Parasites in cats: how to eliminate fleas and ticks


Felines, like dogs, also have ticks, but there are tricks to remove them with a clamp and various methods to prevent them

  • Author: By EVA SAN MARTÍN
  • Publication date: July 5, 2016

Cats have ticks, although luckily it is possible to detect them by means of a simple revision that can do his owner with his own hands on the body of the animal. But are they dangerous for the cat? How do you know you can have? Can they be prevented? In addition to answering these questions, this article explains how to remove a cat tick in five steps: detect it, keep calm, brush feline hair, use tweezers to extract it and go to the vet in case of problems.

Do cats have ticks?

Like dogs, cats can also be bitten by ticks, dangerous parasites that not only feed on the cat's blood but also you can get diseases through the bite on your skin. "Ticks climb your body until you find the place to bite and get hooked to feed on your blood," explains feline veterinarian and dermatologist William Miller of Cornell University (USA). But the danger to the cat does not end here: if the tick is infected by a dangerous disease for the cat, these pathogens will enter their blood circle directly, where they can reproduce and grow at ease.

Has the cat lost its appetite and the desire to play? Do you have a few tenths of fever? These symptom They can denote that the cat suffers the effects of summer heat, but you have to be alert as these signs can also reveal that you have been bitten by a tick (or several ticks). And these parasites can seriously endanger your health.

Some diseases that ticks can transmit to cats it is Lyme disease, kidney failure (a very delicate organ already in itself for felines) and even neurological dysfunctionalities. Although they are not frequent, their danger forces not to lower their guard and protect cats from ticks.

How to remove a cat tick?

  • 1. Detect the tick

Ticks are large, so they can be detected with the naked eye. The first step to know if the cat has ticks is to travel its body with the hands: the parasite will be noticed as a lump in the skin, it is recognizable by simple touch. His favorite areas are the head, neck, ears and legs of the cat.

2. Keep calm

If a tick has been found in the cat, keep calm. The vast majority do not carry diseases and, removed in time, will not leave sequels in the animal.

3. Brush the cat's hair

Once detected, ticks that have not yet adhered to the feline's skin have not yet bitten and are loose in the hair, so they can be removed with a simple brushing, which is remembered here how to do in four steps.

4. Remove cat ticks with tweezers

But how to remove the tick from the cat's body when it has already bitten? In this case you have to arm yourself with some small tongs or tweezers, such as those used in hair removal. "The first step is to grab the tick with the tweezers as low as possible, as close to its head and, therefore, to the feline's skin," Miller explains. Once trapped, a continuous force is exerted until removed. Make sure that the parasite is whole and that there is nothing left inside the animal's body. Listed here are the Steps to heal the wound left on the cat's skin.

5. Go to the veterinarian

And if you are not sure if you know how to remove a tick from the cat, it is best to go to the veterinarian. This visit is also important in case of removing a tick but you are not sure that the parasite has come out complete, since the head inside the cat's body can become infected.

How to avoid cat ticks?

The risk of ticks grows for felines with access to the outside, yards or gardens. Consequently, the indoor cats It is not usual for them to need specific medications (although they do have to house the homes or adapt them to the needs of the cat). But it is necessary to remove the ticks from them, although they do not travel or do not have access to the exterior of the house. Therefore, the recognition with the hands never hurts.

Cats are not dogs, and you have to remember it again when referring to medicines to protect them from ticks. The reason is that canine methods against ticks can be dangerous, toxic and even poison cats. Therefore, the veterinarian will be the best advisor before choosing a method against cat ticks.

Systems to prevent ticks include the oral medicines and syrups, which are offered once a month, during which time the feline with access to the outside will be protected from attack by these parasites.

Other fighting resources are the anti-parasite shampoos and necklaces. But, since cats spend a third of their day grooming, these products can be a danger if swallowed.

The baths with soaps that scare away ticks are another method to protect felines familiar with water. It is convenient to remember the tips for bathing a cat.

And the tick collars -specific for felines, they are not worth the dog because they are dangerous- they are another way to fight against ticks. But it can happen that the animal bites or licks its components with the consequent danger. Therefore, the veterinarian must be consulted before choosing the most appropriate method to prevent ticks.

