How Do I Spot And Remove A Tick From My Cat
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Although ticks in dogs are more common in dogs, cats can also be affected by these ectoparasites. This is specifically prevalent in cats that do not receive adequate preventative medicine. Ticks feed on blood and can cause intense itching for our felines. In addition, ticks can also transmit serious diseases to our cats, such as; Cytauxzoonosis felis, a very severe pathology popularly known as "wild cat fever". Therefore, it is essential to avoid these ectoparasites and keep our cat’s safe.
In this AnimalWised article, we will teach you how to spot and remove a tick from your cat. In addition, we will summarize some essential tips you need to help prevent the appearance of ticks on your feline.
Can cats get ticks?
Although many owners believe that no, the truth is that cats can have ticks. In general, domestic kittens that do not usually make trips outside have very little chance of coming into contact with these ectoparasites. Remember that ticks are mainly found in parks, squares with vegetation or grass, fields, gardens, forests, rural areas, etc. However, felines that are used to walking outside can get ticks directly or indirectly from contact with other cats or dogs. In addition, cats that live with dogs also have a chance of becoming infected. In fact, it should be also be noted that even we can bring ticks into our home without realizing it.
On the other hand, street cats represent the population which are more prone to tick bites. This is due to the unfavorable conditions in which they live and because they don’t receive regular deworming. Therefore, if you have recently adopted a kitten, we suggest to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible to start its immunization and deworming schedule.
What diseases that ticks can transmit to cats?
As we have mentioned, ticks can transmit severe pathologies to our cats, since they act as vectors for various pathogens, such as protozoa and bacteria. Below are these main diseases summarized;,
- Feline cytauxzoonosis (Maltese cat fever)
- Lyme's desease
- Tularemia (rabbit fever)
- Feline babeosis
- Feline infectious anemia (haemobartonellosis)
How to know if my cat has ticks?
Ticks are small arachnids (as well as mites) that obtain the nutrients necessary for their survival from the parasitization of other organisms. These parasites lodge in the skin of different animals to suck their blood and, thus, feed and reproduce, completing their life cycle.
The various known species of ticks are divided into 2 large groups: hard ticks and soft ticks. Among the hard species, we find the ticks of the genus Rhipicephalus, the most numerous and widespread specimens all over the world. These ticks are the ones that most commonly parasitize dogs and cats. Its main characteristic is the dark carapace that covers and protects its body, which usually shows a dark brown color.
Among the soft species, is the Otobius megnini, which usually lodges itself in the the ears of animals that it parasitize. Unlike hard ticks, these ectoparasites do not have a hard layer on the outside of their bodies, and have a soft texture. In addition, they usually appear in a lighter color, between beige and cream.
In the same animal, we can observe the three phases that make up the life cycle of ticks: larvae, nymphs and adults. In general, younger ticks (larvae and nymphs) are usually installed in the dorsal region, where they find thicker and firmer skin. In the adult stage, these parasites usually lodge in the softer and finer skin of the legs (mainly between the fingers), in the ears, in the neck and in the perianal area.
When looking for ticks we suggest looking in these above mentioned areas. Regularly skin checkups is necessary to keep up to date with your cat’s fur and skin health, including the maintenance of tick appearance.
Symptoms of ticks in cats
The most obvious sign of ticks in cats is being able to see them. Therefore, if you believe that your cat may have come in contact with ticks, it is essential to do a thorough review of its entire body, paying special attention to the already mentioned regions.
However, cats can also develop some symptoms associated with the presence of ticks in their body. On of the main symptoms is constant scratching. This scratching becomes excessive as a result of the itch which this parasite causes. Some cats may also try and use their teeth to try relieve itching. In addition, to feed on the blood of the cat, the tick must pierce its skin, therefore, there is often an identifiable hemorrhage on its skin.
What should I do if my cat has ticks?
If you notice that your cat has many ticks, the first thing you should do is to stay calm and not panic. Nobody likes to identify these annoying parasites on their animals, but calmness is essential to know how to react with intelligence and prudence. In this case, it is best to take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible to establish a fast and effective treatment that will eliminate the tick. In addition, in a clinic, a professional may perform a physical examination and perform some tests to verify the cat’s health status.
However, if you identify only one or two ticks on your cat’s body, you can remove them carefully yourself.
How to remove a tick from my cat?
If you notice that your cat is scratching a lot and seems very itchy, you can first take a look with the naked eye. If you do not see anything but still believe that your cat has come into contact with ticks, we suggest using a flea comb to brush your cat’s fur. We recommend doing this with care and taking a good look to see if there are any ticks present in your cat’s skin.
To remove adult ticks from your cat, always us appropriate tools, such as small tweezers. Do not try to do it with your own hands or use other objects that may harm your cat. But Why is it necessary to use tweezers? Because when using the wrong tools we can make the mistake of leaving the head of the tick inside the body of the animal, which can create an infection. We highly recommend doing this softly and carefully as to not accidentally spread any infection or hurt your cat.
Steps to remove a tick from a cat
- The tick must be removed completely, so the clamp should always be located as close as possible to the mouth of the parasite which is attached to animal’s skin. If we remove only a part of the tick or if its explodes, it can generate a severe infection.
- After properly locating the clamp start to pull very gently upwards, without turning or making sudden movements.
- After removing the tick, it is essential to clean and disinfect the wound on the cat's skin. And do not forget to take your kitten to the veterinarian to verify its health status and rule out any pathology that could have been transmitted by the tick.
- If you have difficulty removing your cat's tick, try and apply a thin layer of olive oil or apple cider vinegar on the tick with a clean gauze pad. Wait a few seconds, as sometimes this can force the tick to detach itself.
How to prevent ticks on cats?
The most effective way to prevent your cat from getting ticks is to offer adequate preventive medicine. This means its vaccination and periodic deworming schedules are vital. There are also various products available on the market to deworm cats, such as collars antiparasitic hygiene products (shampoos, soaps or colognes).
On the other hand, you can also choose to deworm your cat using home remedies which are more natural. These remedies include the use of apple cider vinegar, lavender essential oil or lemon juice. However, it is always advisable to consult your veterinarian before applying any home treatment to your kitten.
In addition, when removing ticks from your home, you must adopt sustainable hygiene habits. We always recommend using pet friendly cleaning products. Remember that common products contain irritating and corrosive chemicals can harm an animal.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How Do I Spot And Remove A Tick From My Cat, we recommend you visit our De-worming category.