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September 29, 2018 |5 min read |Veterinarian Reviewed

How to Prevent, Identify and Treat a Cat Tick

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A cat tick is a common problem for cat owners, especially in cats that are permitted to explore the outside world. They usually won’t cause any long-term or major health issues for cats, but they do have to be identified and treated quickly in order to prevent them. Here are some tips on how to prevent your feline from getting a cat tick, how to look for them and what to do if you find one.

What is a Cat Tick?

Cat ticks are bugs that look like tiny spiders. They have eight legs and are usually less than 1cm long, which can make them very hard to spot. They are most often found in woodland, grassland and other areas with dense trees but can also pop up in your garden from time to time. Your cat is most likely to come in contact with them in areas with lots of wildlife like deer, sheep, rabbits, etc. They are active throughout the year but most often found between spring and autumn. Usually they end up biting a cat when the cats coat brushes past them in grass or on plants.


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How to Spot a Cat Tick


Removing Cat Tick

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Ticks are small but big enough to spot if you search for them. Run your hands over your cat’s whole body each time they come home from being out for a while and try to notice any small bumps - ticks burrow into the skin to suck on blood so they will enlarge and be more noticeable once they have bitten the cat. Look closely around your cat’s head, neck, ear and feet - this is where they most often attach. It also helps to brush your cat frequently so ticks don’t get buried under thick or matted hair.

How to Remove a Cat Tick

Removing a cat tick right away lessens the chances of your cat having any serious problems from them. In order to remove a tick, you want to make sure not to squeeze the tick’s body or allow the head to stay burrowed in the coat. Both of these things can increase the chance of infection. The best way to remove it is to twist them off your cat. Pet shops sell small tick-removal devices that make it easy to twist off a tick once you have located it.

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What are the Dangers of a Cat Tick?

A cat tick can pass on infections by transmitting microbes that cause diseases like Lyme disease and babesiosis, but it is pretty rare for a cat to catch these diseases. If you live in an area with cat ticks, it’s wise to treat your cats with a cat tick medicine that will kill the tick if they get bitten. These treatments come in pills, ointments and collars and you can talk to your vet about different options.

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Preventing a Cat Tick Bite


Cat Being Treated for Ticks

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The first step to dealing with cat ticks is to make sure your cat doesn’t get bitten! To do so, make sure to check your cat for ticks at least once a day. If your cat is a longer-haired breed, you might want to do it more frequently because it is easier for ticks to hide in their coats. You can also make sure to comb your cat often, which can remove ticks. And treating your cat with a tick prevention medicine is a great way to lower the chances of ticks biting them and transmitting disease.

We know that some cats love to roam in the great outdoors! But you want to make sure that a cat tick doesn’t harm your cat so it’s important to try to prevent tick bites with medicine, if your vet thinks that is a good idea, and also to check your cat frequently for ticks if they have been outside in grassy or wooded areas. Have you ever had any experience dealing with a cat tick?

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Christina Scamporrino is a lifelong animal lover and began working in the petcare space in 2019. Christina’s passion for the community of feline owners and enthusiasts have led her to designing premium packaging for PrettyLitter cat litter, PrettyPlease dry food, wet food, and treats, and a litter box designed to solve common litter box issues.

Outside of her professional work in the petcare space, Christina is a longtime kitten foster and has worked with several cat rescues throughout Southern California. When given the option, she favors orange cats, but loves all cats equally.

Links

https://www.linkedin.com/in/christina-tasci-68ab815b

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Sara Ochoa

Sara Ochoa, DVM graduated from St. George's University Veterinary School in 2015. Since then, she has been at a small and exotic animal practice in Texas. In her free time, she loves making quilts and spending time with her husband Greg and their 4 fur kids. Two dogs, Ruby a schnoodle, and Bug a Japanese Chin, one cat named OJ and a leopard tortoise named Monkey.