Cat tick symptoms

Updated February 21, 2017

Ticks are parasitic insects that can latch on to cats to feed off of their blood. When they are engorged with the cat's blood, they will drop off. Ticks carry diseases that can be harmful to both humans and cats, and being able to identify the presence of ticks on cats is something that can help you keep your cat healthy.

Seeing the Tick

Ticks that have not fed are about the size of a pinhead. After they feed, they are about the size of a pea. Because it can take them two or three days to get their fill of the cat's blood, you may be able to find the tick before it drops off. Ticks tend to inhabit places where the cat's fur is thin. If you find one tick, check your cat thoroughly to make sure there are no more.


A cat that has a tick on its body may have a strong compulsion to scratch, which can remove the tick from its cat's body. While scratching can be a sign of many things, it is a good idea to thoroughly inspect the cat's body if it has been scratching excessively. Ticks or fleas may be present or there may be another skin irritant or problem that is present.

Hot Spots

While some cats do not have a reaction to tick bites, others are allergic and will develop a hot spot. A hot spot is a small, localised inflammation in the skin that will cause the cat to lick or bite at the area. This behaviour can lead to the tick bite being infected or ulcerated.


While the majority of tick bites are harmless to cats, some ticks carry harmful diseases. Rabbit fever, Rocky Mountain fever and Lyme disease are all diseases that ticks can give to cats, and noticing symptoms like fever, appetite loss, swollen joints or rashes may all be symptoms that a cat has been bitten by an infected flea. These symptoms require prompt medical attention and treatment.

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