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How To Safely Remove a Tick From a Cat

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Photo of Female Rocky Mountain Wood Tick on Rabbit Fur

Photo of Female Rocky Mountain Wood Tick on Rabbit Fur

Photo Credit: © iStockPhoto/David Parsons
Ticks are treacherous little beasts and can carry deadly diseases that threaten both you and your cat, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, and Lyme disease. Old wives' tales, such as using kerosene, do not work, and may only cause the tick to inject more of its venom into the cat. Here's the safest way to remove one.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 5 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Assemble supplies on your kitchen counter: sharp-nosed tweezers, a small jar of alcohol, disinfectant, hydrocortisone spray. Don a pair of surgical gloves to protect yourself.
  2. Have a helper hold the cat steady for you.
  3. Using the tweezers, grasp the tick at the head part right where it enters the cat's body. Do NOT grab the tick by its body.
  4. Pull steadily and firmly outward, without twisting or jerking.
  5. Place the tick in the jar of alcohol to kill it.
  6. Swab the cat's skin around the bite wound with a disinfectant.
  7. Spray the area with the hydrocortisone spray to help alleviate irritation and itching.
  8. Wash your hands well with soap and water.

Tips:

  1. The old wives tales of using vaseline, alcohol or kerosene to make the tick 'back out' do NOT work. Such actions may even cause the tick to deposit more toxin into the cat's tissues.
  2. Subsequent irritation or swelling are caused by the tick's toxic saliva, not by the head remaining in the wound. Continue the Hydrocortisone spray to help relieve the irritation.
  3. Monitor the cat's general condition for a couple of weeks. If he displays any untoward symptoms other than a welt and/or redness around the wound, that don't go away in a few days, call your veterinarian.
  4. Save the tick's body in case it needs to be examined later.

What You Need

  • Sharp tweezers
  • Alcohol in container
  • Hydrocortisone Spray
  • Disinfectant
  • Surgical gloves
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