As the weather turns warm, insects become more active. Whether your cat is indoors or out, they will encounter various types of insects. Many will not be a problem for your cat, but a few may require a trip to the animal hospital to get help for your kitty. Watch for these insects around your feline friend and be prepared to take action if the encounter puts your cat in harms way.
Bees and Wasps
Your cat won't likely seek out these insects, but a quick swat of the paw at one that flies by could be a problem. A bee or wasp sting can result in some mild discomfort, or a serious issue, depending on the cat. Like humans, some cats are allergic to stinging insects and can have an anaphylactic reaction with severe swelling and difficulty breathing.
If your cat gets stung on the paw or around the face, the typical places for a bee or wasp sting, watch them carefully for a few minutes. If there is only mild swelling and the cat just seems annoyed, they will be fine, and in a few hours, the toxin from the sting will be out of the system. If the area swells up a lot and your cat begins coughing and wheezing, get them to the animal hospital immediately. Your vet will give them an injection to counter the allergic reaction.
These insects will hide in tall grasses and wait until a warm-blooded mammal walks by, such as a dog, cat, or human, then jump off onto the animal's skin. They will wander on the body until they find a place to burrow into the skin and begin feasting on the blood. One animal, like your pet dog, can bring these insects into the house on their fur where they get transferred to your cat, so your cat doesn't even have to go outside.
These insects need to be removed because some do carry diseases that can be transmitted to your cat. Whenever your cat comes in from outdoors, brush them all over and look for ticks. If you find one that has started to burrow into the skin, dip a cotton swab into some rubbing alcohol and touch the swab to the tick. This will make them back out of the skin. If it doesn't, try using a tweezers to pull the tick slowly and gently out. Do not force it or you may leave part of the tick in the skin and cause an infection. If all of your attempts fail, have your vet remove the tick.
These tiny insects aren't usually a problem unless they get into your cat's food. If a colony of ants discovers your cat's food dish and decides that it's a good source of food for the colony, they'll begin showing up in large numbers. Your cat may end up eating a number of ants when grazing on its food. When this happens, your cat may vomit its food back up shortly after eating. Ants produce fomic acid in their saliva as part of their defense mechanism. If your cat eats several ants, the fomic acid will upset the kitty's stomach and make them vomit.
If you see ants in or around the food dish, clean out the dish and the area with a chlorine-based household cleanser. Replace the food and watch for a few days to see if the ants return. If they do, try this technique to keep you pet's food safe from the ants:
- buy a roll of thick, foam shelf paper wider than your cat's dish
- cut a square off of the roll big enough for the dish to sit on
- draw a circle around the dish on the foam paper with a piece of chalk
- make sure the dish sits inside of this circle of chalk
- ants will not cross the chalk line to get into the food
Your cat may get through the entire summer without being bothered by these insect pests. When an encounter with one of them doesn't go well, contact South Hills Animal Hospital or a similar location.