When petting your cat, the last thing you want is to find a tick attached to her. If you’re already seeing ticks latched onto her, you will probably need to get her looked at by the vet. Ticks can carry several life-threatening diseases that can be transmitted to your cat (and you). So the safest bet is always to bank on prevention rather than treatment.
If you find yourself lost on what exactly to do to keep your cat protected from ticks and tick bites, then look no further. We’ve compiled a short list of ideas and steps to prevent ticks on cats and included plenty of details below.
1. Try Flea and Tick Collars
If you pick out a good flea and tick collar, it’s an excellent way to prevent tick breakouts. You can find a collar that will kill ticks upon biting, or you can find ones that will ultimately prevent ticks from biting your cat. For more on how flea collars work, check out our article, How Do Flea Collars Work? You can find even find flea and tick collars that will work for eight months with no extra effort from you.
2. Consider Flea and Tick Shampoos
Shampooing is a helpful method of prevention, but it’s not going to be the easiest. In fact, if your cat is adamantly opposed to baths, a traditional bath may not be possible, and that means you won’t be able to use a lot of good shampoos that require frequent bathing for a period. Luckily, there are “dry” shampoos, like Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Waterless Bath for Cats. So even if you can’t coax your kitty into a bath, you still may be able to shampoo away some tick risk.
3. Consider Sprays and Topicals
Luckily, most sprays are geared more towards natural ingredients, so you won’t need to worry as much about putting them on your precious fur baby or rush to wash after snuggles. As a general rule, though, anything that you don’t have to wash your hands after touching probably isn’t going to be as aggressive at killing the ticks. There are several options if you find you want to go directly to where the ticks present as a problem: your cat.
For a more aggressive approach, you may want to look at the monthly topical treatments that will repel and kill ticks fast. You will need to be careful to keep your cat (or other pets) from licking it off, and if you or any family member pet her while the topical oil is still present on her fur, you should wash it immediately. But the fur is usually only oily for about ten days, so even treating every month, that’s still 2/3 the month you can soak up those snuggles unfettered.
4. Address the Source: Your Yard
If you notice a trend of your cat bringing in ticks, you may want to take a look at treatments for your yard. If you can stop them at their source, then you won’t need to stress your other methods as vehemently. Some sprays will keep the ticks at bay for weeks, like Adams Plus Flea & Tick Yard Spray.
You may also want to keep your cat inside, or at least minimize her time outside. Doing this may not be an option if she’s an outside cat, of course, but you may want to try transitioning her into spending more time inside. At the very least, you’ll need to keep her inside or away from any pesticide you spray in her yard. (Refer to the container or your vet for specifics, though.)
5. Consider Natural Alternatives
Finding an effective method to prevent ticks that doesn’t involve some pesticide or chemical is tricky. There are other options, but most do require a bit more diligence on your part to prevent ticks thoroughly. One ingredient you’ll often see in these natural alternatives is peppermint. Ticks are undoubtedly repelled by the strong scent so you can use that to your advantage. You may also see cedar or rosemary; they’re slightly less effective at repelling but significantly more pleasing to your senses. And if it’s a smell you’ll be facing on a regular basis you may want to compromise. You can spray your furniture, or your cat, or even wipe her down to protect your kitty and her safe zone.
6. Watch for Bites
If you find a tick latched on, you’ll want to take it off immediately. Be sure you’re removing the whole tick and not leaving its head embedded within your cat’s skin. They do make specialized tick removers, but often a pair of ordinary tweezers will do. After you remove the tick, monitor that spot very carefully to look for any site rashes or irritations. Even if the skin doesn’t manifest symptoms, you may find she is affected in other ways, like lethargy, vomiting or soreness, among others. If you’re worried or she just isn’t acting herself, take her to the vet as soon as possible.
Generally, ticks pose a higher risk to dogs due to several factors, not the least of which is the frequency of outdoor trips. Unfortunately, even if they don’t contract ticks as easily, they do transmit them efficiently. So protecting your cat is the same as defending your whole family.
You may find that choosing a single method on our list isn’t enough. If you live in a densely wooded area or an area that is particularly bad for ticks, you will likely find any one method for tick prevention will fall short. In fact, even if you’re not in a high-risk area, once you see a tick, we recommend trying a combination of 2 or more of the preventative tips on our list. When it comes to your family (and that includes your fur baby), you can never be too safe.