There is a good reason that parasites are lumped together: they’re all bad! Fleas, ticks, and heartworm-carrying mosquitos are responsible for a great deal of animal suffering. In addition to painfully itchy skin, secondary infections, and more, these pesky parasites can also spread disease. Of the most well-known vector-borne illnesses, Lyme disease is a serious threat to animal (and human) welfare. As such, tick prevention for cats is an important priority. 

Isolating the Beasts

Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes make a threatening threesome. Due to the overwhelming threat to pet health and safety, veterinary professionals attempt to prevent all three from wreaking havoc on your pet, your family members, and your home. 

Ticks suck the blood of many different animals, including various mammals (like humans), birds, and reptiles. If their blood meal comes from an infected animal, they can easily spread the disease to their next target. Zoonotic diseases are transmitted between animals and people; the diseases that ticks carry can infect both species.

The good news is that not all ticks are infected with disease. However, tick prevention for cats is still incredibly important to their long-term health and vitality. 

Tick Habitat and Behavior

Tick prevention for cats hinges on understanding tick behavior. Avoid long or overgrown grass or shrubbery. Places like wood piles or shady grasses are ideal habitats for ticks. When ticks seek new hosts, they perch on long stems or branches of plants until a suitable individual walks by. A rodent, deer, badger, bird, dog, or human is easy to latch onto (especially as they sense temperature and carbon monoxide levels), typically within 3 feet of the ground. 

If your cat enjoys the great outdoors, reduce the places on your property where ticks hide. Also, limit areas that attract other potential hosts, including compost piles, garden beds, and hiding spots. Try to keep your cat in a single spot outside, like a catio, and be sure they are up-to-date on their year round parasite prevention, and vaccinated

Other Tick Preventives

Applying a strong layer of insect repellent can inhibit a tick’s ability to locate you. Some products contain permethrin, a chemical that actually kills ticks and other parasites. If you find a tick on you or your cat, remove it immediately and thoroughly disinfect the area. Save the tick for possible testing for disease, and watch your cat closely for any signs of illness, such as:

  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Inappetance

Inspect your cat’s coat every day, vacuum the home, and wash their bedding regularly. 

Tick Prevention for Cats

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can lead to heart problems, neurologic dysfunction, damage of the joints, kidney failure, and cardiac issues. Felines are fairly resistant to the bacteria, and may not show any of the tell-tale symptoms commonly seen in people. 

Other diseases that can impact your cat’s health include:

  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Babeseosis
  • Tularemia
  • Hemobartonellosis
  • Cytauxzoonosis

Tick-borne illness should be treated promptly with antibiotics. If untreated, many zoonotic diseases from ticks can be life-threatening.

Tick prevention for cats is part of your defense against serious disease. If you have additional questions or concerns about your cat’s lifestyle, behavior, and overall wellness, please call us at (210) 681-1391.