How to Tell If My Cat Has Ticks
Ticks are, along with fleas, the most common external parasites in dogs and cats. However, if your cat is a house cat and rarely leaves the home, seldom spending time in the garden or green areas, the chances of becoming infected are reduced. Nonetheless, whilst this reduces the risk, it does not completely prevent it.
Therefore, it is important that you know how to recognize these parasites and learn how to treat them appropriately. If you're wondering how to tell if my cat has ticks keep reading - OneHowTo will give you all the details.
Which cats are more likely to catch ticks?
If your cat is completely domestic and never leaves home you have nothing to worry about - it is virtually impossible for them to become infected. These arachnids live in nature and are therefore commonly found in fields, parks, gardens and forests with tall grass. If your animal does not usually spend time in these areas, you can relax.
Ticks are more common in:
- Cats which share a home with dogs which go out for walks in green areas and come into contact with other animals. The parasite can pass from the dog to the cat.
- Cats which spend a lot of time outside, as they are likely to wander through grass.
- Cats which spend a lot of time in the garden. Although not all gardens necessarily harbor ticks, there is always a chance that they are there.
If your cat fits in one of these groups, then it is essential to know how to identify ticks. Then you can remove them properly and take precautions to prevent further contagion.
How to identify ticks in cats
Sometimes ticks can be mistaken for a piece of skin or a wart, especially if you haven't seen one before. These arachnids have eight legs, an oval body and a small head that they usually bury into the skin of their host in order to feed on blood.
They can be a variety of different colours, including grey, brown or black. The best way to distinguish a tick from a wart is to check if you can see any legs. These parasites tend to stay around the cat's head, neck, armpits and between the paw pads. However, they can also be found in different areas of the body.
Ticks are not normally seen with the naked eye unless it has fed on the cat's blood and grown in size. The saliva of this parasite has anesthetic properties; therefore the host feels nothing when the tick bites. The cat does not scratch and shows no obvious signs of discomfort. Once the parasite moves to a different zone and the anesthetic wears off, the cat may feel discomfort and begin to scratch the affected area.
If your pet is at risk of becoming infected, check its coat daily whilst brushing your cat - this is the best way to keep them at bay. When the tick has left a particular area of your pet's body, it may leave a visible red and slightly swollen mark, a sign that it has been sucking blood from that area.
How to remove a tick from a cat
If your cat has ticks on its coat, they should be extracted immediately so that they does not keep on sucking your pet's blood. However, it is important that you do so correctly, as explained below. You should know that these parasites can transmit many diseases to your pet; however, veterinarians believe that the tick must be attached to the host for at least 5 - 24 hours for this to happen. With this in mind, the sooner it is removed, the better.
In doing so, the most important thing is to properly remove the head - if it remains buried in the skin, the area is at risk of becoming infected. Similarly, here we have an article on how to remove fleas from a cat.
How to prevent ticks in cats
Once you have removed the tick, you should take your cat to the vet. A professional should ensure that the parasite has been removed properly - it might be better to take your pet to the vet so that they can remove it themselves. The vet will also take into account certain factors such as the age and the health of your cat and the environment in which the animal lives. They will also advise you on the best products to treat or prevent ticks.
This has been a short guide on how to know if my cat has ticks. Check your cat for ticks often and remove them carefully. When in doubt, go to the vet.
If you have any tips or doubts, tell us in the comment section!
If you want to read similar articles to How to Tell If My Cat Has Ticks, we recommend you visit our Pets category.