Did you ever see your cat scratching itself like crazy or biting itself? Beware! It might be carrying parasites known as cat ticks or fleas, especially if your cat likes to own its freedom and go outside to play. Indoor cats rarely have fleas or ticks unless they have playdates who carry them. This should not be taken lightly for the sake of your feline friend as well as your own health.
What Are Cat Ticks?
Ticks are small blood-sucking arachnids parasites, with an egg-shaped body and spider-like 4 pairs of legs. Their size varies from 1 mm to 1cm. More the blood sucked from the host, the larger their body gets. Found usually in areas of long grass, bushes or wooded. They do not jump or fly but fall on your pet from trees or climb up from the grass. They thrive in the warmer season but are active throughout the year.
How To spot Ticks on Your Cat?
If your furry pal likes to roll in the grass in your lawn, you need to have an eagle eye for ticks. One of the symptoms of a cat with ticks is itching but mostly there are no prominent symptoms except spotting one on your cat unless little kitty develops a tick-borne disease.
Every night, when your cat comes back home run your hand deeply over its body to check for tiny bumps and investigate them.
Cat ticks attach themselves deeply on the skin of a cat. Their special place for feasting is the dark bends of your cat, like ears, under limbs, groin area.
Cat Ticks Removal Tools
Before sitting down to relieve your cat from ticks you will be needing some tools. Do not use tweezers to extract ticks from cats because we want the whole tick to be taken out in one go. Do not burn the tick as well or you’ll just end up burning your furry buddy. Following are the things needed:
- A tick hook
- Latex gloves
- Antiseptic wipes
- Airtight jar
- Preferably another person to hold the cat
Steps for Removal of Cat Ticks
- Find a comfortable area for your cat where the environment is calm as to not scare your cat and get into a comfortable position to hold down your cat preventing it from running away. Ideally, another person to hold the cat is preferred for smooth removal and handling.
- Put on your gloves to avoid any direct contact with the tick.
- After spotting the tick, carefully position the tick hook under the tick as near your cat’s skin as possible. Twist the hook while pulling the tick out making sure no part of the tick is attached to your cat’s skin or without squeezing it as well.
- Check the tick to ensure all parts of it are attached to it and then place it in a jar with rubbing alcohol in it and dispose it immediately.
- Clean the skin of the cat with disinfectant wipes.
- Tick should be removed in one go as a whole.
- It should not be squeezed or else blood oozing out from it can be more dangerous to you and to you too if it carries any infection.
- No part of the tick should be in contact with your cat once it is removed or it’ll continue to infect your furry friend.
- This is a gentle process needed to be done calmly without distressing your cat or aggressively pulling the tick out which will make it bury itself deeper into your cat’s skin.
- Do not use tweezers or fingers to extract the tick.
- Do not burn or try to smother it with petroleum jelly it will only make it go deeper in the skin.
Why is Cat Ticks bad news for your cat?
Ticks are parasites who live by sucking the blood out of its host. Its contact is direct with blood which can cause infection easily.
Too many ticks may cause anemia, lethargy, irritation, itching.
Lyme disease is one of the infections carried by ticks. It is more common in dogs than cats.
Tularemia is another disease that causes high fever and loss of appetite in cats.
Cytauxzoonosis is a fatal disease for cats that can cause fever, jaundice anemia and difficulty in breathing.
None of the diseases have any vaccine for cats unlike for dogs and humans.
Related post: How to Care for your Cat
What are Cat Fleas?
Cat fleas are tiny blood-sucking quick little nasty parasites that hop around your cat’s coat. Abundant in warmer seasons which favors the egg hatching of fleas. Indoor cats will rarely have them but the cat that goes around the neighborhood is likely to catch them.
The Flea Cycle
The flea cycle is one vicious cycle that needs to be cured from the core. Taking them out of your cat’s fur isn’t enough. The flea cycle goes something like this:
- Fleas lay their eggs on the host animal. Some stay on the host and some fall off in the environment of your home.
- The larvae hatch and feed on the feces left behind adult flea and continue to develop.
- They spin a cocoon for themselves until transformed into adult fleas.
- The adult fleas mate and lay eggs and the whole cycle continues.
Indication of Flea Attack on Cat
Fleas cause cats to always scratch themselves or start biting their bodies due to itching. Before starting flea medication, run a flea comb through your pet’s fur to ensure their presence. If tiny black dots appear on the comb place them aside and dampen them. If they turn into red-colored material then you can be sure that your cat is infected by fleas because these are flea dirt i.e. flea feces.
Eradication of Flea on Cats
Flea control is a necessary step supposed to be taken as soon as possible before things go out of hand. Following are the steps for removal of fleas from cats:
- Comb Away the Fleas
Removal of these nasty creatures in bulk is necessary, comb your cat fur with a flea comb, after every brush dip the comb in rubbing alcohol or disinfectant to clean the comb for every stroke.
- A Flea Bath
Use a flea shampoo or dish detergent with antiseptic substance to kill more fleas in bulk. After bathing again run the flea comb.
- Topical Medication
If you want to be extra careful contact your vet and get topical flea medication for your cat to kill them as well as prevent them in the future.
- De-Flea your Home
Just clearing out your cat is not necessary, these nuisances are all over your house. In order to finish the flea cycle once and for all you need to take the following steps:
- Wash all your bedding and your pets in hot soapy water.
- Vacuum your home daily and dispose of the used bags with careful seal.
- Steam clean your carpets or any place your cat is around.
- By calling professional use insecticides which are cat-friendly and specifically target fleas.
Cat Flea Induced Diseases
Cat fleas not only cause discomfort to the cat but also causes many diseases if they carry any disease infecting parasites. Some of the problems caused by fleas to cats are:
Kittens infected with fleas get tapeworms simultaneously. They should always be treated for worms along with fleas.
Anemia caused by the excessive loss of blood can also be fatal.
Haemobartonellosis caused by h. Felis is a serious form of anemia that needs antibiotics, blood transfusions.