Cat parasite – bloated tick © Allies Dad creative commons

The tick is a revolting parasite that is quite frequently found on cats. My mother (yes her again ) took in a stray cat (Pushkin) that had lumps on his back. She wasn’t sure what they were and we spoke about it on the phone.

I thought that they could be ticks and as it happens that is what they were. Although they are not that uncommon sometimes we are not sure what they look like and how to get them off.

It seems that this cat parasite comes from hedgehog ticks and not sheep ticks. Pushkin had one tick, which is common. Sometimes there can be many, however.

They are, in fact, quite large (see photo – the coin is a UK 10p piece, half inch across approx.).
They become bloated with the blood of the host. Sometimes they can be mistaken for matted fur, for example.

They are hidden by the fur. They look like blueish lumps. The blue colour is the blood inside the creature.

They will drop off on their own apparently but should be removed.

The big problem is how to remove them without leaving the mouth parts of the tick inside the skin of your cat. If they are left in the skin they can cause medical problems.

Ideally, the tick should be killed or anaesthetised before removal. If anaesthetised it should be killed after removal as they can survive on the blood they have sucked up for a long time. It will not be killed or anaesthetised by putting petroleum jelly or alcohol on it while on the skin of your cat, however.

It is possible to remove the tick with tweezers (as fine and as sharp as you have) but with great care. This is probably the most practical procedure at home provided great care is taken.

The tick should be grasped as close to the skin as possible i.e. by the mouth parts and not the body of the tick. You should not twist so as to damage the tick and force what is inside the tick into the cat. Pull it straight and slowly and check that the mouth parts are removed.

Once removed place the tick in alcohol to kill it and disinfect the skin of your cat. Wash your hands.

From Cat parasite to Cat Facts

Sources:

  • Veterinary Notes for Cat Owners
  • Own Knowledge
  • Photo: 2nd down: copyright Northdevonfarmer
  • Photo: 3rd down: copyright GasolineHorses
  • Doctor Foster Smith

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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