Flea and Ticks on Cats - Prevention, Spotting, Removing, and Treatment

Flea and Ticks on Cats - Prevention, Spotting, Removing, and Treatment - OutdoorBengal

A few months back I went with my adventure cat to a beach near Cape Cod. Mia (my cat) and Coy (my friend's cat) were both wearing a tick prevention product, we humans didn't. When we got home from that trip we could stop over 50 ticks on each of the humans in that household and none on the cats, which means that the produdct we were using worked to prevent ticks from biting our pets.

I would like to share with you how we treated our cats for that trip as well as what to do in the case that you suspect that your cat has ticks or flea.

Can A Cat Get Ticks?

Cats can get infested by ticks and flea, just like dogs do. Particularly if your cat goes outdoors, Tick Prevention for Cats is a must.

Dog and Cat flea and tick treatment are not interchangeable. Cats can get sick from Dog's products and dosings also change. These products can also cause skin allergies and other potential health issues because they are toxic.

Not treating your cat is not an option either because ticks also come with health problems when they bite you or your cat, which include;

  • Skin irritation.
  • Skin allergies and infections.
  • Rashes.
  • Transmission of diseases and severe illness.
  • Other health-related sufferings.

These pests breed on soft and warm cats and dogs. They also feed on pets' blood which is what causes health problems.

Are Ticks Harmful to Cats? 

Ticks can be harmful to cats. Ticks are not necessarily harmful beyond the fact that they are biting yoru cat to feed from them, but when fleas and ticks feed on cats' blood, they can transmit illness.

Luckily for cats, unlike dogs and humans, tick-borne disease in cats is relatively rare. When bitten by a tick that has the disease, cats can get Lyme disease just like dogs and humans, but there is no Lyme disease vaccine for cats.

Another disiease that cats can get from ticks is Tularemia. There's no vaccine either for this disease in felines, and it's usually treated with antibiotics. High fever and loss of appetite are the most common symptoms in cats. 

Finally, cats can get infected with Cytauxzoonosis (which also receives the name of bobcat fever). Symptoms of Cytauxzoonosis include anemia, fever, jaundice, and difficulty breathing. This infection is serious and potentially fatal for your cat. Sadly, there's no preventive vaccine available to cats.

This is why preventing your cat from getting bitten by ticks is utmost important.

More on tick prevention later in this article.

Can Indoor Cats Get Ticks?

Yes, ticks and fleas can bite your pets inside your home, although is very unlikely unless you live in a rural area. Nonetheless, even when your cat does not roam freely, or you don't live in a rural area, cats can get exposed to the outdoors indirectly;

  • Regular visiting of other pet outside can bring them indoors.
  • Humans can also be a carrier for pests inside the home.
  • Rodents are also a reason to bring bugs and flea eggs into your home.
  • Visiting with your cat a facility that had other cats or dogs.

How Do You Know If Your Cat Has Ticks?

There are certain signs you can notice if your pet has ticks or fleas. In certain areas, ticks on cats and dogs are common, if you don't know about your particular area, your veterinarian will be able to help you.

If your cat has ticks or flea, timely prevention and treatment are the way to get rid of them. The below-mentioned signs could be cause of ticks or fleas:

  • Visible fleas, ticks, and other pests on the cat’s body.
  • Too much scratching.
  • Rashes and redness in the skin.
  • Scabs or flakes in the skin.
  • Excessive grooming.
  • Small and dark spots on the skin.
  • Hairloss or fur loss.

You can easily get on prescribed medications, ointments, or vaccinations from your veterinarian, but you can also get over-the-counter ones.

My recommendation is to always visit your veterinarian if you believe that your cat is infected by ticks or flea, they will assess the severity of the problem and prescribe you the best medication.

How to Spot a Tick on a Cat?

Ticks are a type of parasite that sucks and breeds on pets' blood. They are tiny with multiple legs and can be of black, brown, red, or tan color. Ticks might look like insects, but they're not. They are part of the arachnid family, along with scorpions, mites, and spiders. When a tick bites, it attaches itself to the skin of an animal and sucks blood.

Ticks usually swell up to the size of a pea when sucking pets' blood.

Ticks grow after biting and sucking blood from your cat

Photos of Ticks on Cats:

Tick on an orange cat

Photo of a Tick on a Cat

Photo of a small tick on a cat

Can Cat Ticks Transfer to Humans?

Fleas and ticks that breed on pets also like human blood, so they could potentially bit humans as well. Because cats have warmer temperatures than humans, the tick is unlikely going to pass from a cat to a human.

How To Remove a Tick From a Cat?

Removing fleas and ticks from pets can be tricky. There are 2 methods that are effective at removing ticks from your cat, depending on what you have at hand.

Best way to remove a tick from a cat

The best way to remove a tick from a cat is by using fine-point tweezers, to avoid tearing the tick's mouth from the body, which would increase the chances of it spreading possible infections into the bite area.

Spread your cat's fur, then grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Very gently, pull straight upward, in a slow but steady motion.

Removing Cat Tick with Fine Point Tweezers

Remove a tick from a cat using dental floss

Tweezers are the best way to remove a tick because they’re easy to maneuver and even if the cat is annoyed and trying to dismiss your attempt, it will be easier to get them to stay quiet long enough for you to grab the tick.

If you don’t have tick tweezers available, you can do the trick with dental floss  in a pinch. Tie some thread around the mouthpart area of the tick (as close to the skin as possible), then pull up and outwards. Like with the tweezers, pull slowly, upward and steadily, so you don’t break the tick off but rather pull it off completely.

    Can a Cat Gets Ticks Off Themselves?

    Yes, cats can remove a tick themselves by grooming. Cat's tongue have little spikes called papillae, that allow the cat to groom all the way to the skin. This little hooks will be able to remove ticks at time. However, ticks can attach to the face, ears, and other areas that are difficult for cats to groom.

    Myth: Cats cats groom themselves so frequently and thoroughly that they remove all of their ticks

    What Are Tick Treatments For Cats Good?

    The best way to treat ticks is to prevent your cat from getting them on the first place. There are a few brands and products for it, some are over the counter and some will require medical prescription.

    Over the counter medicine tends to be (from my experience) more toxic to cats, cheaper and easier to access. Prescription medicine, like Revolution, is harder to get but is not as toxic for your cat and will cost you a lot more.

    Over The Counter Tick Prevention for Cats Side Effects:

    If used right, the product can have some mild side effects. Monitor your cat after application. Side effects, although very rare, may include signs of skin irritation
    such as redness, scratching, or other signs of discomfort. Gastrointestinal signs such as hypersalivation, vomiting or diarrhea have also been reported. 

    If you apply the medicine wrong and your cat licks it, it can have from mild to severe side effects, even death.

    If these or other side effects (such as lethargy) occur, consult your veterinarian or call the number available in the instructions of the product you used.


    Stay wild, stay safe, see you outdoors!

    Albrert & Mia


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