Removing ticks is an inevitable part of cat ownership. At some point or another your cat will suffer from summertime ticks and bites. Not only is it an unpleasant task for the owner, they are also a major irritation for your poor cat. If the ticks are left too long or not removed entirely, they can actually cause some serious diseases.
Prevention and fast removal are key. Here are our top 10 tips on how to do just that.
1. Cat Tick Shampoos
Bathing your cat with a properly formulated tick shampoo is one of the most effective ways to kill ticks when they occur. They are inexpensive and widely available, and are a reliable way of protecting your cat during the peak tick season. However, the way your cat responds to baths maybe the deciding factor on whether to go down this route.
2. Spot-On Treatments
An over the counter spot-on medication can be a very effective method for controlling both ticks and fleas. These are applied directly onto your cats coat, and can keep parasites at bay for up to a month.
If you opt to use a spot-on treatment, be sure you read the labels carefully. The amount you are required to apply will vary from product to product as will where and how you are meant to use it. There are various products on the market readily available at any pet store or you can also check with your vet to see what they recommend.
Spot-on treatments are fast acting, (begins working in as little as one hour) and is medicated to kill all ticks, (including brown dog ticks, lone star ticks and the ticks that may transmit Lyme disease). They will also kill adult fleas.
3. Oral Medications
If your cat makes bath time a scratch filled nightmare, oral medication could be the appropriate answer for you. For this you will need to speak to your vet. One of the benefits of using a once a month pill is that you won’t have to be concerned with coming in contact with your pet after application, (as you would with spot-on treatments.)
One of the downsides is that oral pills are not as readily available cats as for dogs. In fact most tick prevention pills used for cats are actually designed to be used for small dogs. Your vet may decide that this is not a desirable choice in tick prevention for your cat.
4. Tick Collars
Collar tick repellents are also a popular choice, however they are only really useful for protecting the neck and head from ticks. The collar works by making contact with your cat’s skin, and transferring the repellent onto the cat’s fur.
When applying the collar, ensure that it is loose enough for you to fit two fingers beneath it when the collar is in place. You should also watch your cat for any signs of discomfort (such as excessive scratching) in case an allergic reaction occurs.
5. Tick Sprays
Tick spray kills ticks quickly and provides residual protection. Sprays should normally be used alongside other medications such as shampoos and dips. When applying a spray you should be careful when doing so around your cat’s face.
6. Tick Powders
Tick powders are yet another effective method for killing and repelling ticks. However, exercise caution when applying. The powder can irritant both the mouth and lungs if inhaled (by either yourself or your cat) Use small amounts and slowly rub it into the skin. Powders generally need to be applied more often during peak season. Some powders can also be used in areas where your cat sleeps, and in other parts of the household your cat frequents.
7. Tick Dips
A tick dip is a concentrated chemical that needs to be diluted in water and applied to the animal’s fur with a sponge or poured over the back. Dips are often used for very young animals (under four months). However, you should always ask your veterinarian for advice when it comes to treating young kittens for ticks.
8. Check Your Cat Regularly
If you have a cat that likes to roam outside, checking them for ticks regularly is an important step that you need to take. Look between the toes, inside the ears, between the legs, and around the neck.
If you find the ticks before they have a chance to attach and become engorged, you are winning the battle before it starts.
9. Treat Your House & Garden
Prevention can also take place by ensuring your lawn, bushes, and trees trimmed back. This will help reduce the population of fleas and ticks in your backyard. Quite simply, if there are fewer areas for these parasites to live and breed, there will be fewer of them to potentially infest your cat.
10. Keep Your Cat Inside
Although it can be very difficult to start forcing a cat to stay inside if he is used to roaming free, if you are able to at least limit their outdoor time during the tick season, you may be able to prevent the parasites from taking hold. When he does go outside during the high season, try to check his coat for ticks once he comes back inside, or at least at some point every day.