Ticks in cats

As soon as the heat season begins and the temperature exceeds ten degrees, the ticks lurk in the grass. Among the parasites that affect cats, ticks are the best known. Pigs who leave home are one of the favorite victims of these little "bloodsuckers." But, beyond bothering, ticks can also be dangerous because they transmit diseases such as Lyme disease or babesiosis.

Fortunately, cats are infected much less frequently with pathogens transmitted through ticks than dogs or people. However, they can trigger diseases, especially in the mininos with low defenses. In addition, ticks that have infested cats can pass to dogs or people and spread diseases.

Tick ​​control in cats

The sooner the tick is discovered and removed, the lower the risk of transmission of pathogens through the wound. It is important to act quickly, especially to prevent the spread of Lyme disease. The bacteria Borrelia burgdirferi It is found in the intestine of ticks and from there they travel to the place of the bite to infect a new host. This process has a minimum duration of twelve hours. Therefore, if the tick is infected with Lyme borreliosis and is removed in time, it is generally not possible for the disease to be transmitted.

The best option is to inspect the cat after each walk to see if it has ticks. These prefer places with thinner skin and less fur, so you should pay special attention to the area of ​​the head, ears, neck, gut and inner thighs. However, it is advisable to thoroughly examine the entire body of the cat. The size of the ticks varies depending on the amount of blood they have ingested, so they can be from as small as the head of a pin to a measure similar to that of a cherry bone. Consequently, sometimes they are better and sometimes worse.

How to remove ticks

The easiest way to remove a tick is with the help of a clamp remover. These parasites have a mouth that integrates into the skin. With a special clamp, ticks can be removed properly. Under no circumstances should ticks be crushed because it is possible for them to secrete the contents of their intestines and, with it, pathogens, which come into contact with the wound and from there they pass into the cat's blood circulation. It is also crucial to remove the tick completely, because if the head is inserted into the skin it can cause infections.

It is not advisable to use home remedies against ticks such as oil, glue or nail polish remover. These can also cause the parasite to burst and secrete pathogens in the bite wound.

How to get a tick:

  1. Take the clamp remover to remove it.
  2. Place the clamp as close as possible to the cat's skin.
  3. Grab the head of the tick and pull carefully and evenly to remove it from the place of the bite.
  4. Check that the tick has been completely removed.
  5. Disinfect the wound and check it regularly. If the area of ​​the bite becomes inflamed, you should take the cat to the veterinarian.
  6. Always keep in mind the tick bite. If your cat shows symptoms of illness, if he is depressed or has a fever, you should take him to the veterinarian.

Once the parasite is removed, the question of what to do with it remains. Ticks are very resistant, so many cat owners who have tick pests use methods such as fire or other aggressive means to protect their pet and themselves. Sign up for this simple trick: place the extracted tick on a piece of duct tape and fold it. This is a sure way to get rid of it.

Tick-borne diseases

The danger of ticks, rather than the discomfort they cause, is that they can transmit serious diseases. Although cats are rarely infected with them, cats with a weak immune system are more likely to get sick. These are some of the diseases that can be transmitted through ticks:

  • Lyme's desease: also known as Lyme borreliosis, it is activated by the group of bacteria Borrelia burgdirferi. They need parasites (such as ticks) to reach the blood of new hosts through the bite and continue to spread.
  • Babesiosis: It is an infectious disease that appears by unicellular parasites Babesia. These can be transmitted through the tick bite Dermacentor reticulatus and attack the red blood cells.
  • Anaplasmosis: It is also an infectious disease that is caused by the bacteria of the genus Anaplasma. In this case they are also transmitted through ticks and attack white blood cells.

How to identify fleas in cats

At first glance it is difficult to recognize a flea due to its small size of just a few millimeters. The main symptom of a flea infestation in cats is itching. This causes the pussy to scratch, lick or bite frequently. Due to this, wounds or eczema may appear.

