Tick Control for Cats: What You Need to Know
As far as cats are concerned, they’re still jungle royalty like their lion ancestors. They don’t know they’re viewed as cute little companions — and they certainly don’t realize they could be vulnerable to something as small as a tick.
Unfortunately, as far as ticks are concerned, they’re the ones in charge. That’s why it’s up to you to protect your furry friend from this miniature menace. To do that, you’ll need the right pet care supplies — and, of course, a little background information.
Sit back, relax and prepare to become the royal pest-remover for your jungle king or queen!
Are Ticks Bad News for Your Cat?
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “It’s just one tiny tick — how bad could it be?”, then you’ve come to the right place. The truth is that ticks can be a serious problem for both you and your cat.
Why? Well, it’s not the tick itself that causes most of the trouble. While these little creepy crawlies are unpleasant and uncomfortable, they aren’t venomous like a snake. The real problem is that they can carry all kinds of diseases.
That’s right: According to the Minnesota Department of Health, just one tick bite could be enough to spread diseases including:
- Lyme disease, a bacterial infection in both humans and animals.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which causes fever, rash and other symptoms.
- Powassan Virus Disease, which is related to West Nile Virus.
- Tularemia, a potentially serious illness that can pass between insects, pets and people.
For this reason, it’s important never to ignore a tick that has hitched a ride on your cat. Instead, you’ll need to get informed, arm yourself with a few necessities for your kitty and get ready to go to battle with this tiny terror (yes, we’re talking about the flea!).
Become a Tick Expert
The first step in tick control isn’t treatment — it’s homework. Here’s what to know about ticks and how they end up on your cat:
What Is a Tick?
A tick is a little parasite that lives on the skin. Unlike its close friend the flea, it has a body known for swelling up as it feasts on blood.
How Many Kinds of Ticks Are There?
According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, more than 800 tick species have been identified across the world. A few common types are the American dog tick, the brown dog tick and the deer tick — which, despite their names, can live on your cat, too.
Where Do Ticks Live?
Ticks can be found across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They prefer shaded areas like woods, but they aren’t limited to any one region.
Are Ticks Seasonal?
Ticks don’t have a season. They’re active all year, although they may be more active during warmer months. That means tick treatment and tick prevention should be a constant consideration for every pet owner.
How Can Your Cat End up With a Tick Infestation?
Both indoor and outdoor cats can get ticks. If your cat has access to the backyard, they could easily pick up a tick that’s been hiding out in your lawn or under your trees. Indoor cats, meanwhile, can fall victim to both flea and tick attacks when another pet brings these bugs into the house.
Safe, Effective Tick Removal for Cats
Even the most well-cared-for cats face the possibility of ending up with a tick or two. Keep an eye out for signs of a tick infestation, which could include:
- Skin irritation.
- Hair loss.
- Lack of appetite.
- Joint stiffness.
Note that some of these symptoms are signs that a tick may have given your cat Lyme disease, which should be checked by a veterinarian right away.
Of course, the easiest way to identify a tick problem is to actually see this little parasite on your cat’s body. Here’s what to do if you spot a tick:
- Put on gloves.
- Grab tweezers or a tick removal tool.
- Position your tool so you’re grabbing the tick right where its head enters the skin.
- Slowly and evenly pull on the tick.
- Make sure to get the whole tick, as leaving body parts behind can cause additional trouble.
- Safely dispose of the tick.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
Keeping Your Cat Safe From Ticks
Removing parasites isn’t fun for you or your cat. That’s why it’s smart to think ahead and make tick treatment and tick prevention a constant part of your pet care routine.
Here are a few of our favorite tips:
Never Use Tick Control Products for Dogs on Your Cat
There are plenty of flea and tick medication types available. However, they aren’t interchangeable with treatments for dogs — so make sure to only use specifically labeled tick control for cats.
Choose the Best Tick Prevention and Treatment Supplies
Much like flea treatment, you have a lot of options when it comes to tick control supplies. Flea and tick shampoo, tick topical treatments, medicated sprays and even a tick collar could form your tick treatment arsenal. Just remember to look for a tick and flea control product labeled "large cat," "small cat" or "kitten" depending on your feline’s age and size.
Be Savvy About Pet Care
Even if your cat is protected with tick spray or another tick product, it’s best to avoid taking unnecessary risks. For example, you can:
- Mow your lawn frequently.
- Remove leaf litter.
- Keep your cat away from stray animals or any untreated pet.
- Avoid walking in densely wooded areas or straying off trails yourself so you don’t bring ticks home on your skin or clothes.
Get Help From the Flea and Tick Experts
Ticks have a bad reputation, and it’s plenty well-earned. The good news is that you and your cat don’t have to sit idly by while these little pests cause trouble. Instead, come on down to Pet Supermarket, where we have the tools and tips you need to keep every flea, tick and other uninvited guest from hitching a ride on your pet.
Visit your nearest Pet Supermarket to learn more about ticks and tick treatment!