Cats and Ticks: How to Safely Remove Ticks from a Cat
When removing a tick, there are a few points to keep in mind.Don't use your hands or try to crush the tick between your fingers, but instead make sure you kill the tick by putting it in alcohol. A more thorough process is outlined below.
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are actually arachnids (the same family as the spider), and they can be hard- or soft-shelled. Ticks can carry and transmit Lyme disease, which can cause serious health problems in animals. They are attracted to warmth and humidity, and, when they sense a host nearby, they crawl on and attach themselves. Ticks feed by eating blood and plant their eggs on the ground. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae crawl onto a host, such as a small rodent.
How Do I Know If My Cat Has Ticks?
Be sure to inspect your cat often. Ticks can be fairly large, so you shouldn't have a problem seeing them. Notice if your cat is scratching frequently at one area of its body. Also, look for skin irritations, allergic reactions, and signs of lethargy. Remember that behavior is how your cat talks to you, and try to pay attention to the little things.
How Do I Safely Remove a Tick?
Begin by bathing your cat with a flea and tick shampoo, being sure to massage it deeply into the skin. Use a shampoo specifically made for cats, as flea and tick shampoos for dogs can be toxic to cats. Have tweezers, a bowl of rubbing alcohol, an empty bowl, disinfectant, and cotton balls ready to use. Wear gloves just to be safe.
Begin by combing through your cat's fur with your fingers looking for ticks. When you find one, dip your tweezers into the rubbing alcohol, and using them, grasp the tick as close to the cat as possible. Focus on the area where the tick is biting the cat. Gently squeeze and pull the tick out. Be sure not to crush the tick, or tear its head off, as this will produce more of the substance that irritates the cat's skin. Double check that you have removed the whole tick. Place the tick into the empty bowl, and continue.
When you have finished searching the cat, pour tick shampoo or rubbing alcohol into the bowl with the removed ticks. Flushing ticks down the toilet is not an effective strategy to kill them; you must soak the ticks in alcohol or tick shampoo.
Common Misconceptions about Ticks
A hot match, petroleum jelly, or alcohol have all been rumored to kill ticks. Experts advise against these methods, however, as they can aggravate the tick, making it deposit more saliva into the wound, causing further irritation. Once the tick is removed, the area may become even more irritated and could be left with a welt. This is a normal reaction; just make sure you remove the entire tick and you should be fine.
Consider the natural product Defendex to rid your pet of ticks and prevent further infestation. Defendex can destroy ticks without using toxic chemicals that other tick treatments use, has no side effects, and is completely safe to use on your cat.
Photo Credit: zaiko.monster