Checking Your Cat For Ticks
By Puppies For Adoption
Have you ever heard the saying, “Blood tells the tale?” In the case of ticks, that would definitely be an accurate statement. On your cat, ticks can be fairly easy to spot, especially if your cat has a short fur coat. If the ticks have just newly latched on to your cat’s skin, they will not yet have the telling distended body that is full of blood, their favorite and only meal they need to live on. So how do ticks find their way onto your cat? Thanks to body heat, that is all that is needed. Ticks seek warm-blooded animals to latch onto with their pincher-like mandibles. They will burrow around until they find a relatively hair free spot and latch on, only letting go once they have had their fill of your cat’s blood or if the cat’s owner (that would be you) finds the culprit and pulls the ticks off.
Ticks are normally found in heavily wooded areas or places where tall grass exists. If your cat likes to prowl and you live close to a wooded or grassy area, you will have to take precautions and be very diligent about inspecting your cat for these disgusting blood suckers. Because these ticks carry diseases, it is important to either prevent them from latching onto your cat or finding them on your cat’s body as soon as humanly possible.
There are a variety of treatments and preventatives available these days, so you will have to ask for the opinion of your veterinarian as to what you should purchase for your cat. A number of factors would be considered, based on the potential risk of your cat picking up ticks. Where you live, the lifestyle of your family and your cat and likely contact to ticks all play a part in determining the best course of treatment and preventatives for your family feline.
Many topical ointments and medications that help get rid of fleas will also have an added ingredient to help combat ticks too. Most of these are applied once a month on your cat’s skin. You would normally part the fur on your cat’s back or shoulder blade area and apply. Most of these topical tick medications can only be obtained through your veterinarian. Over the counter remedies are available but may not be as effective.
Tick collars also help with preventing a tick from latching onto your cat’s skin. Regular baths, tick dips and powders also are part of an arsenal in combating ticks. It is very important to note that you should never, under any circumstances, use any products meant for a dog on your family feline. Different formulas are often used to create these medical treatments, so a tick treatment that might work well for a dog could potentially kill a cat. Cats have more delicate constitutions and those dog treatments can be toxic to them.
So what happens if you do find a tick on your cat? What is the best way to remove it without hurting your cat? Various methods throughout the years have been used and most are old wives tales that simply do not work. These ticks, once they latch on for their meal of blood, are virtually impossible to get off without some type of physical force. You might have heard that if you apply petroleum jelly onto the site where the tick is latched onto, that it will suffocate and drop off. This is not true. Using a drop of gasoline also does not suffocate the tick and can potentially be irritating or harmful to the cat’s skin. The best recourse is to purchase a tick removal tool or use a pair of tweezers and literally pull off the tick. Be sure to not touch the tick with your bare hands. Remember, they are carriers of multiple diseases! Don’t worry if pieces of your cat’s skin also come off with the tick. That is normal. However, if a portion of the tick remains adhered to the skin, try and use your tweezers to pull off the piece left behind.
When it comes to ticks, a good defense starts with an even better offense. By using the topical treatments and tick collars and baths before your cat is exposed to a potential tick-ridden area, you are ensuring a greater chance that your cat will be critter-free.
Tick Medicine / Medication / Remedy
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