helpful advice.

Can Cats Get Bitten By Bed Bugs and How Do You Identify Them?

First, you need to make sure you are diagnosing the problem correctly. If you are able to catch a look at one of them, you should be looking for small, oval, brown insects. They are flat and are about the size of an Appleseed. They can move quite quickly but do not fly like other types of pests. Another thing to look out for is the younger pests, called nymphs. These are more circular in shape.

cat animal on bed
Image credit: sabinafeldman, Pixabay

Bed bug eggs are difficult to identify, as they are the size of a speck of dust. Because a female bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs, it is important to find a product that will eliminate eggs as well as nymphs and full-grown adults, such as this one mentioned earlier.

Bed bugs may be difficult to spot at all, however. Fortunately, you can look for signs of them on beds, walls, and your cat. They may leave bloodstains from their bites where your cat sleeps. Additionally, they may leave dark spots from their excrement and they may cause a musty smell due to their scent glands. Of course, you should check beneath your cat's fur for any bites.

If your cat has been bitten by bed bugs, the bites will tend to be in areas where the skin is more exposed, such as the belly, ears, and legs. This may vary depending on your cat, so pay attention to which areas are more exposed. Because these pests like easier access to the skin, cats with more fur are generally less affected by them.

Can Bed Bugs Live On Cats?

Bed bugs do not actually live on cats like ticks or lice, so you are unlikely to spot any in your cat's fur. You may, however, observe various symptoms of bed bug bites on your cat. One common symptom is pink welts that are found on the bites. These will be much easier to find. You may notice these in clusters as they tend to feed in groups and in the same areas. Naturally, if your cat has bed bugs, they will be grooming and scratching their fur and skin much more frequently than usual. Keep an eye on your cat for these signs.

How Do You Get Rid Of Bed Bugs On A Cat?

The most likely source of bed bugs would be your cat's bed if they have one. Start by thoroughly cleaning the cat bed in your washing and drying machines. Use a spray that is designed to kill bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs. You can use the spray on the cat bed as well as any furniture your cat may have been on. Since you will be spraying this all over your living spaces, it is important to make sure the spray you use is nontoxic and perhaps odorless. Spraying all over any areas your cat could have been seeming like a big undertaking, but it is always worth the time needed. These pests are extremely pesky, so a thorough job of cleaning and eliminating them is essential.

If you want to be extra sure of your extermination job, you can even use lures to draw bed bugs out of their hiding places. As mentioned before, they are naturally attracted to carbon dioxide. Many lures are designed to release carbon dioxide and other chemicals to attract them away from your furniture.

cat on bed sleeping
Image credit: cray666, Pixabay

Another extra precaution you can take is to encase your mattresses, furniture, and cat beds inside a tight plastic cover. This keeps bed bugs from getting in or leaving, so you can be sure they will not infest the area or escape and bite you or your pets. Be aware that these bugs can live over a year in these conditions, so you will need to commit to using the covers for quite a while. Overall, your best bet is a thoroughly applied spray paired with a few extra precautions to get rid of bed bugs once and for all.

Things To Avoid Doing

Some people may recommend tea tree oil or lavender for repelling bed bugs. However, cats are actually allergic to tea tree oil. There are also various chemicals that are recommended for the effective elimination of pests. Pyrethrins, which are found naturally in chrysanthemum flowers, are sadly toxic to cats and other pets. Make sure to avoid any products that contain pyrethrins. Man-made chemical compounds called pyrethroids are closely related to pyrethrins and are also toxic. These are also very common in insecticides, so be sure to steer clear of products containing these as well.

Treating Bed Bug Bites On Cats

The excessive scratching that can result from bed bug bites on cats may cause your cat to create some wounds and bleeding on their skin. This is not the worst thing in the world, but you would be well advised to keep these areas clean in order to avoid them becoming infected. A pet-safe bed bug treatment is also ideal, such as this one (see on Amazon).

While the transmission of diseases is not a central issue when it comes to these pests, it is possible for your cat to have an allergic reaction to being bitten by them. A paper published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology showed that cats can have an antibody response to bed bugs similar to the way humans develop asthma. Symptoms of allergic reactions include pink skin, swelling, and a runny nose. If your cat develops an allergic reaction, the best thing to do is visit a veterinary physician. They will be able to identify the proper treatment whether it be a topical solution or medicine.


Even though bed bugs do not live on cats, they are certainly still attracted to them and will feed on them. As pesky as they are, it is possible to get rid of them swiftly and effectively if you take the necessary precautions. A non-toxic, odorless spray is ideal (see on Amazon) for spraying all over your furniture, mattresses, and cat beds. This type of spray is a totally pet-safe bed bug killer.

Avoid common insecticides and pesticides that are effective but poisonous to pets. Make sure to look out for excessive scratching, rashes, or allergic reactions that can harm your pet, and consider seeing a vet if bite symptoms become out of your control.

Additionally, a pet-safe bed bug treatment will help alleviate problems for your cat. While many of the steps listed throughout are tedious and time-consuming, allowing these pests to spread and to continue harming you and your pet will surely be worse.

I hope you find this advice for getting rid of bed bugs on cats to be helpful!

Leave a Comment