Can Ticks Kill Cats?
They freak us out – those wretched small arachnid creatures that can attach themselves to mammals and feed on their blood! But, can ticks kill cats? While ticks typically live outdoors and thrive in the hotter months, they still pose a threat to cats even in winter.
Carrying diseases from one mammal to another, ticks are much more than a blood sucking annoyance. So what threat do ticks pose to cats? Can tick bites kill cats? How can you protect your cat from tick bites? Fear not, ticks are easily eradicated and no longer have to pose a deadly threat to your precious feline companion.
What Threats Do Ticks Pose To Cats?
Ticks are small creatures that are commonly found in grassy areas and warm climates.
If you’ve ever been rambling in a forest and come home to find an unwanted hitchhiker, then you know how easy it is to attract ticks on your person. Ticks will attach to your body and bury their head under your skin to consume your blood.
When full, the ticks drop off and lay in wait until their next victim happens by. Cats on the prowl are no different to ticks than humans and your feline friend could be the next victim of the vampiric-like parasite.
While one tick may not pose a threat to your furry friend, many ticks can cause a condition called anemia. Anemia is the depletion of iron from the bloodstream, and is often a common side effect of a tick infestation. Dr Lorie Huston from PetMD says that while an infestation of that size is improbable, it is not impossible – especially if you live in prime tick territory. Taking precautions against tick bites may be a necessary step depending on where you live.
Ticks can cause anemia in large numbers, but what about sole ticks? Ticks can carry diseases that affect both humans and cats. While cats are less likely to contract diseases like Lyme disease, they can still be affected by this life-changing disease. Lyme disease causes dehydration, lethargy, and swollen joints in cats.
What Happens If A Tick Bite Is Untreated In Cats?
If left untreated, affected cats can decline rapidly leading to long term health problems and even death.
Ticks can also transmit a parasite called Cytauxzoonosis to cats. Cytauxzoonosis is a microscopic parasite that ticks pass onto the cat through a tick bite. It attacks quickly and can lead to death in a manner of days. Some signs to look out for include high fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
Tularemia is also a disease that cats can contract from ticks. This causes loss of appetite, ulcers, fever, and a painful abdomen in cats. Humans can catch Tularemia from cats and will require a course of antibiotics to treat.
Can Tick Bites Kill Cats?
Yes, they can. While the bite itself won’t become infected or cause sepsis in a cat, the many diseases that ticks carry can. Ticks spread disease from animals to humans and cats. If your cat is a roamer, then chances are she has encountered a tick in her lifetime.
There’s a myth that cats aren’t affected by ticks because they are such excellent groomers. While it’s true that cats are excellent groomers because of their barbed tongues, ticks and cats still mix.
Ticks prefer the spots around the ears, under the chin, and in the soft bellies of cats. Make sure to check your cat regularly for ticks to protect you both from the diseases they carry.
How Can You Protect Your Cat From Tick Bites?
There are a number of flea products that will also protect your cat against tick bites.
None of them are 100 percent effective, however the best cure is always prevention. If you can, try to use a multi-purpose flea treatment that will also protect against tick bites.
Even if they are indoors – can ticks kill cats? While most tick species live outdoors, they can also survive indoors.
Ticks will typically lay their eggs near baseboards, window surrounds, and rugs. To protect your animals and yourself against the onslaught of a tick infestation, checking your pets for ticks when they come inside is a good method of prevention.
How Do I Remove a Tick From My Cat?
If a tick is spotted on your cat, don’t try and pull it out with your hands.
Squishing the ticks body or removing improperly can leave the head behind and spread harmful bacteria from the head that is still inside your cats body. You should always remove the tick with a pair of tweezers.
Start by pulling from the base of the tick’s head and pull gently away from the skin.
If the tick appears to break in two, you have not successfully removed the head of the tick. Once removed completely, according to the CDC you should place the tick in rubbing alcohol to kill it. Placing the tick in water doesn’t work as the tick can create an air pocket that allows it to survive in water.
The ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) also recommends trying a freezing product to kill the tick before removal. By attacking the tick with tweezers you run the risk of allowing more bacteria from the ticks head to enter the bloodstream.
If you have an unsteady hand, a freezing product such as wart-off can aid in killing the tick before removal.
What To Do After I Remove A Tick?
Once removed, wash the area with antiseptic and keep an eye out for any tick-related disease symptoms.
Removing the tick is no guarantee that they have not already been subjected to one of the many diseases that ticks carry. As always, even if you have a comfortable answer for can ticks kill cats but are unsure about the health of your pet, please check with a veterinarian to ensure your feline friend lives a long healthy life.