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Cat flea life cycle

Cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) are the most common domestic species of fleas found on the household in Indonesia, especially for those who owned pets at home. They are wingless parasites that feed off the blood of animals, and can easily become a major problem in your home when they start biting you and your beloved pets.

Understanding each stage of the life cycle is the key to successful flea control, and to stop a possible infestation of these annoying blood-sucking insects.

Here’s anything you need to know about the cat flea life cycle, including how long is a cat flea life cycle, how long they live and the best way to make cat fleas go away.

Cat flea life cycle stages

Flea Life Cycle

The cat fleas undergo the complete metamorphosis by involving four distinct stages in their life cycles, these include:

  • Egg
  • Larvae
  • Pupae
  • Adult

Did you know? Approximately adult cat flea infestation only make up 5% of the total flea populations, where the rest of 95% at your house is flea eggs, flea larvae and flea pupae.


The cat flea eggs are small in size - approximately 0.5 mm in length, oval-shaped and appear as translucent white colour, which is often mistaken with salt grains or dirt. The adult female cat fleas are capable of laying up to 20 - 50 eggs per day or around 500 eggs during their lifetime. 

How long do cat flea eggs live?

Cat flea eggs will usually hatch after 2 - 10 days depending on temperature and humidity level before reaching into the larval stage. The ideal temperature for cat flea eggs to hatch is around 25 degrees Celsius.

Where do cat fleas lay their eggs?

The adult female cat fleas will lay their eggs after feeding on their host. (e.g your pet’s fur), but they will never lay their eggs on the human skin although they can still feed on people.


When the eggs hatch, the eggs transform into the larval stage. The newly hatch flea larvae are approximately 2.5 mm long, off-white in colour and look like tiny worms or maggots.

The larvae thrive in dark humid spots and are considered photophobia (dislike light). They feed on adult flea faeces and other organic matter, which collects in furry things like carpets and rugs. After 3-4 weeks they can grow up to 5 mm long and spin their cocoons to begin their pupal stage.


The pupal stage is the last developmental stage before emerging into full-fledged adult cat flea. The cat flea pupa has a very sticky outer surface, which serves as “camouflage when hiding in a spot like carpets and cracks between tiles on the floor. This also makes it difficult to remove from the house by only using a vacuum cleaner or sweeping.

It takes at least 4 days for pupae to turn into adult cat fleas in the ideal environment temperature.


The adult cat flea is about 3mm long with females slightly bigger than the males. They are dark brown to black in colour and have a flat narrow body. Both female and male cat fleas require a fresh blood meal prior to mating.

These annoying critters have 6 strong legs, which allow them to jump up to 30 cm high with ease from the ground and onto your pets.

How long is a cat flea life cycle?

The cat flea life cycle is short and they reproduce quickly. For this reason, cat flea infestation at home is such a challenge and pretty hard to get rid off.

In general, the flea life cycle process can be ranging between 2 - 3 weeks to several months, depending on the environmental conditions, including temperature and humidity level.

The lifespan of a cat flea

The lifespan of an adult cat flea depending on three main factors, including:

  • The presence of available hosts
  • Ideal temperature
  • Humidity

If these three basic factors are fulfilled by them, the adult cat fleas can live up to one and a half years.

How long can cat flea live without a host?

With or without a food supply, fleas remain a serious problem for every pet owner. Without a host, adult cat fleas will live only for a few days up to two weeks.

In terms of hosts, cat fleas feed mainly on mammals such as cats, dogs, rats, rabbits and other warm-blooded animals including humans.

Best way to prevent cat fleas in the house

There are a few things you can do to stopping cat fleas infestation before they starting to jump and take a blood meal from your pets and yourself at home, these include:

  • Vacuuming regularly – prevent the hotspots for many of the eggs, larvae and pupae developing within the home
  • Wash pet bedding frequently on hot water (ideally at above 50 degrees Celsius) – eliminate any adult fleas and eggs that may be lingering inside their bedding.
  • Trim your lawn and clear out piles of dead leaves – most people not aware that large numbers of fleas could also live outside the house such as in the garden, especially in the long grass.

Cat fleas are very persistent and hard to remove. Yes, all the abovementioned prevention measures can potentially help you to manage a minor flea problem, but those measures will not be sufficient enough to solve your flea problems completely - especially when the problems are getting severe.

This is mainly due to the fact that the majority of fleas prevention measures above only affect the adult fleas stages, and leaving the larvae and eggs untouched.

What to do if you have fleas in your house?

Rentokil Indonesia technician will consult with you about the fleas that you've seen. We can determine for certain that it is a flea infestation and not the other type of bugs which people commonly mistook with fleas, such as bed bugs. Afterwards, we inspect your home to determine where they are and how they got there.

We check every room, the furniture, under rugs or carpet as well as all of the tiny cracks and crevices that suitable hiding places for fleas. Considering their tiny size, adult cat fleas are able to get into the smallest places in your home, and we're going to make sure that we'll look through them all.

Then we will recommend a treatment plan based on your infestation, and give you a cost to put the plan into action. Once you have agreed with the price, our experts will arrange times for a technician to visit and sort out your flea problem. You may need several visits depending on the treatment.

Please be advsied: Rentokil does not take care of pets, but we can offer some professional advice and recommendations to make sure your flea problem doesn’t come back.

Contact Rentokil today to arrange an appointment to sort out your flea problem.

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