Can Cats Detect Bed Bugs?(6 posts)
It's been over a month, one move and NO evidence other than bites later.
I now live at my parents' house--they have 6 cats but are very careful to not get fleas.
I don't know if I have bed bugs, but I was wondering if cats can see/hear them? My kitties cure up with me at night and they aren't being bitten.
well mine does run after them on the bed at night... but only the big ones and only if she feels like playing...
don't rely on the cats, some of them just don't care. I've never seen one on her fur and she does not seem to scratch either
Hearing and seeing are probably 2 ways by which cats, dogs, rats, birds could locate bed bugs and other crawling or flying creatures. Scent detection is also one way, too. We rely on the dog's scent detection to locate bed bugs in areas where we are not able to easily view them (bugs may be behind walls, behind moldings, within items of furniture, etc). Many animals have a great sense of smell. Many animals can detect objects, people, so many things by odor but each would have to react to that odor and we would have to make sure the animal continues to react in that manner (teach via reward). The reaction is what we go by to acknowledge that an odor has been detected. Regarding bed bugs, you should understand that dogs do not alert and tell us that bed bugs have been located, but that the odor of bed bugs has been located. There can be mistakes. It's up to the handler or other qualified person (if the handler is not qualified) to visually verify the alert. Unverified alerts can be noted as unverified. If artificial bed bug scent is placed in locations to teach bed bug dogs and the dog alerts to the hide, then it is obvious that the alert really isn't to a bed bug at all.
Yes-- My Maine Coon was who eventually drew my attention to the bugs. Cats are extremely intelligent, curious and have excellent visual acuity-- detecting even the slightest movement from far away. They are nocturnal and also frequent those places where bed bugs like to hide. While their sense of smell is not as good as the dog's-- it is much better than ours. Chances are good that they will spot the bugs before you do. Indeed, one of the early indicators that I was being attacked was when my other cat changed her sleeping habits. Instead of sleeping by my side all night, she would get up at about 1 a.m. and sleep in the living room. After all, she does not want to get bit! Fair warning-- just because the cat knows about the bugs does not mean that he/she cares enough to let you know about it!
I wouldn't count on them as a solid detection method. However, cats are super sensative and can alert you to a lot of things before you could know about them.
One night a while ago, my cat jumped on the bed and sniffed around my forearm in an odd way. I saw and felt absolutely nothing so blew it off. You guessed it - next morning 4 little bites appeared.
She has been obsessed with an area underneath my heater from day 1 in this apartment. I can never see anything. Something is living in that wall, I am almost certain.
Unfortunately, I think my cat also picked up on all my anxiety and bad feelings through all this. She has been really wound up a lot. I hate that I brought her into this place.
I don't doubt cats or many different animals ability to detect bedbugs and a host of other things.
I do however feel compelled to say that basing any level of diagnostic on the behavioural patterns of animals rather than confirming visual presence will always be highly subjective at best.
I have helped train a team of K9's and have worked with a team of K9's but I would never proceed with treatment without visual confirmation of an infestation.
I would not hold your breath as to anyone's ability to train a bedbug detecting cat although it would almost certainly attract media attention so expect to see one in New Jersey first.
Bed Bugs Limited
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