If you have the impression that your cat has fleas, you should inspect it. If you observe any specimen, it is clear that your pussy is infested. If you don't find any, you can find out if your cat has fleas by looking for excrement from them.

How to find out if your cat has fleas:

  1. Place the cat on a smooth surface that is clear enough to recognize the fecal remains of fleas when they fall out of their hair. A good place for this is a tiled floor or the bathtub.
  2. Comb your cat's fur thoroughly with a flea comb. In case of excrement, you will observe a kind of small black crumbs either in the comb, or in the ground.
  3. Collect these crumbs with a white handkerchief and moisten it carefully.
  4. If it is flea droppings, crumbs will dissolve and red spots will appear on the handkerchief. This is because the droppings are undigested blood from the cat.

Flea Hazards

Apart from bothering, fleas can also be dangerous, as they can cause:

  • Anemia: A serious flea infestation can lead to considerable blood loss leading to anemia.
  • Allergy to flea saliva: when itching, the flea secretes saliva, which is responsible for the typical itching, and that can cause allergy in some cats.
  • You had: Fleas may contain tapeworm eggs. If so, if the cat swallows the flea, the eggs reach the intestine and tapeworms develop there.
  • Hemobartonellosis: also known as feline infectious anemia, it is an infectious disease caused by family bacteria Mycoplasma (Hemobartonellafelis). Fleas are transmitters of these bacteria that can damage the cat's red blood cells.
  • Bartonellosis: Fleas are the main transmitters of the bacteria of the genus Bartonella. Although these bacteria do not usually cause diseases in cats, they can transmit bartonellosis to people through a scratch or if they come in contact with an open wound.

How to eliminate fleas

To get rid of parasites like fleas in cats, you have to treat both the animal and its environment:

  1. Treatment of the animal and its companions:

You can choose from a wide variety of products to eliminate fleas in cats: from pipettes that are administered at the base of the neck to sprays and antiparasitic collars. There are also pills, which are effective for a certain period of time.

If your cat has fleas, it is essential that you treat the environment to eliminate fleas at all stages of development. Wash carpets and blankets at a minimum 60 ° C. Use the vacuum more frequently and run it across all relevant surfaces. After vacuuming the first time, it is necessary to separate and discard the bag. In addition, the environment can also be treated with antiparasitic sprays.

Can cats have ticks?

Although many tutors believe that no, the truth is that cats can have ticks. In general, domestic cats that do not usually take walks outside the home are very likely to come into contact with these ectoparasites. Recall that ticks are found mainly in parks, squares with vegetation or grass, fields, gardens, forests, rural areas, etc. However, felines that usually perform walks abroad they can be infected with ticks directly or indirectly, from contact with other cats or dogs. In addition, the mininos that they live with dogs who usually walk outdoors can also become infected from contact with their homeroom partner. Also, it should be noted that even we can bring ticks to our home without realizing it.

On the other hand, the stray cats they represent the feline population most likely to suffer from tick attack, since they live in unfavorable conditions and do not receive regular deworming. Therefore, if you have recently adopted a pussycat, do not forget to go quickly to the veterinarian to verify your health status and start your immunization and deworming.

Diseases that transmit ticks to cats

As we have mentioned, ticks can transmit severe pathologies to our cats, as they act as vectors for various pathogens, such as protozoa and bacteria. Next, we summarize the main diseases that can transmit ticks to cats:

  • Feline cytauxzoonosis (Maltese cat fever)
  • Lyme's desease
  • Tularemia (rabbit fever)
  • Feline drooling
  • Feline infectious anemia (haemobartonellosis)
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Paralysis

How to know if my cat has ticks?

Ticks are small arachnids (as well as mites) that obtain the necessary nutrients for their survival from the parasitization of other organisms. These parasites lodge in the skin of different animals to suck their blood and, thus, feed and reproduce, completing their life cycle.

The various known species of ticks are divided into 2 large groups: hard ticks and soft ticks. Between the hard species, we found the ticks of the genus Rhipicehpahlus, the most numerous and widespread throughout the world. These ticks are the ones that most commonly parasitize dogs and cats, staying mainly on their backs. Its main feature is the dark shell It covers and protects your body, which generally shows a dark brown color.

