Are Ticks On Cats Dangerous?

Last night, I pulled a small tick off our 6 month old cat. It looked to me like it was probably a deer tick. Should I automatically take her to the vet to have her checked out?

The deer tick is also known as the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis), and is red with black legs and is much smaller than the tick normally associated with dogs. Like all ticks, the black-legged tick can carry various infectious organisms that can transmit diseases to cats and dogs – including the bacteria responsible for Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis and Lyme Disease.

Should your cat be in good general health and has only been exposed to one tick, it is highly unlikely that your cat will become infected. As always, however, be aware of any change in behavior or health – look for lethargy, appetite loss, pale gums, swollen joints and vomiting in particular relating to the diseases mentioned. That said, it is important that you remove the tick in a sanitary and safe way – it is possible that the attachment site could become infected so it is advisable to apply a topical antiseptic and to monitor the site until it heals completely. See the article below for tips on safely removing ticks from pets.

If this becomes a recurring problem, you should make sure that your cat is not being unnecessarily exposed to ticks. For example, keep your lawn well-cut and your garden bushes/shrubs well trimmed. It would also be a good idea to use a monthly flea and tick medication that will kill any ticks that attach to your cat.