Ticks in cats
Your cat can be jumped by a tick, which then clings to the skin and feeds on blood. In addition to sucking blood (which can even lead to anemia if seriously infected), bacteria, viruses and parasites can be transmitted. Both to cats and humans. Well-known diseases that the tick can transmit are Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis and Lyme disease. So it is important to protect your cat (as well as yourself) from tick bites.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that occur on plants and bushes. They are small, between 1 and 3 mm, so at first they are not noticeable. A “fresh” tick bite is often no more than a black dot on the skin. Only after the tick has sucked up the blood does its body swell. Then it becomes a lot easier to identify the parasite.
How do you recognize a tick bite in your cat?
A tick bite can cause a variety of symptoms. Is your cat getting sick or exhibiting strange behavior? If so, it is wise to schedule an appointment with us. Tick bites can be recognized by the following symptoms:
- A tick stuck in your cat’s skin
- Warm body temperature and/or fever
- Suffering from fatigue and drowsiness
- Pale or white mucous membranes
- A poor appetite
- Pain or stiffness
- Diarrhea or vomiting
- Skin bleeding
- Trouble with shortness of breath
How to remove a tick?
You should remove the tick from your cat as soon as possible because after as little as 16 to 24 hours, the tick can transmit disease. Below are instructions for removing a tick:
- Do not anesthetize the tick with alcohol or other disinfectants because the tick may empty its stomach contents into your cat’s skin. The stomach contents may contain pathogens.
- Make the tick highly visible by thoroughly separating the cat hair around the bite.
- Grasp the tick with tweezers or tick forceps, as close to the cat’s skin as possible. Try to keep the tick’s body whole, or the stomach contents may be released.
- Very gently pull the tick out of the skin. It often works well to loosen the tick with a twisting motion
- After removing the tick, check that you also removed the head and paws. If not, your cat may still suffer from itching and/or disease.
Give your cat preventative anti-tick medicine
Our advice is to treat your cat preventively with an anti-tick product. For example, buy tick drops or a tick collar, which both repel and kill the critters.
A tick collar is a cat collar that emits active substances. These substances do not harm your cat, but they do harm ticks and other insects. So when your cat wears a tick collar, it is continuously protected from tick bites.