Do you regularly examine your cat for ticks? If not, you should as ticks can transmit some very serious diseases to your cat. It takes only a few minutes to check your cat for ticks and this could literally save your cat’s life.
Should you find a tick on your cat, here are step-by-step instruction for removing ticks from cats.
- First, make sure you protect your fingers with some tissue, latex gloves or a paper towel. Under no circumstances you should not try to remove a tick with your bare hands as you could become infected with a tick-borne disease yourself.
- To remove a tick, you’ll need fine-tipped tweezers or a notched tick extractor. Use the tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the surface of the cat’s skin as you can, then pull outwards with a steady even pressure.
- Be careful to not twist or jerk the tick as this may cause its mouth parts to break off and remain in the cat’s skin. If this does happen, try to remove the mouth parts with the tweezers.
- As you remove a tick, do not squeeze, crush or puncture its abdominal area as it may contains fluids that harbor infectious organisms.
- If you do accidentally expose your skin to the tick’s fluids, disinfect it immediately with an iodine scrub, rubbing alcohol or water containing detergent.
- After you remove a tick, be sure to thoroughly disinfect the bite site and then wash your hands with soap and water.
- Try to preserve the tick(s) and take it to your vet for analysis. That way, your vet will know which type of tick bit the cat and how to treat it should it develop a tick-borne disease.
- Continue monitoring your cat throughout tick season. Since ticks love hot, damp weather, the tick season in most of the U.S. is May through September. However, if you live in an area such as Florida or Louisiana, you will need to monitor your cats for ticks the year around.
Folklore For Removing A Tick
Do not use folklore remedies such as petroleum jelly or hot matches to remove a tick. These remedies do little to encourage a tick to detach from the cat’s skin. In fact, they may actually make matters worse by irritating the tick and stimulating it to release additional saliva, which increases the chances that more pathogens will be transmitted. There are a number of tick removal devices available at pet stores but none is any better for removing ticks from cats than a plain set of fine-tipped tweezers.
Avoiding Ticks On Cats
While removing ticks from cats is not difficult, a better answer is to avoid ticks on catsin the first place. The best way to do this is to use a topical cat flea and tick medicine such as Frontline Plus. You can apply one of these treatments to your cat before tick season and then every 30 days thereafter to keep it tick free. There are other good topical treatments available. An alternative to the topical treatments is to use a cat flea and tick collar. Whichever treatment you choose, it’s important to read the label and always follow the directions carefully as you could do your cat more harm than good