Mosquitoes love humans, but do they also bite cats? It turns out that mosquitoes actually bite and feed on various animals, including cats.
While mosquito bites may not be as common on cats as they are on people, it’s still important to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect your cat from these pests. In this post, we’ll explore why mosquitoes bite cats and what you can do to help keep your kitty safe from these pesky insects.
Why Do Mosquitoes Bite Cats?
Mosquitoes bite cats for the same reasons they bite humans, for the blood they need to produce their eggs. Male mosquitoes feed on nectar, females feed on nectar and human or animal blood. The blood provides extra protein to develop the eggs.
Mosquitoes are opportunists and will bite whatever is available to ensure their survival or the survival of their future generations. Some other animals mosquitoes may bite are birds, snakes, amphibians, squirrels, rabbits, dogs, other small mammals, and larger animals like cows or horses.
What Kind of Mosquitoes Bite Cats?
There are over 3,600 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world. Many types feed off plants by extracting plant fluids; not all mosquitoes are bloodsuckers. There are approximately 180 species in the US, and about 12 types spread disease.
The most common species of mosquito that may bite your cats and dogs are Aedes, Culex, and Anopheles. The same mosquitoes that bite us, humans!
Most mosquito bites on your cat will be an annoying itchy bite; however, some mosquitoes can also transmit dangerous diseases to your cat.
How to Protect Your Cat From Mosquito Bites
If you live in an area with a large mosquito population, it’s best to use preventative measures to protect your cat from dangerous disease and also from simple irritation. But you shouldn’t use repellents designed for humans on your cat. Use only repellents designed for felines. Mosquitoes also bite dogs, but don’t use the same products on both your pets; mosquito repellents intended for dogs can be too strong for cats.
Some Products You Shouldn’t Use
- Products containing DEET may cause neurological problems.
- Permethrin is not safe for cats, it’s one of the most common poisonings of cats.
- Before using essential oils check with your vet because cats can be particularly sensitive.
- The citronella plant is toxic to pets. Use products containing citronella with caution.
Protection Methods to Consider
There are several types of topical insect repellents, such as sprays, lotions, and collars, that cats can wear. Since you don’t want to use a product designed for humans on your cat, always follow the label instructions carefully and never apply more than is necessary.
Repellents and other preventative methods may reduce the number of bites your feline friend receives, but it’s almost impossible to stop all mosquito bites. So a heartworm treatment might be necessary. Consult with your veterinarian for the best preventative treatment and dosage for your cat.
Limit Time Outside
Don’t let your cat out when mosquitoes are most active. Mosquitoes are most active in the early morning and at dusk when they’re searching for a meal, so keep your kitty undercover during these times.
If you have a screened porch, you could let him out on that during these hours or an enclosed area he can wander without coming into contact with mosquitoes.
Reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard by eliminating any standing water. Be sure to clean and empty out pet bowls, gutters, garbage bins, and so on to reduce the number of mosquito breeding sites in your yard. You could also install a mosquito trap system indoors and outside.
Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your House
Make sure mosquitoes can’t get into your house, check all of your window and door screens for leaks and gaps, repair them if necessary.
Where Do Mosquitoes Bite Cats?
Most of a cat’s body is protected by fur, but there are areas with less or no fur where mosquitoes like to bite. The most common places to get bit are the ears, nose, and paws.
What Do Mosquito Bites On Cats Look Like?
Mosquito bites will resemble small red bumps similar in appearance to a bee sting. The bite will itch, so your cat will scratch the area. Usually, mosquito bites remain mild and rarely require medical attention unless the bites become infected.
Keep an eye on the spot for any redness or swelling that may spread over time. You can use an antibacterial cream to ward off any infection. If it does become infected or enlarges in size, you’ll need to take your cat to the vet.
Are Mosquito Bites Dangerous For Cats?
Typically, mosquito bites will result in bothersome irritation, but the consequences can be worse. Mosquitoes are known to spread dangerous diseases to humans, such as malaria, dengue, West Nile fever, or Zika virus, but our pets can also be infected with life-threatening diseases.
Mosquitoes can spread heartworm disease, which is potentially deadly for cats. You may be familiar with heartworm in dogs, but cats can also be infected. Heartworm disease is a parasitic disease caused by a worm that lives in an infected cat’s blood vessels and heart.
It causes serious health issues, including lack of appetite, weight loss, difficulty breathing, coughing, vomiting, and even death. The medication used to treat heartworm in dogs cannot be used for cats. This means prevention is the only way to protect cats.
A bite from a mosquito can also cause mosquito bite hypersensitivity. This is an allergic reaction to mosquito bites. Your cat may develop ulcers and red lesions around the area of the mosquito bite. This often occurs around the areas with less fur – the nose, ears, or footpads – the areas with less fur.
Female mosquitoes will bite a wide range of animals to get the blood they need to produce their eggs. Normally, these bites will result in itchy discomfort, which should disappear after a few days.
Cats are vulnerable to mosquito bites and can suffer irritation and be infected with dangerous diseases. These two risks make it necessary for any cat owner to take the time to protect their pet from mosquitoes.
It’s important to use products intended for cats. Human mosquito repellents containing DEET and some essential oils can be toxic to felines. Canine products may be too strong or toxic for your cat.
Insect repellents designed for felines provide a safe way of keeping your kitty free from pesky biting insects. The main danger is heartworm disease, so preventative treatment may be the best course of action.
You may think heartworm disease isn’t a danger in your region – it has been found in all 50 states. Rates of infection vary every year due to climate and the presence of wildlife carriers. And because mosquitoes can be indoors and outside, your cat might be at risk everywhere.
The American Heartworm Society recommends cats should be tested before being put on preventive medications and then be given heartworm preventative medication 12 months a year. Ask your vet for advice.