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Ticks are nasty little arthropods related to spiders that lurk in woods, fields, and backyards and uses heat sensors to locate prey. They then cling to fur or clothing until they can insert their pincher like mouthparts into the skin and feed on their host’s blood. The mouthparts lock into place and willingly let go only when the it has completed its meal. These paracites are vectors (carriers) for many diseases. In addition to Lyme, they have been implemented in the causes of babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, RMSF, East Coast fever, relapsing fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and STARI.
If ticks are a problem where you live, check your cat at least once a week or more often if your kitty goes outdoors. A fine-toothed flea comb will help you locate them under her fur. You must use precaution and be very careful when removing these paracites; it is easy to pull the body off, leaving the head in the skin which can lead to infection.
To remove the arthropod dab it with iodine, alcohol, or a strong salt solution to make it loosen its grip; then carefully pull it straight out with tweezers or your fingers with a tissue. Do not squeeze while removing it or you will force fluids from the critter into your cat. After you remove the it, you should see a small hole in the skin. If you see a black spot, you most likely have left the head. If that happens, watch the spot for a few days for signs of infection, and if one develops, call your vet. Clean the bite with alcohol, betadine, or iodine. After about five minutes, apply antiseptic ointment. Be sure the arthropod is dead before you dispose of it. They may survive being washed down sink drains or being wrapped in tissue and tossed in the garbage. Soak it in alcohol or iodine for several hours. Always wash your hands and any instruments you used to handle the parasite with soap and hot water when you finish.