Between the soft species, the best known is the Otobius Megnini, which usually lodges in the ears of the animals that parasitize. Unlike hard ticks, these ectoparasites they don't have a hard coat on the outside of his body, therefore, its touch texture is soft. In addition, they tend to have a lighter color, between beige and cream.

In the same animal, we can observe the three phases that make up the life cycle of ticks: larvae, nymphs and adults. In general, younger ticks (larvae and nymphs) usually settle in the dorsal region, where they find thicker and firmer skin. Already in the adult phase, these parasites usually lodge in the softer and thinner skin of the legs (mainly between the fingers), in the ears, in the neck and in the perianal area.

Symptoms of ticks in cats

The most obvious sign of ticks in cats is one's own parasite identification. Therefore, if you are suspicious that your pussy may have come into contact with ticks, it is essential to perform a detailed inspection of your entire body, paying special attention to the aforementioned regions.

However, cats can also develop some symptoms associated with the presence of ticks in their body, such as constant scratching as a result of itching caused by bites. Some cats can also use their teeth to try to relieve itching. In addition, to feed on the cat's blood, the tick must pierce its skin, so hemorrhage occurs relatively easy to identify.

When ectoparasites are not eliminated quickly and multiply, more severe symptoms may appear, such as a picture of anemia, paralysis or intoxication.

What should I do if my cat has ticks?

If you notice that your cat has many ticks, the first thing you should do is keep calm and not despair. No one likes to identify these annoying parasites in their beloved pussycat, but calm will be essential to know how to react with intelligence and prudence. In these cases, the best is take your cat to the vet to establish a fast and effective treatment that eliminates ticks. In addition, in the clinic, the professional may perform a physical exam and request some analysis to verify the patient's health status.

However, if you identify one or two ticks in the body of your pussy, you can remove them in your own home, always very carefully. Next, we tell you how to do it.

How to remove a tick from a cat?

If your cat is very itchy and you are suspicious that it may have come into contact with ticks, but you cannot find any adult specimen at a glance, you can use a flea comb to brush all the coat of your pussy. Carefully, we can make several soft passes to try to eliminate the larvae and identify ticks in cats. Always with the care of eliminating them at each pass to avoid new contamination.

For remove adult ticks from your cat, you should be very calm and proceed very carefully, always using appropriate tools, such as small tweezers. Do not try to do it with your own hands or use other objects that could harm your pussy or you. Why is it necessary to use tweezers? Very simple, because when using the wrong tools we can make the mistake of leaving the head of the tick inside the animal's body, a fact that can favor the development of an infection.

Steps to get a cat tick

  1. The tick must be removed whole, so the clamp should always be located as close as possible to the mouth of the parasite that is attached to the skin of the animal. If we remove only a part of the tick or make it explode, it can generate a severe infection in the body of our cats.
  2. After properly locating the clamp, you should start pull very gently up, without turning or making sudden movements.
  3. After removing the tick, it is essential clean and disinfect the wound In the cat's skin. And do not forget to take your pussy to the veterinarian to verify their state of health and rule out any pathology transmitted by ticks.

If you have difficulty removing your cat's tick, a very effective trick is to apply a thin layer of olive oil or apple cider vinegar on it with a clean gauze. After carrying out this act, wait a few seconds, since sometimes the tick takes off alone.

How to prevent ticks in cats?

The most effective way to prevent your cat from having ticks is to offer adequate preventive medicine, whose pillars are vaccination and periodic deworming. Various products for deworming cats are available in the market, such as pipettes, collars, internal antiparasitic products and antiparasitic hygiene products (shampoos, soaps or colognes).

On the other hand, you can also choose deworm your cat using home remedies and more natural, such as apple cider vinegar, lavender essential oil or lemon juice. However, it is always recommended that you consult your veterinarian before applying any home treatment in your pussy.

In addition, to remove ticks from our home, we must adopt sustainable hygiene habits, always using cleaning products pet friendly. Remember that common products contain irritating and corrosive chemicals that harm the health of our pets. It is also important that we ventilate our home quite frequently and have a good luminosity.

