Ticks are spider-like small parasites that suck blood from other animals. They have eight legs with an egg shaped body, which will become larger and darker when filled with blood. Unlike fleas, they don’t fly or jump, instead they climb or drop on your pet’s coat when they brush past what they’re sitting on. Ticks wait for host animals on the tips of grasses and shrubs. When the plant is brushed by a moving animal or person, they quickly let go of the vegetation and climb onto the host. Ticks are common in woodland and grassland and, although active throughout the year, you’ll most likely see them between Spring and Autumn.
How your cat can be exposed to Ticks?
Your cat can also be exposed to ticks in your own garden. Feral cats, squirrels, hedgehogs and other small rodents can gain access to your garden and are often carriers of ticks. This is one reason not to encourage wild animals to come into your cat’s domain by leaving out food. Even a bowl of water, left out for when your cat is outside, is an invitation for other animals to hang about. You can also be an unwitting carrier of ticks and they can be brought into your home without your knowledge on your trouser leg, socks, shoes, etc so even indoor only cats are at risk of getting ticks.
How a Tick attaches itself to your cat
Ticks bite their hosts because they need to feed on an animal’s blood in order to move through the various phases of their development, from the larval stage to adulthood. Larvae need blood nourishment in order to develop into young ticks (nymphs); the nymphs need it in order to mature into adulthood; and the adult female needs to ingest blood in order to mate and lay the thousands of eggs that will eventually develop into a new generation of larvae. It is in their nymph and adult stages, that a tick will crawl onto a cat’s body, attach itself, and start to feed on the animal’s blood.
Dangers that come with Ticks
If a tick is carrying an infectious agent for example Lyme disease, the pathogens will enter your cat’s circulatory system and begin to reproduce rapidly. Ticks are efficient carriers of disease because they attach firmly when sucking blood, feed slowly and may go unnoticed for a considerable time while feeding. If your cat is heavily infested with ticks, the parasites can drink enough blood to cause anemia (severe blood loss).
Tick attachment can also lead to skin reactions at the bite site and subsequent bacterial infection which can be uncomfortable for you cat and require veterinary treatment.
If your cat brings ticks into the house, your family members could also be exposed to Lyme disease and other diseases that ticks can transmit if they bite people.
What to do about it?
For these reasons we advise treating your cat regularly with an anti-parasitic treatment that is effective against ticks. We at Ark Vetcare recommend a spot-on product called Bravecto. As well as protecting against ticks, it is also a flea and worm treatment and conveniently only has to be applied every 12 weeks. You can ask your vet about it at your next visit or speak to any of our customer care team or nurses about it.