Do bed bugs bite cats?

You are off to dreamland when suddenly you feel an itch on your leg, on your back, butt and on other parts of the body. The culprit? Bedbugs! If you are being pestered by these blood sucking parasites, is it possible that the cat is being bitten too? Bed bugs are attracted to warm blooded animals. Humans are the actual hosts of these parasites but if humans are not available and cats are…the fur that covers the cats body would not stop the bed bugs from getting another blood meal. Bed bugs would certainly bite cats.

Cimes lectularius is the scientific name of bed bugs. Bed bugs that haven’t had a blood meal would bite and feed anytime. As the name suggests, these small wingless insects would be found in locations where a blood meal will always be available. Bed bugs are not unlike nocturnal animals as they would be up and about at night and would normally hide during the day. What can be a better place to find sustenance than to situate themselves in places where a potential host would be sleeping? Bed bugs would thrive in the warm environment of beds and mattresses. A water bed may not be a warm environment for these parasites but it can be a place where a potential host can be found. The folds at the edges of a water bed would be an ideal hiding place.

Cat parents usually allow the pet to sleep on their beds. If the human host is present bed bugs would not be interested in making a cat their source of blood meal. Bed bugs would not want to make the effort of getting past the cat’s fur to get to the skin if a human that can be easily bitten is available. However, the cat’s owner may not use the bed for the night. Instead of going hungry, the bed bites would turn to the cat. The cat’s body heat as well as the pheromones will guide the parasites to where the cat sleeps. The bloodsuckers will then access the ears and the belly to bite these areas less covered with hair. Bed bugs are obligatory blood sucking parasites. They have an elongated beak that will pierce the skin and make a path to a good sized blood vessel. This beak known as stylet fascicle will be withdrawn and retracted into its fold under the head after the bug had had its fill of the host’s blood.

Bed bugs can make the life of humans very uncomfortable. Aside from losing sleep because of the bites, humans would have itchy welts that can get infected because of incessant scratching. A few bed bugs would have no dangerous effects on the cat. After having a blood meal, these bloodsuckers would jump off to return to its hiding place. There is no likelihood that the cat would spread the parasite to other pets of the family. Unlike fleas and mites that would live on the cat’s body, bed bugs would leave the cat after its blood meal and climb again when the cat lies down to sleep. Bed bug infestation though seldom occurs as cats don’t usually occupy one place every time it would sleep. Cats would prowl at night and when the mood to sleep strikes, the cat would lie down anywhere.

Bed bug bites are not really serious concerns. The itching and the welt will be gone after a while. Nevertheless, it would still be necessary to eradicate these pests. These bugs are easily repelled by pesticides. However, caution must be exercised in using these pesticides because they can have dangerous effects on the pets.

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