Tick Bites In Cats: Everything You Need To Know

Tick bites in cats are a reality for Australians across the nation. With the onset of Spring comes the onset of the Tick Season in Brisbane. The Paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclis) is unique to the east coast of Australia. While some ticks have a different effect on the health of cats, certain ticks such as the paralysis ticks are potentially life-threatening for cats. That is why it is important to consider the effects of tick bites in cats. This will help you easily figure out if your cat needs urgent medical attention.


Tick Bites In Cats:


What are cat ticks?

Ticks are parasites that bite through the skin of a cat and draw blood back into their bodies. Unfed ticks are small, they have eight legs, and they can be black , brown, red, or tan, but if they stick to your cat, they can swell up to the size of a peanut as they fill up with blood. Cat ticks are actually known as arachnids instead of insects, which is the main distinction between them and the flea. Ticks can transfer disease on to an animal that feeds on; that’s why tick avoidance is an important step to take when it comes to your fury feline babies.

There are a variety of ways your cat can catch ticks. The first and most probable one is from other animals in their household. If you are concerned about cat ticks, we advise you not to leave food outside your home, as this can allow other animals to invade the territory of your cat.

If you tend to walk outside in the fields or woodlands, ticks will easily find their way to your clothing. This is because they appear to cleave to the top of branches and blades of grass, and when you brush past them, they cleave to your hair and clothes. This means that even indoor cats are in danger of getting ticks, so whether or not your cat is going outside tick control is something you should be aware of and should be aware of.

Another way your cat can catch ticks is to explore outside. Ticks will live outside when they’re not on the host. They can cling to the cat’s fur as easily as they can to your clothes.

Tick paralysis in cats

Tick paralysis is a life-threatening disease for livestock. Paralysis tick is a small parasite that sticks to your cat ‘s skin and feeds it by sucking blood. When it eats, the tick secretes a poisonous toxin into the bloodstream of your pet.

Paralysis ticks are widespread across Australia. Ticks need to cultivate humidity and warm weather and are unable to live in colder climates. They are most commonly found along the eastern coast of Australia during the warmer months. Paralysis ticks are present all year round, particularly in North Queensland, where they are often at high risk.

Ticks live well in coastal, humid areas, with the perfect habitat of long grass or branches, so that they can stick to a passing human or animal. Ticks are most active when it is particularly humid or when it has rained, so you should be especially careful during this time.

tick bite in cats

How to spot the signs of tick bites in cats

If your cat has come into contact with a paralysis tick, it can experience paralysis in a number of ways. A typical case would begin with a weakness in the hindquarters, which will then progress to a complete paralysis in all four legs. Other early signs can include:

  • Difficulty to breathe
  • Appetite loss
  • Vomiting or heaving
  • Excess salivation
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Coughing
  • Panting

As in other situations, cats are unique in the way they display symptoms of disease in comparison to other animals, such as dogs. For one thing, the ‘paralysis’ feature of this disorder might not be the first symptom seen or seen in the cat. Therefore, we can refer to this condition as “tick toxicity” rather than “tick paralysis.”

Cats may look as though they are more silent in action than usual, unwilling to take more than a few steps before lying down again. The other important signs to look out for are increased breathing effort and changes in breathing noise. Wheezing and asthmatic sounds can also be heard.

More advanced stages of tick toxicity will have more noticeable walking, spectacular, and swaying difficulties. Or your cat could be found lying on his or her side, unable to sit at all. Immediate veterinary treatment needs to be obtained.


Prompt tick therapy is key to a good result. The paralysis tick is removed and the veterinarian will conduct a comprehensive tick search and neurological examination upon hospital admission. Treatment requires dosing a cat with an anti-serum tick. Cats are sedated prior to receiving treatment to reduce tension that can further compromise their breathing.

Supportive treatment is initiated and maintained as long as the cat is affected by tick paralysis (usually 3-5 days on average). IV fluid therapy is necessary since many of these patients did not eat or vomit some time before they arrived at the hospital.

This avoids dehydration in these compromised patients. Oxygen therapy can be helpful to some cats to promote breathing and help prevent muscle exhaustion due to increased breathing effort. Feline patients are especially vulnerable to upper airway obstruction due to laryngeal paralysis and may be aggravated by stress.

It is necessary to alleviate stress in patients showing signs of damaged upper respiratory tract. Many of these cats benefit from sedative infusions to help them relax and breathe at a relaxed pace and in a regular pattern.


With due treatment, the majority of cats have a strong prognosis with survival rates of up to 96 per cent. If they deteriorate due to the need for artificial ventilation and life support, the survival rate is approximately 51 per cent.

If your cat spends time outside, there is no way to stop them from coming into contact with ticks, so the safest way to protect your cat is to check it out every day. Start with your head and note that you’re more likely to sense the tick than to see it, so make sure you’re using your hands. Check in your cat ‘s ears, under your chin, and around your throat.

If you find that your cat has been bitten by a tick or that there are signs of tick bites in cats, please contact us urgently and we will be at your door to help.

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