1. SPOT-ON PREPARATIONS
Over-the-counter medications that you buy from a veterinarian, in a pet store or online can be a very effective way to control both ticks and fleas. These drugs are very effective in keeping the parasites at a distance for a month. Although these drugs are great, you still need to be very careful about what you use. Make sure you read all labels carefully. If you have any doubts about securing your cat, consult your veterinarian.
2. ORAL MEDICATIONS
Once-a-month tablets are not as readily available as for dogs, and most tick prevention tablets used for cats are actually pills made for small dogs. It seems that the tick pill prepared especially for cats is a product that is still being developed by major drug manufacturers. You will need to talk to your vet about whether your cat can safely use a product designed for a small dog. One of the benefits of using the pill once a month is that you do not have to worry about small children and their contact with the cat immediately after application or with the cat leaving traces of pesticides on furniture.
Bathing your cat with shampoo that contains medicinal ingredients generally kills ticks on contact. This can be a cheap (though labor-intensive) way to protect your cat during the tick season. You will also have to repeat this process more often, about every two weeks, because the effective ingredients will not last as long as spot-on or oral medications. Depending on how the cat responds to bathing, this can be a practical solution.
4. WET APPLICATION MEASURES
This form is a concentrated chemical that should be diluted in water and applied to the animal’s fur with a sponge or poured onto the back. You do not rinse the animal after applying the bath product. They can be very strong, so read the labels carefully before using. Do not use this type for very young animals (under four months). Ask your veterinarian for advice on securing puppies and kittens.
5. ANTI-GLUE COLLARS
Collars that repel ticks are an additional preventive measure that can be used, although they are mainly useful for protecting the neck and head from ticks. The collar must be in contact with your cat’s skin to transfer chemicals to the cat’s fur and skin. When putting this type of collar on a cat, you need to make sure there is enough space to fit two fingers under the collar when it is around the cat’s neck. Cut off the excess collar to prevent the cat from pulling it off and watch out for signs of discomfort (e.g. excessive scratching) in the event of an allergic reaction to the collar. Make sure you read the labels carefully, choosing a collar to make sure it is right for your cat.
Powders / dusting powders, which act locally and protect against ticks, are another method. Make sure the powder you use is marked for cats. Also check the label to ensure that the product is designed to kill ticks as well as fleas. This very fine powder can be irritating to the mouth or lungs if inhaled, so use small amounts and slowly rub it into the skin. Apply powders away from the mouth and eyes during application. You will have to re-apply the product more often, about once a week during the high season. Some powders can also be used in places where the cat sleeps, or in other places where the cat often stays.
Another topical therapeutic use, the tick spray kills the tick quickly and provides residual protection. Sprays can be used together with shampoos and other means and can be useful if your cat spends considerable time in wooded areas. Be very careful when using this product around the cat’s mouth. Read the labels carefully to ensure that the spray is intended for use on cats before use, and do not use it on or near any other animals in the home. Sprays are usually the safest when it comes to young animals.
8. HOUSE AND LAWN
Keeping your lawn, bushes and trimmed trees short will help reduce the flea and tick population in your yard. If there are fewer areas where these parasites can live and reproduce, there will be fewer. If you still have a problem, consider using one of the various home and garden sprays or granular treatments available from your vet, pet shop or local garden center. Exercise caution when using these products as they can be harmful to animals, fish and people. If you have a serious problem or are worried about the proper handling of these chemicals, you may consider employing an exterminator to apply sprays to the yard and surrounding area to control ticks and fleas.
9. REGULARLY CHECK YOUR CAT
After going outside in areas where ticks lurk, be sure to check your cat carefully for ticks. Look between your toes, in your ears, between your legs and around your neck. If you find ticks before they get a chance to puncture, you can prevent serious illness from your cat. Removal should be done immediately and carefully so as not to get bitten by yourself.
10. DO NOT LEAVE THE CAT OUTSIDE
If you have never let a cat outside, there is no reason to start. On the other hand, we know that it can be very difficult to force a cat to stay inside when it’s out. If you can at least limit the time your cat stays outside during ticks by checking it every time he or she comes home, you can reduce your chances of getting a tick bite because the longer the tick stays on the body, the greater the chance of transmitting the disease such as Lyme disease.
Preventing your cat from wandering through forest areas where ticks are probably waiting is the most effective way to protect your cat from infection. You can still have a few ticks wandering around the yard, but if you keep order and use preventative medications, your cat should have the minimal risk of becoming a tick meal this summer.