Allowing your cat outside the house will enable it to get enough exercise, socialize with other cats, enjoy its freedom, and fulfill natural cat behaviors. However, there are also some downsides to letting your cat roam freely outdoors. For example, it is at greater risk of fighting with other cats, being involved in a road traffic accident, and catching infections. A further issue is that they have a greater risk of becoming infected with parasites, such as ticks. If your cat gets ticks, it is important to get rid of them as soon as possible. Here is how to remove ticks from cats.
What Are Ticks?
According to Lyme Disease Action, ticks are an external parasite that is related to spiders, mites, and scorpions. There are multiple different tick species, and each prefers to feed on different host animals’ blood.
How Do Cats Get Ticks?
The most common way that cats get ticks is from interacting with or standing close to other animals, says Purina. Cats may come across many other animals while they are out exploring their local surroundings, and it is easy for ticks to pass from one animal to another. A cat is more likely to get ticks if there are areas of woodland and grassland around your home for them to explore.
Are Ticks Harmful to Cats?
If you allow your cat outdoors, then it is vital that you check your cat regularly for ticks. Ticks are potentially harmful to cats as they can pass on infections when they bite through the skin to feed on an animal’s blood. Some of the more serious diseases passed on from ticks include Lyme disease and Mycoplasma. Also, the site of the bite can become infected, which is potentially painful or irritating for your cat. It is worth noting that if your cat has a tick, you are also at risk, as ticks can pass from cats to humans. If this happens, you are at risk of the tick passing on Lyme disease or Mycoplasma. Similarly, you can also get an infected bite wound.
How to Check Your Cat for Ticks
Before you can learn how to remove ticks from your cat, you must first know how to identify them. Although ticks are relatively small creepy-crawlies, Blue Cross says that they are big enough to see and feel. Therefore, there are two easy ways to tell if your cat has a tick. The first method is to stroke your cat all over when it returns home. A tick will feel like a small bump on their skin. The second way to identify a tick is to search through their fur. If your cat has a tick, you will see a small brown lump on their skin. The size, color, and general appearance of ticks can vary depending on the species and their age.
How to Remove Ticks from Your Cat Yourself
Due to the irritation that ticks can cause your cat and the risk of diseases they pose, it is crucial to check your cat for ticks regularly and to remove any ticks you find. Removing ticks from your cat is easier than you may think. It is best if you can get someone to help you by holding your cat still and keeping it calm while you remove the tick. The simplest way to remove a tick from your cat is to twist them off your cat. However, you must take care not to squeeze the tick. Doing so can cause the tick to expel the blood they have sucked from the animal back into the cat, and this increases the risk of infection. You should also take care that the tick’s head does not get stuck in your cat by only removing its body. You should wear gloves while removing the tick to protect yourself from infection, and you will also need a small container with water to dispose of the tick after removal. Once you have removed the tick from your cat, you should check that it is intact and that the head is not left behind in your cat. A great tip is to wipe over the area with an antiseptic wipe to reduce the risk of infection.
Other Ways to Get Rid of Ticks
There are also devices you can use to help you to remove a tick from your cat. These are a hook that fits around the tick and helps you to twist it off without squeezing the tick. They are usually made from plastic, and you can buy them from most pet shops. Again, wear gloves to use this method, have a pot to hand for the tick’s disposal, and check the tick is intact after its removal.
Does Your Cat Need to See the Vet?
If you have found a tick on your cat, it does not necessarily mean that they need to see the vet. However, there are some circumstances when seeing a vet is advisable. First, if you remove the tick and it is not intact, then the head is still burrowed into your cat’s skin. Leaving the head behind can lead to infection. Therefore, you should take your cat to the vet who can remove the head, and they may also recommend a course of antibiotics as a precautionary measure. The second situation where you may need to see a vet is if your cat develops any of the symptoms associated with a disease passed on through tick bites after you have removed a tick.
Removing Ticks from Your Cat – The Final Verdict
Ticks are potentially harmful to your cat as they can pass on infections when feeding on your cat’s blood. Therefore, it is essential you check your cat regularly for ticks and that you remove the tick as soon as possible. You can do this by twisting off the tick or by using a specialist tick removal tool.