From a burst of sunshine to plenty of outdoor events, spring and summer are just what the doctor ordered after a long winter.
Our pets are also eagerly awaiting to participate in more outside activities. With extra time spent outdoors, pet owners should be more cautious, mainly because these are the seasons when ticks are thriving and most active.
In Ontario, you can find ticks any time of year as long as the temperature is not below freezing. Ticks are most active in the earliest part of spring and the latest part of fall.
Can Cats Get Ticks?
Outdoor cats are more prone to getting ticks because they’re exposed to the elements and other animals, especially if they are entering terrain where ticks live and latch on to hosts.
It’s rarer for your indoor cat to come across ticks unless you own or care for other pets that venture inside and outside.
When you keep your beloved feline friend indoors, other pets (and humans) can act as hosts for ticks, bringing them indoors and thus transferring ticks to your cats. A tick can fall off an animal or human and latch onto your cat.
Practice checking your cat’s skin and coat for ticks as a general rule of thumb. If a tick has lodged onto your cat, you will feel a tiny bump. Ticks vary in size and all are visible to the naked eye.
Like scorpions, spiders, and mites, ticks are arachnids. Ticks have eight legs. They can transmit tick-borne diseases and cause infections.
If you’ve discovered that your cat has a tick, act immediately and remove it or see a veterinarian for professional tick removal. The usual tick hiding spots are in and around the ears, head, neck, and paws.
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How To Remove Ticks
1. Use Pair of Tweezers
Use sterilized fine-tipped tweezers to remove the tick gently. Ticks will penetrate the skin with their mouth.
Pull straight up until the skin tents, then wait for several seconds. The tick will usually release its hold. If the tick does not release, continue to pull straight up until it does release.
Avoid twisting while pulling up, and do not crush the tick. Crushing the tick can lead to increased exposure to infection. Also, avoid getting any fluid in contact with any open wounds you may have.
2. Do not let the Ticks Escape
It’s important to make sure you kill any ticks you remove from your pets because you don’t want them crawling onto you later.
You can soak it in alcohol in a sealed container. Sometimes, people may preserve the tick in a secure plastic bag or small jar after dousing it in alcohol.
You can take the preserved tick to your veterinarian or local extension office for identification to see if it was infected.
If you find ticks on your cat and your cat becomes ill with vague symptoms, tell your vet about the tick so they can consider the possibility of a tick-borne illness. This might not be on their radar, especially if your cat is primarily indoors.
3. Make Use of Tick-Removing tools
Tick-removing tools are specially made to remove ticks from your cat’s fur as they can be easily seen from a naked eye. All you need to do is limit your cat’s activity for a while.
Try distracting her with her favorite treat and you are good to go. Meanwhile, keep aside a container of isopropyl alcohol, it will come in handy later.
Pat your cat and calm her down first. Then, separate the fur and find a tick. Gently hook the tool under a tick and lift slowly until the tick separates from the cat’s skin.
As soon as you lift the tool, put the tick in the container of isopropyl alcohol. Continue doing until you feel like you have to get ridden of all little monsters.
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How To Prevent Ticks
Always speak with your veterinarian before purchasing over-the-counter topical medicines and collars. Cats are very sensitive too. If your cat ventures outside, trim long, grassy areas. Minimize access to shrubby areas.
Most infections with tick-borne diseases don’t cause any symptoms at all, but when they do, the vague symptoms that arise can be hard to identify at first. Keeping an eye on your cat’s energy level, and eating and drinking habits can be the best way to pick up on any type of health issue as early as possible.
Continuously monitor your cat’s behavior, especially if you recently removed a tick. For more information on possible symptoms, schedule an online vet appointment with one of Vetster’s pet telehealth veterinarians in Ontario.
In addition, you can get off ticks from your cat permanently with the following effective tips:
1. Use Medication
The best way to get your cat protected from ticks is to get her on a consistent monthly regimen of tick medicine, especially during the time of the year when the ticks are most active.
However, do consult your cat’s veterinary doctor to make sure your cat is not allergic to a particular medicine.
2. Supervise Your Cat’s Movement
Another way to permanently prevent your cat from getting ticks is to keep an eye on its activity. Limit your cat’s outdoor activity to grass and woods during the peak season when ticks are most active.
Also, if you happen to have a garden, trim your plants, trees, and shrubs regularly.
3. Use Medicated Shampoo
Try to use a medicated shampoo that is particularly for ticks. Regularly using anti-tick shampoo will help your cat to keep ticks at bay.
Medicated shampoo is gentle and free of harsh chemicals. In addition, they also help in cleaning and deodorizing to give your cat a fresh look.
4. Make Use of Special Brushes
There are pet accessories that are solely designed to remove ticks from your cat’s body. Invest in a good tick brush and regularly brush your cat to prevent ticks in the first place.
Also, if you find ticks falling while brushing your cat, do not let them escape and come back later. Once it’s off your cat, wrap it in a cloth and either burn it or flush it off to get peace of mind.
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How to Tick-proof Your Home?
Even if your cat lives indoors, there are still chances you can be a carrier and infect her. It is therefore important that you make an effort to keep your home tick-proof to prevent your pet’s infection in the first place.
Here are a few ways you can make your home tick-proof.
1. Build a Barrier if you live near a Tick Habitat
If your home is near a tick habitat such as a forest or wooded area, try to build a physical barrier to keep stray animals from visiting your yard or garden. Once they get into your area, it’s easy to crawl into your home.
Ticks often ride on stray animals and find an entry into your home if there would be no barrier to keep a separation.
Therefore, build a 3-4 foot barrier to keep stray animals away. In this way, you’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone by keeping your yard or garden protected from stray animals and preventing ticks from entering your home.
2. Make the Surrounding Environment less welcoming
If you have a yard or garden, keep it maintained. Regularly mow your lawn and trim shrubs, trees, or plants that can become a home to ticks. In addition, remove leaf litter and plant debris to make your environment less welcoming for ticks.
Maintaining outdoor clutter around your home will also eliminate spaces for tick carriers such as mice and rodents.
Therefore, remove wood piles or outdoor garbage near your home that can become a safe haven for the carriers.
3. Make Use of Tick Repellent
You can yourself become a carrier for ticks and bring them back home if you won’t wear tick repellent when going out.
Going on activities like camping or hiking can make you prone to a carrier for ticks and become a reason your pet gets an infection later. Wearing tick repellent can help you keep ticks away from your home in the first place.
4. Clean Your Home with Pesticides
Once you have dusted and decluttered your home, make sure you clean your home with pesticides to wipe out any remaining ticks.
Spray the pesticide all over your home like under beds, carpets, and underside of sofas, around your cat’s bedding area, or look for hidden areas which can become a safe haven for ticks.
This will help you kill any residing larva and tick eggs that can become a problem later for your pet.