As bedbugs feed on people and pets then the answer to your question is, yes, it is possible that they are biting your cats too but bedbugs don’t live on cats or people. Typically, they hide in mattresses and bed frames or headboards from where they can have easy access to sleeping people at night.
Over time they will move around perhaps to other rooms or, as you state, throughout an apartment building. Their flattened bodies makes it possible to fit into tiny places.
In order to confirm that a person or cat has been bitten by bedbug you have to identify the parasite because the itching and bite marks may be due to other causes such as mosquitoes. However, most bedbug bites on people are not in the same place as flea bites which are mainly around the ankles (but elsewhere too). Bedbugs bite anywhere where the skin is exposed while sleeping. Obviously, if you went to sleep without any itching or bites and woke up with bites then I think it’s fair to attribute the bites to bedbugs once you have eliminated mosquitoes as a possibility. Fleas, incidentally, also bite people, which might complicate matters.
Other signs that there are bedbugs are: bloodstains on sheets and pillow cases, rusty spots indicating bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, in areas where bedbugs hide you might see faecal spots and shed skins. Bedbugs emit a scent from their glands which has a musty odour.
Memory foam mattresses as made for example by Tempur do not harbour bedbugs whereas conventional mattresses can and sometimes do. This is probably a consideration when purchasing a new mattress.
- Associated page: Cat Parasites
- Major source: VetMD – also AVMA and myself