4954 N. Shamrock Place, Tucson, AZ 85705

Cat Flea

Ctenocehalides felis

Cat Flea

Physical Features

Cat fleas have three body parts like all insects: head, thorax, and abdomen. A unique feature, however, is their vertical flatness. Eggs are smooth, pearly white, oval shaped with round edges. Found on the floor of any area the pet resides. Larva are slender, white, have sparse hairs, 1/10 inch long and are blind. Pupa have loosely spun cocoon about 1/5 inch long. Adults are1/6 to 1/8 inch long, dark reddish brown, wingless. They are covered with spines that point backward. Three pairs of legs with exceptionally powerful hind legs capable of jumping far distance. Piercing-sucking mouthparts.

Life Cycle

Complete metamorphosis
The time to complete this process ranges from two weeks to eight months depending on environmental conditions. Eggs are laid on the host, falling off in areas host frequents. Females lay up to 600 eggs in her lifetime. Larva feed on adult feces, dead skin, and other organic debris. They take a week to several months to develop. Pupae form a cocoon made from hair, grass, etc. , and emerge after 5 to 14 days.  Adults need a blood meal within one week after emerging from the cocoon and before they lay eggs. They can live up to one year without feeding at any other time.


  • Diet: Blood, feces, dead skin
  • Activity: Before laying eggs and immediately after emerging from pupa
  • Preferred Climate: Temperatures between 55 and 90 degrees
  • Defense: Spines on the back. Bite.
  • Cautions: Irritate pets. Bite Humans usually on legs and ankles.
  • Home Invasion: Areas commonly infested are the pet’s sleeping area or frequented areas, as well as, paths they travel.

Helpful Hints

  • Regular pet grooming, wash/removal of pet bedding.
  • Keeping lawns maintained.
  • Frequent vacuuming
  • Recommend regular pest control service plan.

Interesting Facts

One female flea can multiply to over 25.000 fleas in 30 days under optimal environmental conditions.


Minor itching and discomfort. If cat fleas are removed from their host, cat fleas often will bite on the lower legs of people, leaving round, red spots.

Nesting Sites

Cat fleas live in the nests and resting places of their hosts, as long as it is humid and warm enough to promote development.