Ticks in catsTicks are parasites that can infest cats, as well as dogs and humans, sucking blood there for a certain time. The sucking act takes 2 to 10 days, depending on the stage of development of the tick. What makes ticks dangerous is their role as carriers of pathogens such as bacteria or viruses. Compared to dogs, cats are less likely to be affected by tick-borne diseases. The most common ticks in Europe are ticks of the family Ixodidae (shield ticks), which can transmit Lyme disease or anaplasmosis. What ticks affect cats. What they look like?In Germany, the most important tick species in cats are the wood tick (Ixodes ricinus), which belongs to the family of shield ticks, and the multicolored tick (Dermacentor reticulatus). Considerably rarer and occurring mainly in southern European countries is the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), which despite the name can also infest cats. But when do these ticks occur. What diseases they can transmit?
Image: Wood tick Ixodes ricinus (Linnaeus, 1758), photo by Richard Bartz CC-BY-SA-2.5.
The Wood tick (Ixodes ricinus) typically occurs between March and June and from September to November. If the wood tick becomes infected with the appropriate pathogens, it can cause both the Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis) as well as the Anaplasmosis transmitted to cats, dogs and humans.
Image: Dermacentor reticulatus, male, photo by Rainer Altenkamp, Berlin, CC-BY-SA-3.0,2.5,2.0,1.0
The Variegated tick (Dermacentor reticulatus) is active as early as 7 degrees, which is why their season begins earlier and ends later than that of the wood tick. If the climatic conditions are right, there can be ticks from February to December. Infected variegated ticks can transmit babesiosis to cats and likewise the Lyme disease transmitted. Within Europe the Babesiosis Rarely seen in cats, especially in South Africa this condition is reported more frequently in cats.
Image: brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, photo by gailghampshire from Cradley Malvern, UK. CC-BY-2.0
Although its name may suggest otherwise, the Brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus) can infest cats and humans as well as dogs. Although they are considerably rarer than the other ticks, they can be present all year round. Brown dog tick survives poorly outdoors at cooler temperatures. But unlike the other ticks, this tick can survive indoors such as in animal shelters. An infestation and thus a possible infection are thus possible throughout the year. Diseases it can transmit to cats include the Ehrlichiosis and Tularemia. Although many of these diseases are less common in cats than, say, in dogs, they can have serious health consequences for the cat's health.
How to remove ticks from cats?
Whether on cats, dogs or humans, ticks should only be removed with appropriate instruments. The bare fingers are not suitable, since this brings along the danger that the tick is squeezed thereby and thereby only pathogens are pressed into the sting channel. It is also not advisable to use oil, alcohol, glue or ether, as these also increase the risk of pathogen transmission. You can safely and successfully remove ticks from your cat, for example, with a Tick tongs Remove
Image: © vetproduction Ltd
Ticks are anchored in the skin by their barbed biting apparatus. You should therefore pull them out evenly and not too strongly upwards from the biting channel, so that they come off slowly. Avoid twisting the tick, as this often leaves parts of the tick stuck in the skin. It is better to grasp the tick close to the skin and pull it evenly away from the puncture site. It can take half a minute for the tick to detach, but then it slides out of the skin quite easily.
It is important that you render the tick harmless after removing it and dispose of it properly. Do not simply flush the tick down the sink, as ticks do not drown. You can either crush the tick with a solid object such as a glass or soak it in high-proof alcohol (> 40 %), throw chlorine cleaner or disinfectant. Do not crush the parasite with your bare hands either.
Do you have to remove ticks from cats?
Yes, ticks should generally be removed promptly, regardless of the host (dog, cat or human). If you cannot remove a tick from your cat, or cannot remove it completely, consult your veterinarian. your veterinarian to. Do not wait until the tick is fully sucked and falls off by itself. Since infected ticks transmit diseases that can become life-threatening for cats, they should be removed as soon as possible. Because: the longer a tick sits in the skin, the higher the risk for a possible transmission of pathogens.
When an infected tick transmits pathogens with its saliva, no one can say exactly. However, since it can often take hours to days for pathogens to be transmitted after the bite, you should use the window of opportunity effectively to protect your cat. If a tick is not infected by a pathogen, the tick bite is often harmless and associated with only minor consequences for cats.
Are ticks dangerous for cats?
Yes, ticks are dangerous for cats, because infected ticks can transmit serious diseases. When protecting your cat from ticks, tick protection is not so much about the tick bite itself, as this usually has little effect on the cat. Rather, it is these sometimes life-threatening diseases such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis or babesiosis that you should protect your cat from. But of course, not every contact with an infected tick leads to an infection, and not every infection leads to a serious illness.
Tick in the cat not completely removed – what now??
If a tick is not removed properly, small inflammatory reactions can occur due to the residues remaining in the skin. The wound caused by the tick bite can also become infected. In both cases, however, everything usually heals without problems. If the area becomes inflamed after removal and the inflammation does not subside quickly, please consult your veterinarian. Very rarely it happens that cats (especially kittens) are infested by very many ticks at the same time, which can lead to anemia under certain circumstances.
Are there home remedies against ticks?
Many pet owners are looking for home remedies against tick infestation. However, caution should be exercised when using natural remedies such as amber or coconut oil – especially when using certain oils such as tea tree oil. Cat owners should be careful with this one. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment warns of severe symptoms of poisoning. Compared to humans and dogs, cats can hardly break down and excrete the terpenes and phenols contained in them and therefore react particularly sensitively to them. In high doses, however, the oil is also toxic to humans and dogs and is also considered a strong allergenic. Since there is no scientifically proven data on the efficacy of alternative tick repellents, ESCCAP recommends using only approved veterinary medications that have been tested for efficacy and tolerability.
How to prevent ticks in cats?
The risk of a tick infestation and thus for an illness of a cat depends on different factors. The most important is whether the cat is an outdoor cat or an indoor cat, but also whether you live with your cat in a risk area for certain tick species (for example, the variegated tick occurs only regionally) as well as tick-borne diseases. For any cat that regularly spends time in nature, it is advisable to use a tick repellent during the tick season. Especially important for tick protection in cats is to use only tick protection products that are approved for cats. Some tick protection preparations, which are suitable for dogs, are very poisonous for cats! To protect cats from ticks, you should treat the animal consistently and taking into account the application recommendations until the end of the tick season preventively against ticks. To find ticks. To remove. Often ticks are overlooked, because they are quite small.