- How to keep your cat healthy and happy...
All mammals are at risk of ticks, and Norfolk, Virginia, has its fair share of ticks that can find their way onto your cat if your cat goes outside. While indoor-only cats are better for the environment and safer overall, if you’ve decided to let your cat outdoors, whether on a leash or just free-roaming, it’s important that you know how to check for ticks and keep your cat safe. Here are some tips and tricks for Norfolk tick management.
Identifying ticks on your cat
The most active type of tick in Virginia, including in Norfolk, is the deer tick, although Lone Star ticks, Gulf Coast ticks, and American dog ticks are also in the area. Deer ticks, the most common type of tick, are also the smallest in North America. They are solid orange-brown, have dark black legs, and grow up to around a quarter of an inch.
Remember to check your cat regularly for ticks. If you’re not able to check whenever you leave the house, try to check about once every few days, especially if your cat regularly roams outside.
Avoiding common tick myths
The most common tick myths usually come from various purported methods of removing ticks. You do not need to use petroleum jelly to “smother” the tick, as the tick’s jaws will stay locked onto the skin even if the tick does smother. You should also never use a cigarette or match to try and burn the tick out. It’s much more likely that you’ll simply harm your cat, especially since cat fur tends to be long and prone to catching on fire.
How to remove a tick
Instead of going with a purported tick removal process that you’ve heard from someone else, use this simple, straightforward method to remove a tick. Take a clean pair of tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as you can. Remove the tick straight out, without twisting. Pull until you feel tension. The tick should release as you increase that tension.
Once you’ve removed the tick, dispose of it by flushing it down the toilet or placing it in a rubbing alcohol solution to kill it. Do not crush the tick, as this may just spread diseases. Remember to wash your hands, the tweezers, and the tick site on your cat with warm water and mild soap once you’re done.
Tips for staying safe from tick-borne illness
Cats can get tick-borne illnesses just like dogs and humans, and it’s important to keep your cat safe. First of all, you can use preventative measures, like tick collars and both topical and internal medications, to keep your cat from having tick bites or receiving the tick-borne illness in the first place.
If your cat starts displaying signs of illness, like a rash, lethargy, or lack of appetite, book a virtual vet appointment with a veterinarian in Norfolk, even if it’s been many months since you noticed a tick bite. Tick-borne illnesses can show up weeks or months after a tick bite.
Easily handle ticks
If you have an outdoor cat in Norfolk, you’ll almost certainly need to remove a tick at some point. Over 80% of pet owners have found a tick on their pets this year. With these tips and bits of knowledge, you’ll be able to handle ticks on your cat more easily.