The Best Tick Prevention For Cats, According To A Veterinarian
Put a stop to the tick bites on your cat 🛑
It can be super scary, and totally unexpected, if you spot a tick on your indoor cat.
But the truth is, cats who don’t take tick medication regularly are vulnerable to ticks — even if the cats only live indoors.
“Control of external parasites (fleas and ticks) for my feline patients is a very important discussion I have with my clients, not just because of the ‘gross out’ factor when thinking of bugs crawling on their pet, but also because of the health risks posed by the presence of these parasites,” Dr. Michael Henricks, a veterinarian at Faithful Friends Veterinary Clinic in Ohio, told The Dodo.
Ticks can be super harmful and a total pest to deal with, so tick prevention for cats is essential.
We spoke with Dr. Henricks to find out his favorite tick-prevention options.
How to prevent ticks on cats
Tick preventative medications are the best way to prevent ticks from attaching to your cat. And it’s super important that every cat (and dog) is on a flea and tick preventative year-round, even if your pet never goes outside.
“I like to remind pet families that all cats should have a parasite control plan since many people think that only outdoor cats are at risk, or prevention only needs to be used during the warmer months of the year,” Dr. Henricks said.
Tick prevention medication is typically combined with flea medications for a two-in-one preventative — and these parasite-control products can come in the form of a topical ointment, collar or oral medication.
“There are many safe and effective options on the market to help protect cats from fleas and ticks,” Dr. Henricks said.
Never give your cat a medication intended for a dog, or one where your cat doesn’t fit the weight or age requirements of that specific product, or else it could be fatal.
“It is also vital that pet parents remember to only use a feline labeled product of the appropriate weight dose to avert any cases of toxicity or harmful side effects, such as tremors, seizures and even death,” Dr. Henricks said. “Unfortunately, these serious emergency situations happen quite frequently.”
Keep in mind that you should talk with your veterinarian for a tick preventative recommendation for your cat before making a selection, especially since they’ll likely be well-versed on the types of ticks prevalent in your area and the best products to protect your cat from them.
Vet-recommended tick prevention medication for cats
“My favorite recommendations for parasite prevention for my feline patients are Bravecto Feline and Revolution Plus,” Dr. Henricks said.
Bravecto is a topical flea and tick preventative that’s available for both cats and dogs.
This prescription topical treatment is unique because it provides protection from fleas and black-legged ticks for a few months, rather than one month of protection, which is typical for most flea and tick preventatives.
“I like Bravecto for cats because it provides the cat with 12 weeks of flea and tick prevention with each application of the topical ointment, meaning the patient only needs to be treated about four times a year,” Dr. Henricks said.
He added that Bravecto will only prevent American dog ticks for around eight weeks, however, so if those types of ticks are common in your area, you should reapply the medication after eight weeks. (They’re most common in the eastern half of the U.S. and a few limited areas on the west coast.)
Revolution Plus is another safe and effective topical medication that protects cats against ticks, as well as a bunch of other parasites that aren’t typically covered by flea and tick preventatives.
“Revolution Plus is topical ointment applied every 30 days that I recommend because it is labeled for fleas, ticks, heartworm, ear mites and some of the most common types of GI parasites,” Dr. Henricks said.
That means that with Revolution Plus, you don’t have to worry about purchasing a separate heartworm medication for your cat.
Revolution Plus can even be used on kittens.
“Revolution even makes a product that can be used in kittens as young as 8 weeks of age,” Dr. Henricks said.
Environmental tick prevention for cats
You can also purchase tick sprays online that you can spray in your home and in your yard to kill any ticks that might be living there, which will protect both you and your pets from ticks and tick-borne diseases (though this isn’t a substitute for regularly treating your cat with a preventative).
Be sure to keep people and pets away from these treatments until they’ve dried completely, though, as they could potentially be toxic (especially chemical pesticides).
You can also call in a professional pest control service to treat your property if you don’t want to do it yourself, or if ticks are extremely common in your area.
Check your cat for ticks regularly
You should check your cat’s coat daily for any ticks and fleas.
“Frequently checking your cat for fleas and ticks can help identify any issues,” Dr. Henricks said.
A flea comb is a super easy way to check for fleas on your cat’s coat.
“A flea comb should be used over the cat's entire coat on a regular basis, but especially when a cat comes in from outdoors, to try to physically identify and remove any fleas and ticks before they can bite,” Dr. Henricks.
If you find a tick on your cat, make sure to remove the tick properly (and immediately!) to prevent an infection, as once ticks bite they’re more likely to infect your cat with a disease the longer they’re attached.
Ticks can be a health hazard for cats, so it’s important that all cats are on a reliable tick preventative year-round, even if they only live indoors. With regular medication, your cat can be protected from ticks and fleas for the rest of her life!
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