Ticks on Cat: Causes, Symptoms, and Remedies – All in One Guideline

ticks on cat

Among various kinds of pets, cats have softer skin. That is why they are susceptible to many skin diseases and external parasites. However, fleas, worms, mites, and ticks are the most common types of harmful parasites for cats. Today, our discussion topic is “ticks on cat.”

Ticks are blood-sucking parasites. Normally, there are two breeds of them; one is a hard tick and another is a soft tick. The hard ticks are mainly found in cats. They are identifiable according to the solid shield behind their mouthparts. These types of ticks bite underneath a cat’s skin and thus spread various diseases to the host. To get rid of the problem, as a pet owner, you must know the necessary ins and outs about them. In this article, we will describe the possible causes, symptoms, preventions, and remedies for these wicked ticks on a cat. 

What is cat tick: Identification and life cycle

Identification and habitat

Ticks belong to the Arachnida class according to their scientific classification. Characteristically, they are 3 to 5 mm long in size. Another name of hard ticks or cat ticks is Ixodid ticks. They have a spider shape and have eight legs. Their color can be brown, red, or black. Ticks on cats have the size and look of sunflower seed. However, if they find themselves a host, their size can increase after sucking blood from the host.

Woodland, lowland, and moorland are their main residence. Along with this, if your surroundings have many forest areas filled with wild lives, ticks can set their location easily. Ticks are active during spring and autumn. Nevertheless, they can attack any time of the year if you let your guard down.

Life cycle

Let us have a look in the following life cycle diagram of cat ticks.

ticks on cat

From the above chart, it is visible that, ticks go through four stages to complete their life cycle. They must eat a certain amount of blood after coming out of the egg. Otherwise, they cannot jump to the next stage. To complete their life cycle, it may require up to 1 to 3 years. Many of them die between the cycles due to a lack of hostage discovery.  

Causes of tick attack on cats

The cause of the tick attack is not so definite. Your pet can be a victim of those clingy arachnids from anywhere of the outside surroundings. They love to stay in shrubbery areas or tall grasses. Ticks are not able to fly or jump. However, ticks can spot their hosts by animals’ breath, body smells, body temperature, and vibrations of movements. Ticks have a special ability to identify the frequently used pathways of animals. When any suitable host passes that place, they just climb on them.

Outside activities can be a cause of a tick attack. Normally, rural and forest cats are most at risk. However, ticks can attach to your home cat if they are brought to the home by any other host. 

When a tick finds its host, it starts engorging with the host’s blood. Now the question is how long a tick can live on a cat. After a few days, when the ticks on your cat become full of blood, their body size is increased, and gradually they fall off from the host’s body.

Tick-borne diseases in cats: Causes and Symptoms

Ticks on your cat are responsible for several infections and life-threatening diseases. In the following table, you will know information about some common tick-transmitted diseases. 

Disease name

Cause ( Disease bearer)

Major Symptoms

Tularemia(rabbit fever)

The main cause of Tularemia is a bacterium named Francisella tularensis. Four species of North American ticks are the carriers of this bacterium.

  • Mild to high fever

  • Inflamed lymph nodes

  • Fatigue

  • Mouth ulcers

  • Discharge from eyes and nose

  • Swelling from tick bites

  • Unwillingness in eating food


Babesia Felis parasite is the cause of babesiosis. This infection in cats can occur through tick bites largely.

  • Jaundice

  • Anemia

  • Weight loss

  • Whitish mucous membranes

  • Depression

  • Dark-colored urine

Cytauxzoonosis(bobcat fever)

A blood parasite called Cytauxzoon Felis is responsible for this disease. Bobcats are the natural host of this parasite. However, it does not spread cytauxzoonosis in bobcats. If the Lone Star ticks suck the blood of the bobcat and then choose a domestic cat as their next host, feline cytauxzoonosis may attack the cat.

  • High fever

  • Anemia

  • Weakness

  • Difficulty in breathing

  • Jaundice

  • Pale mouth and gums


Mycoplasma haemofelis(Present name of Haemobartonella Felis)which resides in mycoplasma(microorganisms that live in red blood cells) group can cause Haemobartonellosis. Ticks get infected through this microorganism and thus can affect its host (cat).

  • Depression

  • Loss of appetite

  • Jaundice

  • Mild anemia

  • Faster heart & respiration rates



Your vet may prescribe Antibiotics to treat rabbit fever or tularemia. There is no vaccine for this particular disease yet. Regrettably, most of the time, tularemia is not identified until the death of the cat. Moreover, it is a matter of concern for you because this disease can transmit through cat biting or scratching.


