Protecting Dogs From Pests and Wildlife: A Pet Owner Blog

Preventing and treating paralysis tick bites in your cat

by Courtney Wheeler

Ticks are very common in Australia and tend to peak around spring as the weather warms up and while there is still moisture around from the winter season. The most serious type of tick for pets is a tick known as the 'paralysis tick' or Ixodes holocyclus. This tick tends to inhabit long grass and cannot move far, so it waits for a blood meal such as a pet to come by. 

As a pet owner, here is what you need to know to prevent your cat from becoming a victim. 

Keep your cat inside as much as possible

One of the best ways to prevent your cat from getting tick bites is to keep them inside as much as possible. Outdoor cats can be less likely to come inside to sleep in the house when the weather warms up so it can be worth starting to train them to stay inside in the cooler months and gradually decreasing their access to the outdoors.

Use a tick repellent

There are some limited options for tick repellent for cats including a fipronil spray and spot treatments. Some of the common tick repellents for dogs can be lethal to cats, so it can be a good idea to get some advice from your veterinarian on the best type of repellent. 

Keep an eye on them

Ticks can be harder to spot on long hairs cats and can often reside in hard to spot nooks on the cat. It is a good idea to regularly inspect your cat for ticks, especially if the cat shows sign of a tick bite such as being unsteady on their feet, making loud vocalisations, vomiting and trouble breathing. 

Get the vet to remove ticks

If you do find a tick on the cat, it's important not to try and remove the tick yourself. The tick can break off as you try and grasp it, and this can create a more serious injury. The vet can surgically remove the tick and can monitor your cat afterwards to provide emergency support such as hydration, anti-nausea medications and stimulants to keep them as healthy as possible. 

Paralysis ticks can be extremely serious for cats, resulting in serious illness and even death in some cases. If you have a cat that goes outdoors, it is very important to get advice from your vet on the best way to prevent and treat tick bites and to keep your cat healthy year round.