This article is purely informative, at we have no power to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case he presents any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Ticks in cats - Symptoms and how to remove them, we recommend that you enter our Deworming section.

What are ticks?

Ticks are a type of parasite, distantly related to spiders, that hooks, through parts of their mouth, to the skin of dogs, cats and other animals. Once they are well hooked, they inject their saliva and suck the blood. At the time they get hooked they are quite small and flat and not well attached to the animal's skin.

They begin to feed and swell during the next two hours, their size increases and they take a rounded shape until they are the size of a pea. Generally, ticks are found in areas with grass, shrubs and trees, including some gardens.

Why can ticks be dangerous?

Ticks can transmit different diseases, the most important of which is Lyme disease. Occasionally, some of these diseases can cause death to dogs and cats, and often cause unpleasant symptoms such as influenza or other similar ones that can last.

Products to prevent ticks

Topical control products recommended by veterinarians, such as Frontline, are usually effective in preventing ticks or causing them to come off quickly. Patented sprays, necklaces and powders can also be effective.

It is also possible that the ticks will end up getting hooked, since the active ingredients take time to be effective, but the tick will die and break off within 24 hours.

Where to look for ticks?

After a walk, always check if your dog has a tick, and do the same with your cat if he often goes outside. Ticks can be found anywhere in the body, but they are usually found on the head near the eyes and ears, on the neck, on the inside of the back legs and under the tail, near the anus.

When a tick has just been hooked, it is easy to remove it by brushing the animal's hair, as long as it has not had time to fully engage the skin.


Remove the ticks step a He passed:

    With the help of tweezers or the tool to remove ticks, grab the tick as close as possible to the surface of the skin. Ten cu> To get rid of a living tick, soak it in alcohol, put it in a sealed bag or container, wrap it tightly with duct tape or throw it into the toilet. Never crush a tick with your fingers because it could still spread disease.

Alternative methods: remove ticks with oil or alcohol

There are other methods to eliminate ticks that work in some cases, for example, if the tick is in a difficult place near the eye or ear and it is not easy to use the tweezers, or in the case of not having tweezers .

Dip cotton in liquid soap, nail polish remover or other similar liquid. Hold the wet cotton over the tick for several minutes until it comes off. It is only recommended to use the chemical method if it is not possible to use tweezers.

It is not advisable to use this method, in the first place, because the objective is to remove the tick as quickly as possible, before any infection occurs, so it is better not to wait for the tick to disengage.

Secondly, the use of chemicals can cause irritation or wounds in the tick that can cause it to vomit infectious fluids in the host, which could cause the infection we are trying to avoid.

How to detect ticks

Unlike what is thought, ticks can be present at home, so cats can also be affected, although it is normal for parasites to be found in natural environments such as forests, parks or urban gardens. Ticks are not seasonal, since they are active throughout the year, with the months of March to October being the busiest.

To detect ticks it is advisable to be aware of the animal and make a quick review daily, you can do it for example every night, to make sure they don't have any ticks on them. To prevent our pets from having ticks we can use some preventive anti-parasitic measures such as necklaces or pipettes We will buy at the vet or pet stores.

If our pet has ticks

Although it is advisable to go to the veterinarian to remove the ticks and avoid side effects, we can also extract them carefully and visit the veterinarian later to take a quick look at our animal.

To remove the tick at home you can follow the following steps:

1. Find the head of the tick and prepare some tweezers. In stores you will find specific ones to remove ticks. Never do it directly with your hands!

2. Clamp the head from the tick as close to the skin as you can since if we hold the body it can split and stay head inside of the pet.

3. Pull hard, without turning the tweezers so that no part of the animal remains attached to the skin. In case parts of the tick remain embedded in the skin remove them with the clamp.

4. Wash the wound with iodine or alcohol

Of course, if the tick has gained a lot from the blood that has been taken from our pet, it is better to go to the vet in case the animal has contracted any disease. If our pet lives in a garden it is advisable to cut the lawn and spray in case there is a plague of ticks.