Along with the arrival of warm weather and tall grasses -- where your cat lives out his tiger fantasies -- comes a host of bloodsucking bugs: ticks. In general, cats are pretty good about keeping the diabolical beasties at bay, but it can be difficult for them to dislodge an embedded ear tick.
Check your cat’s ears if he incessantly rubs or scratches them with his paws. He might also emit a sudden meow and dart across the room if a tick bite causes an unexpected pinch. Cats are fastidious creatures, so your cat might seem obsessed with his ear, rubbing his head on the floor in an attempt to dislodge the tick.
Wrap your cat gently in a large bath towel to secure his feet and to protect yourself from potentially nasty scratches. Recruit a helper to hold him gently but securely.
Grasp the tick at the spot where it connects to your cat’s ear, using just the tips of your thumb and forefinger. Take care not to grab any of the hair inside the ear.
Pull steadily and firmly until the tick comes off. This is very likely to upset your cat if the tick’s head was deeply embedded.
Dab a bit of rubbing alcohol or peroxide on the bite site with a cotton ball.
Items you will need
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton swab
- Thin rubber gloves (optional)
- Run your fingers soothingly through your cat’s fur, stroking him calmly while feeling for small pea-sized bumps on his skin. Because ticks hang out together in weeds and brush off on unsuspecting pets, if your cat has one in his ear, there’s a good chance that he has more.
- Pay special attention to his back, neck and head. Before a tick bites, it resembles a tiny flat disk, but once it begins drawing blood, it swells until it eventually falls off. Because ticks transmit diseases, remove all ticks as soon as you notice them.
- Most tick bites do not result in pet illness -- but call your vet if your cat develops any unusual symptoms. If ticks become a regular problem, ask your vet about topical flea and tick medication that you can apply to your cat’s skin, which thwart ticks and other biting insects for about one month.
- Donning thin rubber gloves is an option if you’re squeamish, but if the tick is embedded in a spot covered by hair, gloves make it harder to grasp the tick without pulling out some of the surrounding hair. In most cases, it’s better to suck it up and grab the tick with your fingers. Wash your hands afterward.
- Don’t waste your time trying to stomp the heck out of the tick you pull off. The little parasites have incredibly hard shells unless they’re engorged, in which case, they’ll pop, leaving a mess on your floor. Instead, wrap the tick in a bit of bathroom tissue and flush it.
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