Are ticks dangerous for cats?

Ticks for cats can be just as dangerous as for a human or other domestic animal. Outgoing cats are particularly vulnerable to the attack of these blood-borne arachnids and the appearance of uninvited guests in their fur and skin is a standard rather than an incident, and when summer comes, everyday checking the cat in search of tick is a duty if we want to keep our cat healthy. How to protect a furry from ticks and what’s the risk of lack of intervention when the cat returned home in uninvited company? You will learn it from our article.

Tick – borne diseases 

If you notice a tick in a cat, the last thing you can do is wait the problem will fix by itself. Diseases such as Lyme disease, babesiosis and anaplasmosis are rare in cats, but it’s good to remember those few cases, which pet has suffered from such a disease. Interestingly, many cats tested for antibodies to Borelli spirochetes (causing Lyme disease) have a positive result, which means that they may have had this disease in the past without any symptoms, without clear health consequences. It is similar in the case of another tick-borne disease, babesiosis – cats living in our climate are not in danger, but if you are going on a holiday to Asia or Africa with your cat, better be careful, because possibility of catching this disease is bigger, due to the more favorable conditions for the development of the protozoan, which is responsible for babesiosis.

Among tick-borne diseases, we will also find anaplasmosis, tularemia, cytaukszoonosis, bartonellosis and hemobartonellosis. And although an attempt to pronounce all these names aloud may result in a broken language, none of these diseases will break our cat – the cases diagnosed, for example in Poland, are fortunately very rare, although the exception may be bartonellosis (also transmitted by fleas), for which typical symptoms include fever, apathy, lack of appetite and lymphadenopathy, as well as hemobartonellosis, which is popular among European cats, also known as infectious anemia (the symptoms of this disease will be very similar to bartonellosis, but lack of treatment can result in a cat’s recurrence and even be life-threatening).

Most common symptoms 

Symptoms of tick-borne diseases aren’t specific and it’s easy to make an incorrect diagnosis. The most common of them are:

– anemia, as a result of which the cat loses weight, feels constant thirst and shows general weakness

– increased heart rate 

– shortness of breath, cyanosis

– fever, appearing and disappearing at different intervals

Good diagnosis needs blood tests (manual blood smear, PRC, ELISA tests and tests for the presence of antibodies). Unfortunately, one test is usually not enough to clearly identify a disease. The results of other basic tests (e.g. blood counts), reliable medical history, and then a thorough analysis of all symptoms that could indicate tick – borne disease will be very helpful. In the case of a diagnosed disease, the animal will be treated with antiprotozoal drugs and antibiotics.

How to protect a cat from ticks? 

First of all – prevention. Because there are no vaccines for cats to protect against tick-borne diseases, you need to deal with it, using available methods such as tick repellents and insecticides. In this case, we recommend extreme caution, because many of them are harmful to our furry friends (including those preparations that contain permethrin, which is poisonous for cats). All spot – on drops will be safe. These types of remedies for external use are safe, but to be effective, their application requires certain treatments (e.g. applying the drug in a place on the body of the cat, from which the drops will be not licked off, protecting the animal from rain, and even … against the other cat, who may be interested in washing its companion in the spot, where you just applied the medicine). An alternative to drops are sprays (although more difficult in application), as well as anti-tick collars with secure fastening, which don’t threaten the cat’s life during his frequent acrobatics (only for cats that don’t tend to fight the collar, otherwise it’s better to look for more effective ones and pet-friendly solutions). However, when it happens that a cat is attacked by a tick, after detecting the intruder, remove it immediately, using pliers or tick-twisters. If you don’t feel qualified or worse – it happens, that the attempt to remove the tick ends with just tearing the abdomen (we had such a situation when removing the tick at our Teddy) it’s better to ask the veterinarian for help, but it’s also important to do it as fast as possible. Fortunately, we managed to arrange a visit to the vet on the same day and the whole story had a happy ending.

Even if the tick isn’t a direct cause of the cat’s disease or the probability of its occurrence is rare, remember that the parasite can weakens our pet and cause the anemia. A tick stuck in the skin of a cat can also lead to inflammation, and one that hasn’t yet nested in the skin threatens even the cat caretaker and other family members (ticks easily jump to another potential host). As you can see, in every scenario – even one that doesn’t end with a dangerous disease and antibiotic therapy, it’s better to stay away from these small, but very determined arachnids away. And this applies to both cats and people for whom contact with a tick can end much more seriously than for their four-legged friends.

And what are your ways to fight with these little monsters, fabCats?

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.