Can fleas affect cat behavior?

YES, is the likely answer but it depends on the cat and the extent of this parasitic infestation. But let’s think about it. Do you think it would affect your behaviour if you had an infestation of fleas crawling over you, biting you, sucking your blood, giving you tapeworms, possibly causing an allergic reaction resulting in intense itching and possible anaemia. Yep, you’d feel miserable. Although often a cat will only have a few fleas and tolerate them.

how to keep fleas away from the home

Horrible things which can affect cat behavior

Also domestic cats don’t show their discomfort as much as we do (and are probably more tolerant of pain and discomfort) but they do have emotions and can become depressed or have a low mood. An unhappy cat will behave differently to a content cat.

Level of infestation

And the ill-health caused by fleas will probably affect behaviour. Taking it to extremes, a heavy flea infestation can kill a cat. That is the ultimate example of fleas affecting cat behaviour – no behavior.

Cat fleas affect behavior


As implied, some cats experience hypersensitivity to flea saliva producing intense itching and a skin reaction. The cat scratches and injures herself. Constant scratching and self-injury is a form of behaviour that a cat owner positively does not want to see. A cat allergic to the flea bite will be miserable.

Fleas are an intermediate host of tapeworm. The flea has the immature tapeworm, Dipylidium caninum in its intestines. They are ingested by the flea when eating tapeworm eggs. The cat bites or swallows the flea and becomes infested that way. Worms can affect behaviour if it’s a bad infestation. There will be a decline in general health and decreased appetite.

Very common

Fleas are arguably the most common health problem for domestic cats in the world. They lower the health status of cats. Depending on the cat and the extent of the infestation they also lower the cat’s mood. A cat with a lower mood will be less likely to interact with their owner. They are more likely to find a quiet place to put up with their discomfort and became more passive.

Cat owners want an interactive, confident cat brimming with good health. Cats fleas work against this. Cat fleas also affect the behavior of a good cat owner because she should be concerned for her cat’s health. It is distressing to see a cat with a flea infestation even a minor one.

Above 5,000 feet

Deal with them urgently and vigorously. Cats living indoors can have fleas year round. Cats living above 5,000 feet don’t have fleas because fleas don’t live above 5,000 feet. Move into the mountains 😉

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!

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