Many people have to deal with ant infestations within cat fur because these nuisance pests can reach pet houses in search of food and water.
Can Ants Live in Cat Fur? Ants can live in cat fur due to their soft and fluffy hair providing a suitable spot as they can feel the body warmth of animals. Wet body hair, the scent of litter, and the presence of leftover food or urine drops can also attract them. In addition, cats produce oleic acid that mimics ants’ pheromones.
Cats have warmer and fluffy bodies that can provide a suitable spot for ants to live, as they can enjoy the softness of hair and eat pet food.
Why do ants live in cat fur?
Ants have a variety of reasons to choose cat fur as a temporary shelter; they find a food source within the pet house and live there to avoid extra trips from nests to the food bowl.
Release oleic acid
Dead ants release oleic acid to alert fellows about the death that will come to the death spot and make a pile of dead bodies close to the nest.
These insects get attracted to cats after detecting an odor of oleic acid, as the facial glands of these feline fellows produce this chemical by rubbing their faces against something.
They feel comfortable by rubbing their face against the wall, particularly after detecting something moving on their face, which can be a fly sitting on their nose.
Their face contains glands producing secretions smelling like olive oil, as a significant portion of secretions contains oleic acid. Its odor can grab the attention of ants and make them reach their hair.
Fluffy or wet fur
Some breeds of cats have super soft hair that can form silky coats on their bodies and make them look beautiful. Their fluffy hair not only entices pet owners but also attracts ants.
A few felines have a double coat of fur known as an undercoat or down hair that makes them fluffier and helps maintain body temperature by protecting them from cold air.
Accordingly, insects prefer to live in a comfortable environment and choose fur as their home. Sometimes, their body hair gets wet by passing through a wet surface or water spillage.
The presence of moisture can also allure house pests, including these tiny creatures that can put the life of felines at risk as these insects can bite on their skin.
Scent of poop or urine
Cats are adorable animals, but they produce stinking poop with a strong odor that seems unpleasant and needs to be removed quickly from their bodies and homes.
Their waste is usually rich in protein because they eat protein-rich food. Therefore, it can attract ants looking for a protein source to feed their growing larvae for better growth.
In the same way, the presence of urine drops on their bodies can also allure these insects due to the strong ammonia odor, which is perceived to be a pleasant odor by insects.
The litter and urine can draw insects toward pets for nutrition that can reach their bodies or hair if the waste material remains are attached to their bodies.
Cats have warmer bodies as their ideal body temperature is 102 degrees Fahrenheit, making them less sensitive to the colder environment as their bodies can retain heat.
Their body temperature does not change with changing weather and usually remains constant.
Accordingly, these ants climb through their feet and reach maximum height as they can also crawl over their face or back when these felines are lying on the ground.
So, they can survive cold weather by hiding within the double coat of fur that can act as a barrier to the cold air and protects these tiny creatures.
Food stuck in hair
Food particles can stick to hair and need to be removed by hand as the fine particles attach to their bodies and are difficult to detach.
These food particles can draw insects on their bodies as foragers keep crawling on the ground in search of nutrients and do not leave a chance to eat and store food.
Moreover, bigger bodies cannot frighten them from climbing if they have found a food source in their fur. However, they can also pose a risk of bites when trying to eat food attached to furs.
What happens when ants live in cat fur?
Ants can harm cats after entering their fur because these tiny creatures can reach deep inside their bodies by crawling within the hair.
They can bite on their bodies by piercing the skin tissues after grasping with the help of larger mandibles. Some fire ants are known for deadly stings and cause severe pain.
It is better to stop ants from reaching cat food and water bowl to decrease the risk of contact with fur and keep them safe from undesired attacks.
Their bites can puncture the skin tissues and make a wound, and the situation gets more complicated when they bite or sting multiple times.
You can apply a topical ointment on their bodies for a soothing effect and reduced pain. However, it is better to seek professional help by taking them to the vet.
How do you get rid of ants from cat fur?
You can get rid of ants living in cat fur by using traps that are safe for your pets too. You can check the effects of toxic substances on pets before using them against insects.
Sometimes, removing every single insect stinging its body becomes difficult, causing redness and swelling, so you need to ask a veterinarian for help in such emergency cases.
However, frequent grooming of pets and cleaning of their bodies can also help get rid of them. You can also use a soapy solution to wash the bodies of felines and remove these insects.
In addition, you have to clean the litter box, food bowl, and nearby areas regularly to make these places unattractive to them. Keep the food bowl covered or create boundaries to keep them away.
Using a moat bowl around food can ultimately restrict unwanted entries to food and felines. In the same way, you can put a sponge close to it after soaking it in sugar water to divert attention.
It is better to follow preventive measures to keep insects away from pet houses as it ultimately ensures the safety of the pets and avoids the risk of undesirable bites.
Furthermore, you have to avoid using baits containing permethrin or related pyrethrins as they are not safe for pets, particularly cats, but borax baits can work well to remove ants.
Can I Use Borax Substitute to Kill Ants?