Categories: parasites

Cats have more fleas thanks to climate change

My title is bold and perhaps unreasonably alarmist but experts say that there are more fleas around because they have survived the mild winter and are breeding sooner.

Image: MERSEYPEST – Pest Control Liverpool

In short, global warming is the cause of the rise in fleas (and other parasitic pests). I am writing about the UK where we are getting milder winters but there may be similar climate changes occurring in other countries including the USA.

This story really concerns indoor/outdoor cats which is the norm in the UK (95%). In the USA we are told that up to three quarters (75%) of domestic cats are indoor cats. Well that leaves 25% as indoor/outdoor cats or about 22 million cats in the USA who can potentially collect fleas from outside the home and bring them inside.

Cats in the UK will spend more time outside as the weather is warmer. This leads to a greater possibility of getting fleas.

Humans also bring fleas into the home. And cat fleas bit humans too. A pest control man said that:

“Averages for last five years’ first quarters suggest our warmer climate is impacting breeding seasons.”

He also said that the fleas on cats or humans represent about 5% of the total in the area where the cat lives.

“The rest will be in bedding, carpets and furniture.”

Fleas apparently gather by windows and doors for warmth from where they leap onto animals.

Comment: I check my cat for fleas almost daily with a flea comb. He escaped his garden enclosure some months ago and wanders and hunts so he can pick up fleas quite easily. He has no fleas. I feel blessed and lucky. However, it’s only a matter of time I think before he acquires one or two. I will keep them down. My house has hard floors which I believe are essential for cat owners. They really help in eliminating cat fleas from the environment.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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