By Peter Coleshaw
It’s that time of year again – as the weather warms, some of our cats come in with ticks attached.
But why only some cats and not others, and why with the warmer weather? The first part is easy to answer – unlike fleas, which spread readily from cat to cat and which multiply within the household, ticks are picked up when cats roam into ‘tick territory’. Usually this is farmland or rough ground where there are either sheep or deer.
Thus, the cats that range widely pick up ticks, while the ones who barely leave the garden usually don’t. I was always led to believe there was a definite tick season – but when we get a feral or semi-feral tomcat in from the countryside, it invariably carries ticks whatever the time of year. So, certainly in the south of England, they are active all year-round even if there are seasonal peaks.
Our own coddled domestic kitties tend to stay indoors a lot more over winter and don’t roam as far, which often means they rarely enter ‘tickland’.
Prevention is now easy – there is a ‘spot-on’ product which gives three months flea and tick cover from a single dose on the back of the neck. For cats that won’t tolerate spot-ons, a new tablet formulation on the market also does the trick – but for just a month.
Please be aware that spot-ons are a means of dosing cats – but there is also a spot-on product called ‘Spot on’ – very confusing, but this is not the same as either of the products I mention.
If you do find a tick on your cat or dog don’t just pull it off as this may leave the mouthparts in your pet’s skin. Ask for advice.
Pete Coleshaw MRCVS
‘where cool cats chill’