With the first day of summer being June 21, as a cat owner, it is good to start thinking about ticks a few weeks beforehand. Ticks are a major issue for outdoor cats – bringing discomfort and potential for disease. Ticks live outside, so this is an issue that really only affects outdoor cats and cats who go on walks with their owners.
Cats love the outdoors. It is their ideal natural habitat (in their eyes) though one riddled with human and natural threats. As a cat shelter, the staff at Hervey Cats will always strongly suggest homeowners keep their cats inside. An indoor cat may miss out on the fun that can be had outside, but by staying indoors, at least in the city, you are giving them the gift of a longer life.
Let’s Talk Ticks
Ticks are blood-sucking insects that are known to carry serious infections and illnesses such as Lyme Disease. They live primarily in wooded areas or spots with tall grass and will latch onto the skin of their victim to dine on their blood. Sounds pretty dark, doesn’t it? Well, on the plus side, they are usually smaller than a dime and can be easily dealt with. The key, however, is prevention.
This is why keeping your cat inside is so important. If you like to take your cat on walks, that is fine, but avoid wooded areas where ticks might thrive. A backyard with short grass or a walk around the neighbourhood is not likely to yield a tick bite, but there is always a chance if your furry friend goes off to explore.
The real difficulty is with free-roaming cats. We all know how curious cats are and when they have the ability to wander around the neighbourhood or town, the odds of them picking up ticks are increased exponentially. What’s even more difficult is figuring out if they have a tick stuck to them. Even a short-haired cat can hide a tick quite easily and as owners, we owe it to our pets to check up on them if they have been outside.
What To Do When Your Cat Has Ticks
If your cat comes home with ticks on them, especially if you aren’t sure how long they have been there, you need to bring them to the vet for a checkup and to remove the ticks. Ticks can be very hard to take off as they really dig into the skin.
Removing a tick often requires a special tool and technique. Simply crushing or pulling the tick away from the skin can leave behind parts of the tick, which increase the chances of infection. A tick removal tool can grip the tick properly, and with a gentle twist, you can remove it entirely. If you are in a desperate situation, tweezers can work, but be extra careful not to crush the tick.
Keep the Ticks Off
There are a number of products on the market that can help a cat stay free from ticks and prevent disease. Things like flea and tick collars can do great work to kill ticks and stop disease in its tracks, and some even repel them. There are also spot-on treatments and meds. As with anything, talk to your vet first before experimenting with your cat. They can paint a clear picture of what you need to do!
Spotting Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a sad affliction that can change a person’s or a pet’s life. Symptoms of Lyme Disease include high temperature, joint swelling, joint pain, and lethargy. These can all come and go within weeks or months of an encounter with a tick.
The easy answer here is to keep your cat inside. On the plus side, if a cat has spent most of their lives indoors, they will not yearn to be outside – making your job easier for you. Most cats, however, feel the call of the wild far stronger than others and will try to break free often. If your cat gets out the odd time, be sure to check them over for ticks when they come back in. It is the responsible thing to do as a pet owner and it can save you a lot of heartache. Nobody wants to see their pet struggle with something like Lyme Disease.