Ticks are pesky parasites that may affect your cat—and if your pet becomes a host, ticks may also pose a danger to other people in your household. A single tick bite isn't usually a problem for your cat, but in kittens, seniors, and cats with a lot of ticks, this blood loss can be much more damaging and cause anemia.
Ticks can also carry illness. Bacterial infections like Lyme disease and Anaplasma can be taken by ticks and passed to cats (and even people!) if they get the chance to bite.
What does a tick look like?
Ticks are bloodsuckers that feed upon your cat; when they have latched on, they're not keen to go. They will drop off only when they've finished feeding, which can take days; they may have already passed on an infection. Ticks hide by burying into their fur, so keep reading to learn what you're looking out for so you can seek them out.
Adult ticks look similar to spiders with their eight legs. Ticks bite cats and feed upon their blood. They're usually tiny when unfed, some about the size of a pinhead. A tick's size will change when it's full of blood, growing to around half an inch after latching onto a host.
Their color also changes, making them harder to identify. Unfed ticks have a brown color with a darker brown coloring about the mouthparts, and engorged ticks are rounder in shape and gray-colored.
How do cats get ticks?
Ticks in grasses and vegetation latch on to furs as they brush by. When a tick has latched on, it's feeding time. The tick sinks its mouth into its brand-new host and feeds on its blood. It will remain affixed, growing progressively, until it's completed feeding after a few days.
How to find ticks on cats?
Although tick bites can be unpleasant, your cat might not show any noticeable changes in behavior. When a cat contracts a condition from an infected tick, there might not be any visible signs immediately. That's why it is essential to regularly examine a cat for ticks, so you can catch them before they become more problematic. Here are some suggestions on how to check your cat for ticks:
1. Run your fingers through the cat's fur
Ticks aren't as hard to find as fleas—typically, by the time you detect a tick, it's latched on and feeding, getting bigger each day. Ticks, especially well-fed ones, will feel like rounded bumps on the skin's surface. Sometimes you might find an unfed tick straying in your pet's fur, trying to find a place to latch on. Brush your cat delicately, feeling for lumps.
2. Look in dark and concealed areas
Ticks usually hide in lengthy layers, but they eat in areas where it's less complicated to get near the skin, such as the neck, head, ears, and feet. They also tend to feed in hidden dark locations of a cat's body, so look between the toes, the groin, armpits, and inside the ears.
3. Discern between ticks and skin lumps
Sometimes, owners mistake skin lumps for ticks. Look closely for legs; you can differentiate a tick through its eight legs.
4. Take your time in cats with longer coats
Suppose you have a long-haired feline; spare extra time to thoroughly inspect their coat. The tiny bumps that may indicate a feeding tick can be harder to feel with the layers of a thick coat, so ensure that you get down right to the skin. Run your fingers like the teeth of a comb for a thorough check.
Ticks aren't just painful when they bite; they can also transmit horrible diseases. Although felines may not get ticks as much as dogs, these bloodsucking parasites can cause unpleasant issues. So here is a simple tip to keep your cat tick-free.
If your cat strolls the great outdoors without proper protection from parasites, they may return with a pesky tick. This unpleasant bloodsucker will latch onto your cat and feed on their blood for several days, possibly transmitting an illness they might be contaminated with. That's why you need to keep all your pet protected with preventative measures.
Regularly using a practical tick prevention item on your cat can keep ticks away, minimizing the threat of ticks entering the home. Tick treatments for felines are usually available as topical, oral, or collars. You might wish to continue regular tick checks throughout springtime, summer, and fall when ticks are more common, especially if your cat likes to wander in high grass and wooded areas.