A calico tabby or calliby or itching and scratching. Photography ©Dixi | Getty Images.

Fleas and Ticks on Cats in the Southeast

What do cat parents in the Southeast — including places like Florida, the Carolinas and Georgia — have to know about fleas and ticks on their felines?
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In the hot, muggy humid environment of the southeastern United States — including places like Florida, the Carolinas and Georgia — fleas and ticks are less seasonal because of the warmer, steady climate.

Fleas on ticks in the Southeast

A gray and white cat scratching and itching.
Fleas are a year-round issue for cats in the Southeast. Photography ©chendongshan | Thinkstock.

These pests can cause consistent problems for cats year-round, says Dr. Richard Gerhold, assistant professor at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, Knoxville.

Ticks on cats in the Southeast

Mostly, the region has the lone star tick, which is identified by unusually long mouthparts, and one or more white spots on the back, and the American dog tick, which has shorter mouthparts and white spots on the back. According to the University of Georgia Extension website, the lone star tick bites large animals like livestock, smaller animals like cats and dogs, deer and humans. The American dog tick prefers dogs but also bites cats, larger animals and humans.

Pets in the southeast may also encounter the black-legged tick or the brown dog tick, the latter of which is tropical in nature and can’t survive outside. If your cat gets a brown dog tick, she probably got it from inside a building where ticks have been — for instance, if you move to a new house, Dr. Gerhold says.

Cats can get a serious disease called cytauxzoonosis felis, carried mainly by the lone star tick. This disease attacks the red blood cells and can make the cat anemic, with very pale to almost white mucous membranes, Dr. Gerhold explains. The best way to spare your cat all parasite suffering is to practice flea and tick prevention.

Flea and tick prevention in the Southeast

If your cat goes outside, minimize potential flea and tick problems by keeping your grass cut short to keep humidity low, removing leaf litter, keeping the compost pile covered and not feeding wildlife except for birds, Dr. Gerhold says.

More recommendations for preventing fleas and ticks on cats:

Thumbnail: Photography ©Dixi | Getty Images.

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!

6 thoughts on “Fleas and Ticks on Cats in the Southeast”

  1. Maggie Bancroft

    I had a flea problem last year and found Nyguard spray online. After vacuuming, mopping and then spraying they all went to flea hell. It kills all stages of fleas. Smells nice and is good for 9 months even after mopping the floors. It is safe for pets and kids once it dries which it does quickly. I always keep a can just in case. I highly recommend this product. I learned my lesson about inexpensive flea control and stick with the Revolution.

  2. Oh, also try switching up the flea/tick control products. Sometimes one will stop working (it’s mysterious as to why), but another can do the killing.

    Gad I hate bloodsuckers. Ugh!

  3. Boric acid or orthoboric acid works to kill fleas and flea eggs. You have to comb it into your carpet and brush it into crevices then let it sit for a couple of weeks, after which you vacuum it up. Easier said than done but it may save some flea-bombing with poison sprays.

    The boric acid works on other household pests (e.g. roaches) and it is not harmful to pets if brushed well into the carpet.

  4. Pingback: Regional guide to fleas and ticks on cats

  5. My cats never go out. But they get fleas. Advantage isn’t working well anymore. I try to vacuum and use peppermint oil spray on the carpets. Cats still need a back up. I use flea drops and resorted to a collar that works on a friend’s indoor/outdoor cats. That and flea bombing the house every other month are about the only things that have helped here in Florida. My worst infestatiom came during the winter. We had a cold snap. I turned on the heat. Suddenly, fleas.

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