Many cat lovers keep their pets indoors or outdoors almost exclusively. During springtime, indoor cats are more likely to escape, in search of the answer to those natural urges. Some cats live a happy mix of indoor and outdoor life. While enjoying the spring, they will be exposed to a plethora of potential pests and infections. There are precautions and considerations that should be taken with any pet that ventures outdoors.
Three Common Pests And Pet Infestations
Cats can pick up fleas and ticks, as every cat owner has known since the first domesticated feline. Cats can also become infested with a variety of mites, from the common ear mite to more invasive species that can cause disturbing looking itchy rashes. Many of these mites can also survive on humans. There are also internal parasites that can plague felines, such as Giardia.
A single-celled protozoan pest. Giardia is common found in the intestinal tracts of animals, including cats and humans. They are transferred in the feces of animals, by way of food or water contamination. Indirect contamination is common with felines and can run rampant in a multi-cat home. The most commonly noticed symptom is recurring diarrhea in both felines and humans. Treatment is medicinal, and should be done to protect other pets or family members. A proper bath, either for the infected pet or human, will suffice to remove any external Giardia.
With any possible internal parasite or infection, it is best to have the pet examined by a veterinarian. While many medications for pets will treat a wide spectrum of pests, only a veterinarian can reliably diagnose the problem and prescribe the cure.
Fleas are the most common pests cats are exposed to. They are also the most common pest for the cat to expose humans too. The easiest way to handle a flea problem is prevention. Veterinarians can give the best advice for flea prevention and treatment. Many pet owners, however, neglect to consult the best source available on the subject. The exterminator. Many cat owners do not realize that their yard can be treated for fleas, just as their homes can.
There are many preventive measures available, including collars, pills, creams, shampoos and sprays. The most effective is a combination of internal, and an external preventive treatment. Some cat owners have even had great results from natural preventives, such as growing repellent plants like citronella and catnip in the yard, and adding garlic powder to the animal’s food.
The most immediate relief for a pet can also create a bonding time between animal and owner. Grooming with flea removal combs, removes adult and juvenile fleas. A head lice comb designed for humans can be effective as well, provided the animal does not have extremely course fur. Many cats enjoy the attention and will accept this readily.
Ticks are especially bothersome and numerous in springtime. There are countless ways to remove them, some good, some bad, and some are downright dangerous. People recommend everything from smothering the tick with petroleum jelly, to coating them with nail polish, and the old standby, of touching them with a struck match. Veterinarians recommend a simple, effective method.
While wearing latex or nitrile gloves, use a pair of tweezers to grasp the tick just behind the head and pull it slowly out. Commercial tick pullers made just for this job are available and may include instructions to twist or wiggle the tool. Follow the instructions carefully. Be sure not to squeeze the tick, or use any chemical or irritant on them. These actions may cause the tick to regurgitate (vomit) their stomach contents directly into your pet. If the head of the tick detaches and remains in your pet’s skin, treat the area with an antibacterial medicine and leave it alone. The cat’s body will eventually push the head out. Any digging, prodding, or squeezing of the area could simply cause infection and pain to the pet.
With proper preventive measures and prompt treatment, cats can enjoy the spring air and warmer days just as much as their owners. Consult your veterinarian before making any change to treatments or medications.