The Cat Flea is a common flea, and is the one you are most likely to see if you have pets. As well as cats, it will also feed on dogs and people (although it will not live on us), and can live in carpets for some time. It lays its eggs on the host, which will drop to the host's sleeping area. The larvae hatch and develop, feeding on organic debris, until eventually they pupate and emerge as adults that go in search of a new host. Fleas possess long hind legs for jumping from host to host and can leap up to 18cm high, making the flea second only to the froghopper in its gymnastic abilities.
How to identify
The Cat Flea is ginger in colour, wingless and bilaterally flattened, enabling it to move between the host's hairs.
Where to find it
When to find it
How can people help
Fleas are pests and famous as spreaders of disease, although it was actually the Oriental Rat Flea, a parasite of the Brown Rat, which spread the plague during the 14th century and caused the Great Plague of London in 1665. Cat Fleas generally cause little harm to their hosts, although pets may become allergic. There are various treatments for Cat Flea infestations for both the host and the house in which the pet lives.