Ticks in cats
Be well prepared for the discomfort of ticks. The Tick Guide from Vetsend tells you everything you should do in case of a tick bite!
Ticks are parasites that attach themselves to your cat to drink its blood. Unfortunately, this is not always without consequences. What does a tick look like, what are the risks and what should you do to remove and prevent them? You can read that in this article.
What does a tick look like on a cat
A tick is very small, only a few mm in size. If your cat has a thick, long coat, you may not be able to see the tick. A tick attaches itself to the skin with its head. They are especially visible when they are engorged. They look a bit like a brown or grey wart with legs. Sometimes the ticks run loose over the fur looking for a suitable place to attach themselves. They mainly attach themselves to the thinly furred parts of your cat, so on the head, in the ears or in the groin and armpits.
How can my cat become infected with ticks?
Ticks are found throughout the UK. They are found in the forest, but also in the garden, in dunes and to a lesser extent in city parks. They are mainly found in tall grass or between dead leaves, preferably near trees and shrubs. From there they switch to passing cats. Ticks are there all year round. They are mainly active from an outside temperature warmer than 7 °C.
Can cats get sick from a tick bite?
Cats can get sick from a tick bite. The tick can cause inflammation where it attaches itself. This can cause itching and irritation.
In addition, ticks can transmit diseases to your cat. Cats are less susceptible to tick-borne diseases than dogs. For example, most cats do not get sick or only get a fever. Ticks can infect cats with Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and Borrelia (Lyme disease). Always make a note in your diary when your cat has had a tick. If your pet becomes ill in the period after a tick bite, always report to your vet that she has had a tick or that she has been abroad.
What does a tick bite look like?
If a tick has lodged in the skin, a bump often forms in that place. This is not serious and will go away on its own. If the head is left in the skin, it can become infected. You can still try to get it out or go to the vet. Eventually, the head will exit like a splinter. In case of symptoms of a disease after a tick bite, it is wise to consult your vet.
What can I do to protect my cat from ticks?
There are several things you can do to protect your cat from ticks:
- Use a product that protects your cat from ticks.
- Check your cat’s body for ticks daily after they have been outside. Especially the thin hairy parts such as armpits, groin, head and ears.
- No product protects 100%. Remove ticks from your cat as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours in connection with the transmission of pathogens.
How to remove a tick from a cat
If you spot a tick on your cat, remove it as soon as possible with tweezers or a tick card. The faster you remove the tick, the smaller the chance of disease transmission. Do not use alcohol, heat or soap to remove the tick. The tick can then spit out the stomach contents and transmit diseases more quickly. Below are a few more tips for removing a tick:
- Grab the tick as close to the skin as possible by the head with tick tweezers or tick card
- Don't squeeze the tick's body
- Gently pull the tick out with a twisting motion or gently pull the tick straight out of the skin
- Disinfect the bite wound of the tick after removal of the tick with alcohol 70% or iodine. Do not do this if the tick is still in the skin
- Disinfect the tick remover after use in boiling water
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