If you have an outdoor cat, you know that they are more likely to get ticks and fleas than an indoor cat. While fleas can be removed using a vet-approved flea bath, ticks are more difficult to remove because you need to get the entire tick body out of your cat. But if you don’t have the required tweezers, how can you get it out safely?
When removing a tick from your cat without tweezers, you need to slowly and carefully remove it with your gloved hand. You might need to distract the cat while you take out the entire body of the tick. Then, clean the area with a cat-friendly antiseptic and look for any signs of infection.
Once you feel the tick in your cat, the clock is ticking to get it out before it seriously injures your cat or kills it. Read for more information on how to remove the tick safely.
Outdoor Cats Are More Prone to Getting Ticks
Ticks are known to pass on Lyme Disease and other infections to the beings they burrow into and are more prevalent in the country in heavily wooded areas. Outdoor cats might enjoy exploring the great outdoors but are more at risk of getting ticks. They latch into your cat’s skin and burrows down.
If you see a tick on your cat, it’s important to remove it immediately, so it doesn’t cause your cat more pain and discomfort. While you don’t need to keep your cat inside the entire summer, you might want to limit its time outdoors, especially in the evening, when the ticks are more prevalent.
Indoor cats are less likely to get ticks unless someone comes into the house with one. In that case, be sure to look your cat over if ticks have been in your house.
What is the Difference Between Ticks and Fleas?
Ticks are insects that burrow into your cat’s flesh and set up housekeeping while living inside your cat, which can be very dangerous. They can cause Lyme disease, as well as other infections or illnesses.
On the other hand, fleas are tiny insects that eat the flesh of your cat or dog. They are easier to get rid of, but they come back if your cat is constantly outside. Medication can sometimes be given to keep fleas from coming back. If you need to get rid of fleas on a cat, get a friend to help you and give your cat a short bath with some Ivory soap, which is not harmful if ingested.
Look For Signs of a Tick On Your Cat
Whenever your cat comes inside from a romp around the yard, have it come on your lap so you can pet it. Feel around for any weird bumps or things sticking out on their skin. If you do find something, look at it.
If a tick has been on your cat for a few hours, it will be flat against the skin. However, if it just got there, it will stand out more.
Other signs your cat has a tick include:
- Your cat will keep scratching at the site where the tick is located.
- If the tick has been there for a while, your cat might have a tick-borne illness.
Besides those signs, your cat won’t have any other signs, so you will need to check your cat regularly for ticks. You can do this by petting your cat often. Your cat will like that, and you get extra affection from your cat too.
Recruit a Friend to Help
What do you do if you find a tick on your cat? Since cats are rather skittish about things being done to them, you will need a friend or family member to help hold your cat while carefully removing the tick.
Have your friend hold your cat firmly yet gently, supporting your cat under its back paws with one arm while using the other arm to hold the front paws still.
Once your cat is secured, proceed with finding and removing the tick.
Wearing Gloves, Part the Cat’s Fur
Put on a pair of examination gloves before proceeding. Then, part the cat’s fur where the tick is located to expose it as much as you can. Make sure you can see the entire tick before trying to pull it out. If it is too deep, you might need a pair of tweezers before pulling it out of your cat.
It would be better for you and your cat if you had a pair of tweezers, but if you don’t, try getting it out with your fingers first. Chances are it’s not too embedded in your cat yet, and you can get it out safely. For the future, ask your vet for a tick remover tool, or buy some tweezers in the drug store.
Carefully Pull Out the Tick With the Mouth Intact
If you don’t have a pair of tweezers, it might be difficult to pull the tick out. But try grasping the tick as close to the head as you possibly can with your thumb and forefinger. Pull the tick out while keeping its mouth intact. If you leave the mouth inside your cat, it will still be infectious.
Do not twist or squeeze the tick, as this could cause the mouth to stay inside your cat. It could also burst, causing the tick’s fluids to spray on you or your cat, which could cause a tick-borne infection.
Dispose of the Tick Safely
Once you have the tick fully out, wrap it up in toilet tissue and flush down the toilet. Alternatively, you could put the tick in a jar of alcohol to kill it first, which might keep it from jumping back out before you get a chance to flush it down. Either way, you want to make sure that the tick doesn’t jump back onto your cat or on you or your friend before you have a chance to dispose of it.
Clean the Area With a Cat-Friendly Antiseptic
Once you’ve removed the tick from your cat, swab the area with a cat-friendly antiseptic such as hydrogen peroxide or a little rubbing alcohol, which should keep any infection from forming and harming your cat. If you have any antibiotic ointment for cats, rub a little bit on the tick site to keep any infections away.
Keep an Eye Out for Infections
You will want to keep an eye on your cat for the next week or so for infections. The signs of an infection may include fever, loss of appetite, loss of energy, stiffness in the joints, and slower movement, indicating joint pain.
Sometimes, the cat’s back legs might get progressively weaker, which is known as tick-bite paralysis. While this is a temporary condition, get your cat to the vet right away as your cat will need extra support IVs and fluids.
Ticks are nothing to play around with, as they can cause serious damage to your feline friend. Most home medicine cabinets already have a set of tweezers, but if you don’t have any, you might want to consider getting a pair in case the need arises.
Try to prevent ticks in the future by:
- Keeping your cat indoors more often.
- Putting a tick collar on your cat.
- Use tick shampoos and powders on your cat in between their exploring sessions.
- Or use a tick dip for your cat.
You won’t always be able to keep your cat indoors if they are used to being outside. But close monitoring should keep the occurrences to a minimum.