Do Bed Bugs Bite Cats?

Bed bugs are small, parasitic insects that primarily feed on the blood of humans, but their ability to adapt and survive in various environments leads to the question: do bed bugs bite cats? Understanding the behavior and feeding habits of bed bugs can help clarify whether our feline friends are at risk of being bitten by these pests.


Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) are notorious for their ability to infest homes, hotels, and other human habitats. Their primary food source is human blood, but they can also feed on other warm-blooded animals if necessary. This adaptability raises concerns among pet owners, particularly those with cats, about the potential for bed bugs to bite their pets. This article explores whether bed bugs bite cats, the signs of bed bug bites on cats, and measures to protect pets from these pests.

Bed Bugs and Their Feeding Habits

Bed bugs are opportunistic feeders that are drawn to warmth and carbon dioxide, which humans and animals exhale. While they prefer human blood, they will feed on animals if human hosts are unavailable. This means that in a heavily infested environment, bed bugs might resort to biting pets, including cats, to survive.

Do Bed Bugs Bite Cats?

1. Preference for Human Hosts:

Bed bugs prefer human hosts because human skin is usually more accessible and exposed during sleep. However, if a home is heavily infested or if the human hosts are not available, bed bugs will feed on other warm-blooded animals, including cats. Cats, especially those that sleep on beds or furniture, can become secondary targets for bed bugs.

2. Signs of Bed Bug Bites on Cats:


Identifying bed bug bites on cats can be challenging because the bites are similar to those of other insects. Common signs include red, itchy bumps on the skin, excessive scratching or grooming, and restlessness. Bed bug bites on cats are usually found in areas with less fur, such as the belly, ears, and paws.

3. Differentiating Bed Bug Bites from Other Conditions:

To differentiate bed bug bites from other conditions like flea bites or allergies, it’s important to look for additional signs of bed bugs in the environment. These signs include small blood stains on bedding, dark fecal spots, shed skins, and the presence of live bed bugs. Consulting a veterinarian can also help determine the cause of the symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.

Protecting Cats from Bed Bugs

1. Regular Inspection and Cleaning:

Regularly inspecting your home for signs of bed bugs and maintaining a clean environment can help prevent infestations. Wash your cat’s bedding and any fabric items in hot water and dry them on high heat to kill any bed bugs or eggs.

2. Use of Pet-Safe Treatments:

If you suspect a bed bug infestation, use pet-safe insecticides and treatments. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can harm your cat. There are also bed bug traps and encasements for mattresses and furniture that can help control the infestation without exposing your pet to harmful substances.

3. Consulting Professionals:

For severe infestations, it is best to consult a professional pest control service. Professionals have the tools and expertise to eliminate bed bugs effectively while minimizing the risk to your pets. They can also provide guidance on how to keep your home and pets safe during and after the treatment.


While bed bugs primarily prefer human hosts, they can and will bite cats if necessary. Recognizing the signs of bed bug bites on cats and taking preventive measures can help protect your pets from these pests. Regular inspections, maintaining cleanliness, and using pet-safe treatments are essential steps in managing and preventing bed bug infestations. If you are dealing with a bed bug problem and want to ensure the safety and comfort of your pets, stay informed and take proactive steps to manage the infestation effectively.

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