It’s a typical false impression that solely outside cats get fleas and ticks and that fleas and ticks on cats are restricted to the spring and summer time seasons. Fleas come in additional than 1,000 species, however the varieties of fleas that chew cats and canines are pretty uniform. Ticks are available a number of distinctive varieties and the season for each fleas and ticks can fluctuate in accordance to local weather. We surveyed specialists across the United States to be taught in regards to the particular points.
Prevention of fleas and ticks on cats is vital
The easiest method to take care of fleas and ticks on cats? Prevent the issue within the first place.
“It’s much easier to prevent than deal with a problem once it’s started,” says Dr. Brian Serbin, an Arizona veterinarian. “Dr. Google isn’t the best doctor. It’s best to talk to your veterinarian. We know what’s best for your pet.”
All vets interviewed suggest year-round flea and tick prevention remedy for cats — particularly in the event that they go exterior and even when they go outdoor supervised. Every vet surveyed additionally recommends holding cats inside for a lot of causes, together with a a lot lesser likelihood of flea and tick publicity. Even cats in catios or cats on harnesses may encounter fleas or ticks.
“We really, as a veterinary profession, extremely emphasize the importance of keeping cats indoors,” says Dr. Richard Gerhold, a Tennessee veterinarian.
If your cat stays inside, this actually minimizes the chance of the cat being infested with fleas and ticks and additionally reduces possibilities of different parasite infections, Dr. Gerhold says.
Fleas and Ticks within the Southwest United States
The supply: Dr. Brian Serbin, D.V.M., a Phoenix veterinarian.
The season: The Southwest’s arid desert local weather doesn’t foster fleas and ticks the way in which grassier, humid areas would possibly, however pets in Arizona and different surrounding states aren’t immune from the pests, Dr. Serbin says. Since the local weather is temperate, fleas and ticks seem year-round and don’t actually have a season. However, some delicate chilly spells within the winter imply that pests are extra doubtless to chew your cats within the spring, summer time and fall. In the desert, cats get fleas extra typically than canines do.
The ticks: The Brown Dog Tick lives within the desert, and this parasite bites cats, too. Beware of contact between your cats and wildlife, as ticks can stay on animals like coyotes. The excellent news is, there’s little to no Lyme Disease west of the Mississippi River.
The recommendation: “What you need to realize is that ticks and fleas need a host to survive,” Dr. Serbin says. “They’re not just going to stay out in the environment without the host. They need to feed on animals. There are dormant stages of the flea and tick life cycle that can live for short amounts of time on the possible host.”
The prevention and remedy: Serbin recommends year-round measures, based mostly on your veterinarian’s recommendation and tailor-made to your cat.
Fleas and Ticks within the Northeast United States
The supply: Matthew Frye, entomologist with New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, Cornell University.
The season: Fleas can stay year-round, even within the icy wintertime, when a number like a raccoon may carry the bugs. “But certainly, during the warmer parts of the year, there’s a greater chance of their populations being higher and the chance of transmission between a wild animal and a companion,” Frye says.
Fleas breed in shady, moist outside locations with uncovered soil. Key spots is likely to be underneath porches and decks, so watch out for your cat hiding in these areas.
The peak exercise for ticks — who like to congregate in leaf litter — is within the spring for child ticks and the autumn for grownup ticks. Summertime ticks are much less energetic due to the warmth.
The ticks: The most typical tick within the northeast is the Black-Legged Tick, also referred to as the Deer Tick. There can also be the Lone Star Tick, a southern species that has been making its manner north, and the American Dog Tick, also referred to as a Wood Tick. Black-Legged Ticks want moist, darkish habitats like forested areas. American Dog Ticks like sunny fields with tall grass. Lone Star Ticks might be anyplace. If you retain your grass trimmed, which retains the moisture stage down, you’re not going to have ticks in your garden.
Fleas and Ticks within the Southeast United States
The supply: Dr. Richard Gerhold, assistant professor on the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, Knoxville.
The season: Fleas and ticks seem year-round.
The ticks: This area principally has the Lone Star Tick and the American Dog Tick. There’s additionally the Brown Dog Tick, which is tropical in nature and can’t survive exterior. If your cat will get this tick, she in all probability received it from inside a constructing the place ticks had been beforehand — for example, in the event you transfer to a brand new home that’s been infested.
Cats can get a critical illness known as cytauxzoonosis felis, carried primarily by the Lone Star Tick. This illness assaults the pink blood cells and could make the cat anemic, with very pale to almost-white mucous membranes. It is extremely deadly to cats with out speedy remedy.
The recommendation: Keep cats indoors! Also, preserve your grass minimize brief to preserve humidity low, take away leaf litter and attempt to discourage a excessive variety of potential wildlife being in shut proximity to the home. Keep the compost pile coated. Except for birdseed, don’t feed wildlife, and preserve the hen feeder clear.
“For all diseases that exist, there’s no substitute for prevention,” Dr. Gerhold says.
Fleas and Ticks within the Midwest United States
The supply: Dr. Michelle Matusicky, D.V.M., assistant professor — apply at The Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
The season: Really, fleas and ticks may cause issues any time of 12 months, and cat dad and mom shouldn’t focus an excessive amount of on a specific season.
“It is a common misconception that fleas and ticks have a season,” Dr. Matusicky says. “They have a life cycle that’s continually replicating.
“Sure, it is more common for a flea infestation to begin in the spring or summer seasons, but it can take months to get rid of completely,” she says. “If not properly cleared, they can set up in your home and live quite comfortably throughout the winter months.”
Flea infestations are far more widespread within the residence than tick infestations, however the Brown Dog Tick really can full its complete life cycle indoors.
The ticks: Here, you’ll principally discover the American Dog Tick, Black-Legged Tick and Brown Dog Tick. Don’t be fooled by the “dog” within the names: The ticks typically chew cats, too.
The recommendation: “It truly is significantly easier to prevent rather than treat a flea or tick infestation,” Dr. Matusicky says. “This is both from the suffering the animal goes through — ranging from simple hair loss, itchiness and skin infections to transmission of serious blood-borne diseases — to the anguish an owner goes through trying to eliminate the infestation from the home.”
“From a financial standpoint, the cost of prevention alone is going to be cheaper than multiple trips to the vet for skin infections or other ailments that these ectoparasites have caused,” she says.
Fleas and Ticks within the Northwest United States
The supply: Washington State Department of Health.
The season: With the delicate climate within the Seattle area, fleas is usually a year-round drawback — however particularly within the spring, summer time and fall seasons. Ticks begin popping out within the spring, when individuals and cats get exterior extra.
The ticks: The Western Black-Legged Tick, American Dog Tick and Rocky Mountain Wood Tick are the most typical on this area.
What to do about fleas and ticks on cats
If you notice a tick on your cat, manually take away it with tweezers, however don’t squeeze the tick’s physique, or you can inject blood again into your kitty. Then, speak to your vet about both topical or oral remedies.
As for fleas, for each grownup flea, there are in all probability 99 different growing fleas in several life levels throughout the atmosphere. You will want to deal with each your cat — speak to your vet about choices — and your residing house.
Thumbnail: Photography by Sitikka/Thinkstock.
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