During #CatWeek 2015 we discussed all about the flea! In keeping with last year’s layout I figured we would stick to the parasites and discuss it’s distant cousin, the tick.
Fleas aren’t the only problem that can plague cats and unfortunately we have had to remove a tick or two in our time! Here are some of the best (scary/gross, take your pick!) facts as well as how to prevent or remove them so you can stay tick free too!
Facts about ticks
- They can carry diseases that can infect human hosts as well as birds, mammals and reptiles such as: lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotteed Fever, Turlaremia, Colorado tick fever and Ehrlichia.
- They go through 4 life cycles:
- Infant (Larva)
- Immature (Nymph)
- Adult (Mature)
- Ticks (like fleas) are blood suckers provided by their hosts.
- Although dogs are the most common carriers, cats who live in more wooded or forested areas (or those with many foxes) also commonly have them.
- They are commonly found around the neck, ears and head because these areas are harder to groom for animals so they do it less frequently. Additionally the skin there is thinner.
How to safely remove a tick
Never try to pull out a tick with your bare hands, instead use tweezers or gloves to avoid contaminating yourself or getting bitten. Make sure your cat/dog or pet is calm and get as close to the skin as possible. Using the sharpest point of the tweezers, try to gently pull it out. Try to avoid cutting off the head of the tick because ideally you don’t want it lodged in your animal’s skin. If it does break off, try to take out as much as you can, sterilize with salt water and keep an eye on it for a few days. In most cases, your animal’s natural immune system will deal with it however in some cases it can cause an abscess so make sure you keep it as clean as possible to avoid this.
Top Tips to Avoid Ticks
- When walking through wooded areas that are prone to ticks and other parasites, tuck your trouser legs into your socks to stop them from crawling up.
- Check your arms, legs and neck carefully if you feel you have been exposed.
- Check outdoor cats heads, ears and neck regularly (1-2 times per week)
- Use recommended vet treatments, spot on prevention or sprays for your cat to avoid getting ticks
*It’s important to note that if you are concerned about the transmission of diseases from ticks to your animals (or yourself) you should seek the advice of a vet or doctor. If you can, try to retain the removed tick and take it with you so it can be analysed for diseases.*