As we begin to make our plans for summer, it’s important to remember that although ticks are a threat year-round, they are especially a problem during warm weather, as pets and people venture into parks and open spaces to hike, picnic, and enjoy the sun.
This is a problem that can affect you and your family, even if you follow tick precautions when hiking. There are likely to be ticks in your yard or other common areas where you aren’t accustomed to suiting up in anti-tick wear. And, a disgorged tick can fall from your pet in your home and later hitch a ride on you, transmitting diseases in the process.
And yeah, they are just plain GROSS!
If you keep your cats indoors, you’re unlikely to have a problem (unless you also have dogs that venture outside). If you have outdoor cats, you should inspect them frequently for ticks. I like to schedule a quick grooming session a few days a week to check for ticks, abscesses and tender spots. If your cats sleep with you, you may want to inspect them daily, lest you find a tick in your bed. (Yes, it does happen — and I shudder to admit that it’s happened to me!)
Most often, you will feel the tick before you can see it. Depending on the type of tick and how engorged it is, it will be roughly the size of a large ladybug and feel like a hard bump or scab on the skin. If you think you feel a tick, put on a pair of latex gloves before exploring further. If possible, enlist the aid of a “cat wrangler” to hold the cat while you part the fur to search for the tick. Click here for instructions on tick removal.
The longer a tick is attached, the more likely an infection will occur, so it’s important to take steps to prevent a tick infestation in your cats as well as monitor them to ensure they are tick-free.
As promised, here are the thirteen things you absolutely need to know about ticks:
Tomorrow on The Cat’s Meow: How to Remove Ticks Safely.
[SOURCE: Tick Info: Cornell University: Teachers Resource Guide: Parasites. Compiled by Meagan Cooney, firstname.lastname@example.org, 2007; photo:e-how.com]