Wasps, bees, ticks… and what else! How to protect your cat from bug bites?

Ah, summer is the best! Warming up the fur with the sun rays, watching birds from the scratcher on the balcony, maybe even walking around the neighborhood on a leash? As long as there’s no 30+ degrees heat, cats unanimously love the summer and happily spend the warmest months of the year close to nature. But spending time on a patio, in the garden, or even on the balcony comes with the risk of close encounters with various bugs. Which ones might be dangerous to our feline friends and what can we do if the cat gets bitten by a wasp or catches a tick? Let’s find out together, fabCat.  

Hunting bugs on the balcony

A fly flying by your nose, an ant strutting on the balcony rail, a wasp sipping nectar off the flowers – we bet every cat dreams of swatting at those always-moving targets. Summer on the balcony, a patio, or in the garden is, from a cat’s perspective, a daily dose of action and experiences, even if the sun decides to hide behind a cloud. But the cat doesn’t know, unfortunately, that some bugs have great self-defense mechanisms, and hunting them could result in an unpleasant trip to the vet. It’s a big issue because we can’t expect anyone to let the cat out onto the balcony or to the garden and then sit and watch every bug that the cat decides to hunt. So what can we do to protect our feline friends from dangerous encounters with biting bugs?

Cat vs wasp – what to do? 

Bugs like wasps, bees, and hornets might sting if they’re in danger, leaving their venom behind. In the typical case, the venom only causes pain and skin irritation which we, hoomans, know very well. Unfortunately, some cats can be allergic to the sting of a bee or a wasp and we usually don’t know about it until the cat gets stung. And if the cat tries to catch the bug and gets stung near their nose, mouth, or eyes, the situation might get dangerous even without allergic reactions. If you see a bee or a wasp flying near the cat, a cat trying to catch one, a bump on the skin that resembles a sting, or the cat licking one spot intensively after coming back from outside, it’s good to check things out and react quickly, either by chasing away the bug or going to the vet if the sting already happened. 

If the cat has a visible sting mark, scratches and licks it. Carefully check the spot and gently remove the sting if necessary. Your cat might be nervous, might squeal when touched, and will probably try to lick the painful spot. There might also be some swelling going on so if you can cover up the bite spot for a few days so that the cat doesn’t irritate it with their rough tongue, do it.

If the cat shows symptoms of being allergic to bug bites. The cat might be weak, and apathetic, they might vomit, have diarrhea, and temperature, you might also see some skin irritation around the bite mark. With symptoms like that, immediately go to the vet because medical attention is necessary here. 

If the cat was stung around their mouth, nose, or eyes, or has swallowed a bug – don’t wait! If the air passage is in danger, it doesn’t matter if the cat is allergic or not, a medical intervention is necessary asap.  

How to protect a cat from bugs?

We obviously don’t want to take the fun away from the cat – watching bugs flying by is a real cat TV and something cats can be occupied with for hours. But if we want to limit the risk of the cat coming in contact with bees, wasps, and other flying, biting bugs, it’s good to think about installing a mesh screen in the windows (to not let the bugs inside the house), avoiding flowers that might attract bugs (you can also plant those that scare them away, like mint or thyme), and above all, remembering to never leave the cat unsupervised for too long.  

If you have a lot of stinging, biting bugs around your house/garden, make sure there are no nests around. And if you hear that a wasp or a hornet got into the house, isolate the cat and do anything to get rid of the bug as soon as possible. 

Tick season – can domestic cats get ticks? 

Tick invasion seems to grow bigger and bigger each year, which makes it more and more dangerous not just for us, hoomans, but for our pets as well. And although the most common victim of ticks are dogs and outdoor cats, even the felines that only go out to the balcony or a private patio/garden can be in the risk group. And the consequences of a tick bite can be quite serious. 

Ticks, despite their tiny size, can carry many difficult, potentially lethal diseases, including the most common Babesiosis and mycoplasma. Diseases spread by ticks usually cause nausea, lack of appetite, weakness, changes to the mucus membranes, as well as vomiting, diarrhea, and anemia. If not treated, those diseases might lead to serious health issues and even death of the animal which is why it’s so important to always check the cat’s fur after a walk or being outside. If you have a dog, check your cat regularly, just as you do for the dog- ticks might be brought home on the dog’s fur, paws, or even on your shoes and pants. Being cautious pays off here.

Remember: it’s a myth that ticks are only active in spring and summer – with the warm winters that we’ve been having here recently, the tick activity can be observed through almost the entire year and even walking your dog in the middle of January, you might bring an unwelcome guest back home with you. 

How to protect your cat from ticks? 

If the risk of your cat catching a tick is higher because the cat goes outside (even if it’s just a secure garden) or comes in contact with dogs, every cat Carer should have some tick-preventing insecticide at hand (and ask their vet for it), as well as tick-removing tweezers and something to disinfect the site after removing the tick. If you never had an opportunity to remove a tick and you want to be sure you do it safely, it’s good to consult with your vet during a regular visit or go there immediately if you see a tick on your cat. Remember – the longer the tick stays in their body, the bigger the risk of disease. 

Have your cats experienced an uneven battle with buzzing, stinging bugs, or are their enemies mostly annoying flies coming through the window? Leave your stories in the comments – let’s discuss 🙂

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