If the symptoms remain mild, typically, the disease becomes hidden for several months to a year. Otherwise, it mainly takes two weeks to expose the symptoms.

The normal treatment for babesiosis includes antimalarial drugs along with an antibiotic course. If the anemia is severe, then veterinarians can go through the blood transfusion process. 


As we already know how cytauxzoonosis occurs in cats, we can assume that it is somewhat a rare disease. Nevertheless, as a matter of regret, this disease is deadly most of the time. It infects both the blood and tissues of the patient. Besides, after three weeks from the infected time, the cat can eventually suffer from bleeding. It can lead to the death of the kitty. Early diagnosis and proper treatment can make some difference. 

Veterinarians have been using a comparatively new combination of antimalarial drugs and antibiotics. With supportive care, these drugs include ten days course. Nonetheless, the chance of living from this disease is around 60% after this medication. Even so, the reoccurrence of this infection is common. On top of that, cats that are once affected by the parasite may be a bearer of this infection throughout life. 

Haemobartonellosis (feline infectious anemia)

Rather than cytauxzoonosis or tularemia, this infection happens more frequently due to ticks on cat. This disease affects the RBCs (red blood cells) in the cat’s blood. This particular type of feline infectious anemia can be mild to severe in severity range.

Your pet doctor may suggest an antibiotic course for three weeks. Sometimes, for serious cases of infections, you may need to hospitalize your kitty. In the case of deep anemia, a blood transfusion may require. Without proper treatment, haemobartonella infection can cause death. Moreover, the surviving ones may become the carrier of this harmful organism.

How to get rid of ticks on cat

Some precautionary measures can keep away these deadly ticks from your home. Moreover, there are also some amazing home remedies for this cat tick problem.

Prevention for ticks on cat

Many tick preventatives are available more or less at your local groceries. Among these commodities, various powders, collars, shampoos are popular. We can recommend Vet’s Best Advanced Strength Flea + Tick Cat Shampoo. This shampoo contains 100% natural oil essence. Moreover, it is effective for both tick and flea control.


  • Natural cleansing formula
  • Easy to wash


  • Not recommended for kittens under 12 weeks of age

However, these products cannot guarantee all in all protection against ticks on your cat. For outside activities, you should keep a watch on your pets to prevent a tick attack. Also, do not forget to consult your veterinarian before using any tick preventatives. Your vet can suggest the best-suited products according to your pet’s age, weight, and breed. Ensure that these products are specially formulated for cats’ use only.

How to remove ticks from your cat

What should you do if your cat naturally has a tick on it? Well, it is a bit tricky. Whenever you notice any ticks on your cat, you need to take hold of the tick head tightly. Normally the tick’s hard head gets attached to the cat’s skin.

Do not touch ticks with bare hands. Use gloves; otherwise, it can be harmful. Tick remover kit is available at the market. If you find this task difficult, simply use forceps or special kit. Besides, a flea comb can be useful for this purpose.

To kill the ticks after removal, use alcohol. Sometimes, the tick mouthparts can still be on the cat’s skin. In that case, take help from the local veterinarian.

To have a clear idea on this topic, follow the video link.

Home remedies for ticks on cat

Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea has anti-inflammatory properties, which helps to soothe skin irritation. Make a spray with this tea and apply the cool version of it on your cat’s skin.

Cedar Oil

Cedar oil works as a natural tick repellent. It has non-toxic properties and works well on other skin parasites. You can make cedar oil spray or simply buy them from pet stores. It is safe for human and domestic animal’s use.

Neem oil

Neem oil has anti-bacterial properties, which successfully helps to prevent ticks on your cat. You can make a mixture with rapeseed oil to apply it. However, it is safe to use the diluted version. Also, use a small segment at first to avoid any irritations. Melt solid neem oil in a warm water portion.

It is better to seek the permission of your vet before the application. It is because feline skin is a bit sensitive than other pets. 


Being a pet owner can be one of the most relaxing facts of your life. However, sometimes dangers can happen if you are not conscious enough. Skin parasites like ticks may also affect you from your kitten. Consequently, cat ticks can be the cause of diseases on humans.

Always make sure to keep a distance from your tick-affected cat. Moreover, do not take the ticks on cat for granted as they can pass on some rarely treatable infections. Your house environment can play a vital role in keeping away the possible tick infected diseases. Lastly, the regular cleanliness of your pet, as well as your family members, is required to avoid this problem completely.