Cat flea

Cat flea

Scientific name: Ctenocephalides felis
You are most likely to spot the cat flea if you have pets. It will feed on cats, dogs and people, although it can't live on us. It is a pest and needs to be controlled in the house for the comfort of pets and people.

Species information


Length: 2mm

Conservation status


When to see

January to December


The cat flea is a common flea and the one you are most likely to see if you have pets. As well as feeding on 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 common froghopper in its gymnastic abilities.

How to identify

The tiny cat flea is ginger in colour, wingless and bilaterally flattened, enabling it to move between the host's hairs.



Did you know?

The largest UK flea is the mole flea (Hystrichopsylla talpae talpae), which grows up to 6mm long and, not surprisingly, only lives on moles!