The Midwest region — which includes areas like Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and other states — typically has cool-to-warm springs, hot-but-not-too-hot summers and very cold winters. Fleas and ticks abound, but cat parents can protect their pets and homes, experts say.
Although cats can get fleas at any time of year, flea season usually starts in May and goes through to winter, with peak flea times happening in September, October and November, according to Prairie View Animal Hospital in DeKalb, Illinois. You can typically stop putting flea-prevention treatments on your cats once the temperature consistently dips below the freezing point, according to the clinic’s website, pvahosp.com.
Flea infestations are much more common in the home than tick infestations, says Dr. Michelle Matusicky, D.V.M., assistant professor — practice at The Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
Ticks aren’t entirely an outdoor-cat problem; the brown dog tick can actually complete its entire life cycle indoors.
In the Midwest region, cats are most likely to encounter the American dog tick, black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) and brown dog tick, especially during the warmer months, starting in the spring. Don’t be fooled by the “dog” in the names: The ticks bite cats, too, especially if the cat spends a lot of time outside. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, people and pets in that area might also encounter the lone star tick and the winter tick.
Dr. Matusicky advises cat parents to focus on prevention, as that is much easier than treating a flea or tick infestation that creates a household nuisance. Kitty will be much happier, too, to be spared the hair loss, itching, skin infections and other maladies.
“From a financial standpoint, the cost of prevention alone is going to be cheaper than multiple trips to the vet for skin infections or other ailments that these ectoparasites have caused,” she says.
Thumbnail: Photography by George Doyle/Thinkstock.
It’s Flea and Tick Week sponsored by Andis on Catster.com. Stay tuned for more tips on how to keep your cat and household safe from fleas and ticks!