The most majority of pet parents have or had a bad experience dealing with fleas & ticks.
- For this reason, it is very important to keep ourselves informed when we encounter these little parasites!
- Your cat’s warm, furry coat and nourishing blood supply are a flea’s dream home! Now what?
- It is very well known that our cats are excellent groomers, so it might be tough to imagine your clean cat catching parasites!
1. Fleas. Everything you need to know!
- The most prevalent sign that your cat has fleas is persistent scratching and over-grooming, which can result in hairless patches on their nice coat.
- Also, because cats have a rough tongue, this can hep them “scratch” their skin easily and licking is a way of cleaning the area of any potential irritants.
- Sometimes you may actually see tiny little brown fleas which can move quickly through your cat’s haircoat and this is not that pleasant to see.
- Most of the time, a major part of the flea lifecycle occurs in the cat`s environment, not on the cat itself!
- If you see your cat grooming herself more than usual, there may be a deeper underlying cause. Help? Meow?
These black specks are commonly called “flea dirt,” but in reality, it is the excrement that fleas leave.
What common diseases/ illnesses can be seen with flea bites?
Fleas also transmit other conditions which can have a more unfavourable effect on your cat’s health, such as:
- Anemia. If you don`t check your cat for fleas, they can multiply and actually cause anemia from blood loss; this can sometimes be fatal, particularly in kittens. Pale gums are one of the first signs and this is a red flag for anemia in kittens. In this case, immediate vet attention is required!
- Tapeworms. Fleas also carry a parasite called tapeworm which are commonly found in cats that have been exposed to fleas. Most common tapeworms in cats: Dipylidium caninum (a tapeworm often infesting domestic dogs and cats whose intermediate host is parasitic fleas) and Taenia taeniaeformis.
- Haemobartonellosis (Mycoplasma Haemofelis). There is a blood born parasite called Mycoplasma Haemofelis that can also be transmitted through fleas. This bacteria can cause anemia, fever and severe illness. Haemobartonellosis is diagnosed by lab tests and the treatment is very long, requiring antibiotic therapy, and in some severe cases, blood transfusions.
Flea Control is probably one of the most important aspects that cat parents should cover for their loved ones whether they have indoor or outdoor cats!
Another important aspect is that when you treat your cat for fleas, you also have to treat your home and surroundings as well. Make sure that you have everything you need to cover and target all stages of the flea life cycle.
What you need to treat at home against cat fleas:
✔ Outside yard areas;
✔ Windows and curtains;
✔ Cat trees and play areas.
2. Ticks. Everything you need to know!
- Cats can and do pick up ticks!
- Cats with access to the outdoors may be exposed to ticks. Ticks are common in woodland, grassland and heath areas, but can also be found in your garden if you live in an area with lots of wildlife (hedgehogs or rabbits).
- When the plant is touched by a moving animal or person, ticks may quickly detach from the vegetation and climb onto the host. Because ticks don’t fly or jump, they climb or drop onto your cat’s coat when your pet is sitting in the same place like ticks do.
- Cat ticks can transmit diseases, such as Lyme disease and Babesiosis but it’s unusual for cats to catch these diseases. Lyme disease in cats in the UK is extremely uncommon.
- Babesiosis is extremely rare in the UK due to the tick responsible for spreading it only being found around the southern regions of England and mainland Europe.
- If you live in an area with cat ticks, it’s a good idea to use a tick treatment that will kill them if they attach. Spot on treatments and collars are available and it’s best to consult your vet about which is most suitable for your pet.
- Read the instructions very carefully as some treatments are for dogs only! Some of them can be very dangerous for cats and can even kill them!
How can you know if your cat has ticks?
- Most of the ticks are big enough to be spotted! All you have to do is to run your hands over your cat’s body and check for any lumps or bumps (applied only if you have an indoor-outdoor cat).
- A normal tick will feel like a small bump, particularly around their ears, head, neck, groin, axilles and paws. Some ticks are so small and their bite so painless that they may go unnoticed.
What can you do if you find a tick on your cat?
- First of all, it is very important to know how to remove ticks properly. An incorrect removal can cause more problems than you can even imagine. If some parts from a tick mouth remain in your cats’ skin, then an abscess can form, which can lead to a serious skin infection.
- You may find it helpful to have someone to hold the cat while you remove the tick. Cats like to have all four paws in contact with the surface they are on, so try to take care of this aspect if you don`t want to stress your cat too much.
- Have everything prepared so you can work quickly to minimize any distress to the cat. After you take the tick out from the skin, clean the bite site using diluted iodine tincture, if available, otherwise you can just use sterile/clean water.
- After you have removed it, get rid of the tick by crushing it using tissue paper, to avoid coming into contact with any of the tick’s fluids (which may be infectious), and throw it away in the toilet (recommended).
- After you remove the tick, keep a close eye on the bite site for the next hours/days for any signs of infection or irritation, and on your cat’s behaviour for any signs of illness. If you see something changed in your cats` attitude do not hesitate to contact a vet! You can never know how serious this can be!
The O’Tom tick remover is favoured by Veterinary and Medical professionals as the appropriate tool to remove ticks safely. The correct way to remove ticks:
Never compress the ticks` abdomen because you can cause introducing infected contents from the tick`s stomach into your cats’ bloodstream. Do not use vaseline, butter, paraffin or alcohol. Do not try to burn it with a lighter/match or cigarette.
Flea & Tick Prevention
✔ Always check with your Veterinarian for the most suitable product for your cat.
✔ Check your cat daily very carefully for any ticks or fleas (especially for outdoor cats).
✔ Keep your grass from the garden cut short.
✔ If you live in an area with ticks, it’s a good idea to use a tick treatment that will either repel ticks or kill them if they attach. Spot-on treatments, chewable tablets and collars are available and it’s best to consult your vet about which is most suitable for your cat.
✔ Keep a record of the above-mentioned! You can use a normal calendar and just circle the day for specific medication administration. It is very important to take care of these aspects if you want to have a healthy cat.
✔ Keep your outdoor shoes only in special places and keep them clean. You can carry fleas on the shoes as well as on the clothes, when you come from outside. Don`t let your cat play with your shoes.
✔ Prompt removal of the tick can help decrease the chance of infection.
⚠ Always ask for veterinary advice! Keep yourself informed in order to keep your paws healthy!