Ticks on cats
The tick season usually lasts from April to November, during the warmer milder weather of spring, summer and autumn. Learn more about how to check for ticks, how to remove them and wich symtoms they can give in this article.
Cats are unfortunately just as susceptible to tick bites as dogs and other animals. The disease of most concern in relation to tick bites is Lyme disease. Anaplasmosis is another bacterial tick-borne infection that cats can get.
How to check for ticks?
Whenever your cat has been outside, you should go through your pet’s fur and look for ticks that have attached to the skin. It is also good idea to comb your pet’s fur after being outdoors with a narrow brush as it might be possible to get hold of a tick before it bites. Pay extra attention to places such as the groin, behind the ears, neck or armpits.
With an active outdoor cat, we recommend that you look through the coat at least once a day. The earlier you remove the tick, the lower the risk of transmission of infection.
How to remove a tick safely?
- Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible.
- Pull the tick straight out with a steady, even pressure, being careful not crush the tick.
- It is very important that the entire tick is removed including head and mouth parts
- You can also use a tick removal tool which can be purchased at most vet practices and pet shops.
- You should wear latex gloves when removing a tick from your pet.
- If you are unsure on how to safely remove a tick, you should ask your vet/vet nurse for advice.
Symptoms of infection
Fortunately, it is quite rare for cats to get Lyme disease. The symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, fatigue, depression reduced appetite, pain, stiffness, swollen joints and lameness. If your cat gets any of these symptoms it is important to contact your vet. Cats infected with Lyme disease can also develop kidney disease
It can take weeks or even months after a tick bite before your cat shows symptoms of Lyme disease. If the disease is diagnosed in the early stages your pet can be treated with a course of antibiotics.
Signs of Anaplasmosis infection is very similar to Lyme disease in cats but your pet may also have haemorrhage from the nose, dark bloody stool or bruising. Usually, symptoms of Anaplasmosis appear within 1 to 2 weeks after infection. This disease is also treated with antibiotics.
Protect your cat with tick prevention
There are several forms of protection against ticks; spot-on treatments, oral tablets, sprays, collars. These are prescription treatments you get from your vet. Please note that some tick products for dogs can be fatal for cats, and you must therefore only use tick products intended for cats.
Where are ticks most likely to be found?
Ticks thrive best in the shade and in moist places. Your cat can get bitten by ticks anywhere including your garden. Ticks are most commonly found in moist woodlands, shrublands and on long blades of grass between 10 and 20 centimetres from the ground. The ticks crawl onto your cat’s fur when they come in contact. Once a tick has bitten, it usually stays in the skin for 3-11 days before it is released.