I haven’t thought about ticks much in the past and rarely had I seen them on cats. Over the past year, that has changed.
• 2018 brought Pennsylvania a new, invasive, year-round Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis). The Asian longhorned tick has unique characteristics that pose a threat to humans and animals (females can reproduce without a male, this tick is smaller than most ticks making it more difficult to see and they have the ability to transmit a number of infectious diseases).
• We found a tick crawling on our bathroom wall, undoubtably brought in by a human. We use this example to illustrate the point that humans and animals can bring ticks into the household.
• We have seen more ticks on cats this year than any previous year.
Cats who spend time outside, even for a few minutes, are usually on a flea preventative, while the “indoor only” cat is generally not protected. We humans or other pets (mainly dogs) will bring these unwanted parasites into the home. These parasites naturally gravitate to an unprotected meal which often times is your “indoor only” cat. It may seem odd that we are recommending prevention for “indoor only” cats. However, we see more parasites (i.e. fleas, hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, heartworm…and now ticks) on “indoor only” cats. To illustrate this point further, about 20% of our fecal tests are positive for parasites. The overwhelming majority of these cats are “indoor only.” You may have noticed that I said “flea preventative” in the first sentence. Up until recently, we haven’t discussed or recommended tick prevention in cats. This is now changing, especially since the number of tickborne diseases continues to rise in humans.
for all cats year round.
Fortunately, the past couple of years have brought some new, safe, effective tick preventatives for cats (available only through a veterinarian). We are now recommending cat owners use preventatives with tick coverage. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss our tick preventative options with you.