There are many ways to remove ticks from your cat, but unfortunately not all of them work! Some can do more harm than good, so it is important to be aware of what tricks and treatments work for tick removal in order to save yourself some money and heartache.
Ticks are very small parasites that latch onto a host organism at night when they are asleep and ingest their blood.
They grow rapidly within the host during this time and eventually must find an outlet for the consumed blood. They usually inject themselves into nearby tissue or break off a piece of skin and swallow it, both being routes to internalizing more of the blood.
If left untreated, these effects can become life-threatening for the parasite as well as the host. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to get rid of a tick for most people. Read on to learn more about them!
Removing Ticks with Your Hand
One of the easiest ways to check for and then remove a tick is by using your hand. When you feel a set of teeth clamp down on the skin, pull hard enough to separate both mouth parts, but gently enough to avoid hurting your pet.
After doing this, wash your hands thoroughly to make sure you removed any leftover pieces. This will help prevent the spread of infection, either through saliva or bone fragments coming in contact with fresh tissues. It also helps ensure that you did not accidentally leave the tick attached longer than needed.
Try to find the area the tick was in
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The next step is to try to locate the site of the tick so that it can be removed properly. If you do not know how to identify a tick, then seeking help from a professional or using online resources is the best approach.
Ticks are parasitic animals that feed off of your blood. This process is very painful for both the tick and its host. Fortunately, most ticks spend the majority of their lives attached to a host plant or animal. Therefore, if you are able to determine where the tick bit into your skin, you will be able to easily remove it.
By trying different methods, you may be successful in removing the tick yourself. Using alcohol, warm water, rubbing alcohol-safe cleaner, or soap should work to get rid of it. Some people also recommend scraping the area with a sterilized needle or pin.
Look for any red bumps on your cat
It is very important to check your cat for symptoms of infection after you have performed the tick removal process. If your cat has a slight sneeze or cough, has drooling or dry mouth, has swollen glands, or if they are acting nervous or lethargic, then it may be necessary to visit the vet immediately!
In some cases, our dogs can get sick more quickly than cats due to their longer hair which helps them work as a protective layer against bacteria. However, like humans, most dog ticks do not transmit pathogens unless they are bitten for at least 24 hours. Therefore, checking only for symptoms during that time frame will usually prevent need to see a doctor soon!
Luckily, there are several easy ways to remove a tick without having to go through the hassle of taking your pet to the doctor.
Get your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible
Even if you think you've got all of the tools at home, never try to remove a tick yourself! Ticks are very strong and will usually attach themselves more firmly once they have made their choice to stick on a host.
Not only can doing so hurt your cat, but it also poses a risk for infection from external sources. If your pet has been exposed to ticks for any length of time, see a vet right away so that appropriate treatments can be administered.
Removal requires use of both a firm grip and a tool called a tick lever or tick twister. Neither of these works well when the tick is too deep into the skin.
At this stage, most veterinarians use either a suction device or a pair of sterile scissors to loosen the tick enough to pull it out. Sometimes, patients require an injection of pain medication or anti-inflammatory liquid first before being cleared to go home.
Use tweezers to remove the tick
While most people are advised to gently pull ticks out using your fingers, this can be very uncomfortable for both you and the patient. If possible, it is better to use some kind of tool or device to do so.
Using fine-tipped tweezers, take off as little skin as possible when removing the tick. Only grab the soft fur around the mouth area of the dog or cat where the tick was located!
If necessary, apply gentle pressure to make the tick come out. Try not to squeeze too hard, as this could cause infection or damage the surrounding tissue.
Once it comes out, place the removed material in alcohol or other disinfecting solution and preserve it properly.
Make sure to do this as soon as you notice a tick on your cat
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While some cats are more inclined to scratch or play hard, most enjoy relaxing times with their owners. If your pet is showing signs of discomfort or if the tick is struggling to get out, now is the time to take action!
Fortunately, removing a ticks from an animal is not too difficult. Even though many think that they are very clever, there are several ways to do it wrong and potentially cause internal bleeding or infection.
It is best to use a fine-tipped tweezer or needle to remove the tick, but if those aren’t available then just use regular old nail clippers.
Try to prevent your cat from scratching
When a dog or cat gets a tick, their grooming habits usually stop immediately as they try to remove the tick. The same thing happens with a human-tick interaction!
If you find a tick on your home or outdoor space, don’t pull it off of the skin. That could hurt your pet or possibly expose someone to disease.
Instead, use fine tooth combing (never squeeze a tick) to look for any other ticks that may be attached in the area. Check all parts of your animal including fur, ears, nose, mouth and feet.
When removing an embedded tick, do not twist or push on the body. Pull straight up using sterilized tweezers or your fingernail so it doesn't reattach.
Never burn or cut away the tick no matter what symptoms your cat shows. This can spread infection. If needed, take your child or adult to your doctor to get proper treatment.
Use an insect repellent on your skin
While there is no way to know for sure what will work against ticks, using an insect repellent can help!
There are several brands of topical creams that contain chemicals such as DEET (N, N-Diethyl-3-methylbenzamide), picric acid (2,4-bis-(o-diphenoxydiphosphoryl)butane), or oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE).
These products can be applied directly onto exposed areas of skin like hands and feet or sprayed onto clothing where ticks may have embedded themselves.
You should let them dry completely before stepping away so they can fully penetrate the tick’s protective coating.
Wash your hands with soap and water after handling your cat
After you determine that your cat has a tick, the next thing to do is wash your hands and try not to touch your skin where the tick was attached.
Removing ticks can be tricky because some fall off on their own, but many must be removed using a sharp pair of tweezers or a thin needle.
Never use force when trying to remove a tick. If necessary, apply gentle pressure for just a few seconds and then pull out as gently as possible. This way you’ll avoid hurting the tick or pulling it deeper into your skin!
Once you've washed your hands, dry them thoroughly so that none of the wet skin remains exposed to potential infection.