Ticks are fairly common insects and are quite similar to other arachnids like spiders, mites, and even scorpions. If you’ve never seen a tick before, count yourself lucky because these little buggers aren’t cute at all – they have eight legs (much like the other arachnids) and they don’t have any antennae.
Ticks are parasites and if your cat has a tick on them, it could be dangerous for your feline friend.
Today, we’re going to talk about why ticks are dangerous, how to determine if your cat has a tick problem, and most importantly, how to get rid of them!
Looking back at our introductory description of what a tick is, it doesn’t seem like these little insects can do a lot of damage. However, since the bug is a parasite, the insect will latch onto the skin of mammals like cats, dogs, rodents and even humans and feast on the hosts blood.
Unfortunately, since the bug is sucking the blood of another animal, it can be infected with various diseases, which then can be carried by the tick to its next meal (animal they bite).
Ticks can be found almost anywhere! They especially thrive well where there’s a lot of tall grass, shrubbery, wooded areas, and near the water. Now you may be wondering where can cats get ticks if they’re an inside kitty.
The thing about ticks is that they don’t latch on automatically when they find a meal ticket. Sometimes after dropping down from a branch or other type of vegetation, the tick will land on someone’s clothing.
So if you pet your cat, hold them, or simply take off your clothes with the tick still on them, your indoor cat could become the ticks new host.
Having a tick feed off your blood can be quite uncomfortable, but when you combine that with the fact that the tick can transmit serious and contagious diseases, your pet’s health could be at risk.
When we think of diseases transmitted by ticks, people most commonly think of Lyme’s Disease. Cats can get this disease, but it is less common occurrence when compared to humans or dogs. Symptoms of Lyme disease in cats can include:
There have been some rare instances where cats infected with the disease have heart abnormalities and complications with the nervous system.
Lyme disease isn’t the only disease that your cat could contract. Other diseases that could be contracted if your cat has a tick include:
A disease caused by an organism (the tick) that targets the red blood cells of an infected animal. This disease causes the cat to become anemic and very weak. The disease can be treated with a few weeks of antibiotics, or in the worse-case scenario, a transfusion may be needed.
This disease is caused by bacteria that the can transmit to your kitty. Cats infected with this disease will often exhibit high fever, swollen lymph nodes, a runny nose, and in some instances, abscesses around the tick’s bite. Cats with this disease will be given antibiotics for treatment.
This disease is passed on to a cat by a tick that is infected with protozoan organisms. The protozoa makes a “home” in the animals red blood cells and causes anemia.
Unlike feline infectious anemia, this disease has some serious symptoms that include: pale gums, depression, dark urine, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. In bad cases, a cat could collapse and go into shock.
This tick-spread disease is most commonly found in the southeast and south-central parts of the US. Cats with this disease often have trouble breathing, jaundice, high fever, depression and develop anemia.
Treatments are usually ineffective and cats with the disease often die within one week of being bitten by an infected tick. There is good news though.
If infected cats receive immediate and aggressive treatment that includes a concoction of specialized medications, IV fluids, and supportive care. If the treatment is a success, the cat will always have the disease.
Luckily, ticks aren’t these tiny, microscopic creatures that are hard to find. To find these little buggers, simply run your hand over your cat’s fur. You’ll want to feel around for any lumps or bumps. Since the tick burrows it’s head into the cat’s skin, you’ll be able to find it. Ticks primarily sink their heads near the cat’s head, neck, ears and in their feet.
If you notice your cat has a bump in those areas, you’ll know it’s a tick if it has a whiteish body that’s shaped like an egg. The tick’s body will expand and get darker the more blood it’s able to consume.
You can remove these ticks by twisting them off of your kitty, but you can also find tick-removal tools at your local pet store. We can’t stress enough that you should not pull the tick out by its body because the pressure could cause the tick to expel blood back into the cat, thus increasing the risk of infection.
Ticks aren’t nice creatures and if you or your cat has a tick, you will certainly want to get it removed ASAP because ticks are carriers of various diseases that could be detrimental or even fatal to your cat.
If you happen to live in a wooded area, we cannot stress enough how important tick prevention is. There’s a variety of methods you can protect your cat, but we recommend consulting a vet first.
Leave us a comment below and let us know what kind of tick prevention you use for your cat. We want to hear from you!