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Spraying vs. Ticks

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi -
I have a problem with one of my two cats, Buddy is 6yrs and Pal is 5yrs, that is driving me nuts. Pal has the problem. Actually, I have the problem, Pal is just the catalyst. I got them both at the MSPCA when they were a year old and they have been indoor, neutered cats. For 3 yrs Pal was fine with this. He would take a shot at getting out if the opportunity was there but it was no big deal. Then a feral cat came spraying at the screened in porch and my peaceful life was shattered. Pal thought it was better than sliced bread. And now, getting outside was a major deal. I've had indoor/outdoor cats all my life but there was always someone home to let them in and out. It's just me now and I don't want them out all day while I'm at work. What if they got hurt and came home for help and I found them dead on the doorstep?? I know cats go off when they are hurt bad, but still. Am I supposed to come home from work and let them out, they are gone all night and I only see them on the weekends?? No. They are to be indoor cats.

Until this feral cat passed by last summer. Then Pal had to get out to mark his territory with this new knowledge and in the mean time he marked everything inside. Even ME! I took him to the vet just in case, but he was fine. So, I found Feliway, wich worked OK, he just found new spots to mark. Then Buddy, who's the dominant one, figured Hey, I was here first, I'll do the marking around here. Fortunately, he's slow to catch on and was only wiggling his tail, but how long before he realized he had to put something behind all that action? Pal soon added huffing, snorting, furniture scratching and biting my toes to his repertoire. I was spraying Feliway eight inches off the floor completely around every room not closed off. I tried closing the blinds on the windows but he just jumped on the sill and sprayed them. So I cleaned and sprayed. I tried pennies in a can, clapping my hands with "NO, NO, NO!!," banishing him to the basement for 3 timed minutes and a spray bottle. I lived in a stuffy tomb with the windows, blinds and doors all closed. A neighbor actually asked me if I was OK.

The last straw for me, which was Pal's victory, was when he came to where I was sitting, bit my toes, then jumped up on the front window sill. He turned around to face me, started working the back paws, hunkered down on the front paws, looked straight at me and sprayed. I shook my penny can, he flattened his ears, I yelled "NO, NO, NO" and he huffed. I put him down cellar, set the timer and cried. The next day I opened all the windows, bought flea and tick drops on the way home, they both already had collars and shots incase they got out, and called a friend for Pal's Going Out party. That was in the fall and was the end of his spraying.

Now, for the past 2 months with the warm weather, I find out Pal is a tick magnet. That's all well and good if they bite the cats, they have the drops to kill the ticks if they bite, but what about me? I check Pal over and comb him every time he comes in, found out they die when dropped in alcohol, but they're wise to me. They hide somehow and show up on his window sill or on his fur. Today I found one on my sock and I had not been outside yet. In 2 months I've only found 4, other than when I check him when he first comes in. After I found the first I started closing my bedroom door. I can't sleep thinking he may have a loose one on him. So now I am totally repulsed by the possibility of ticks and I find I am transferring that to Pal himself. I put on a white towel before I let him sleep on my lap. I don't want him brushing up against me and move away. And I know he can tell the difference because he has started curling up at my feet instead of jumping on my lap. Either I need therapy to get over the tick thing or Pal needs it to stop spraying if I try to keep him in again. Neither of which I can afford. What can I do?
post #2 of 11
Hi Anna Mae....Is there a way that you can provide Pal with an outside enclosure that is attached to your house so he can have the outdoors but be protected? Perhaps off the screened porch?

One thing you can do is keep your grass mowed short, that will stop most of the ticks as they like to hide in tall grass. If Pal is long haired, shaving him will help, and applying Frontline will kill the ticks.

A female tick can drop 300 eggs in your house in a matter of minutes. Try to remove anything that would encourage a tick to hide in, like firewood, old newspapers stacked up. There are tick foggers you can buy to bomb your house as well.

On the feliway, instead of spraying the rooms, just spray a cloth and give it to Pal to sniff. It will calm him down. He got used to marking his territory when he saw the encroachment of the feral outside. I am sorry, but I giggled when I read all that you went through to stop him from spraying, and his reactions to it all. LOL Can't say you didn't try.

I would keep a pair of tweezers handy and try not to let the thought of ticks on your cat prevent you from loving him. There are flea combs you can buy with such fine teeth that it will be easy to spot the black head of a tick.

Frontline is good to kill ticks, but I would also keep an eye on Pal and make sure these ticks are not going to make him sick or anemic. I would keep an eye on his gums and make sure they are pink and happy and not pale and washed out.

Good luck. Thankfully, ticks are not a problem where I live unless I go up to the mountains. My cats are all inside/outside cats and they play in the woods and fields with little danger like you are talking about with these ticks.
post #3 of 11
Wow! What a story. I really feel for you and applaud you for trying so hard to make things work.

When I lived in Florida (before the days of Frontline and Advantage) tics were a HUGE problem. What I would do was to give the cats a good rub down with my hands when they first came in the door and then I ran a flea comb through their fur just once to find any my hands missed. In my experience, the tics prefer the throat, neck and ears. Usually, the tics elsewhere were crawling toward the throat so they were easy to find. Make sure when you find a tic that you completely crush it until it's body breaks in two. Just squishing it wont kill it, you must break the body in order for it to die.

Removing an attached tic is easiest with tweezers. don't pull by the body because it will leave the head in the skin. Instead, put the tweezers right next to the skin and pull the head out.

I know they're disgusting, but a little prevention will keep them from becoming a problem.

By the way, are the tics you're dealing with the big tics (easy to see) or the tiny deer tics (size of a tiny freckle)?
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies and advise, I was happy just to have a place to vent! I wish I could add an enclosure. I live in a condo so the yard isn't only mine. I wanted to enclose the deck into a real porch, but the board said nothing outside can be attached. They OK'D a screenroom/tent (why? wouldn't a built porch look better?), so I built a removable frame to keep the bottom secure and lined it with pet screening. I thought this would be their "outdoors", and it was for those first 3 yrs.

They keep the lawn in good shape but I'm right on the edge of the woods. Pal's fur is short and silky so he's easy to check. Buddy is also shorthaired but has a dense undercoat and not as co-operative when I try to check him. I'm glad he's not the one going out. Thanks for the "300 eggs" image!! THAT calms my growing phobia right down!!

Love the idea of just spraying a cloth w/Feliway. So it's not just telling them "this spot is homey, don't mess it up w/urine", it actually can calm them? Wonder if a little cat-sized surgical mask would work?!

I rub Pal down first and them go over him with a flea comb, as lotsocats had done, and drop them in a container of alcohol. The die in about 10 minutes. These are the brown/dog ticks. I haven't (yet) found one attached to him or me. He comes back about every 15 minutes, as if to check in, so I don't think they have time to get to his skin. The 1st time I saw any on him, there was one on each side of his nose. I flicked them off and let him in. The next morning, there the 2 were, crawling on the screen door, as if to say, Hey-we know your in there!

Ya hafta laugh at the things cats do, and make you do! Maybe not at the time, but shortly after. The toe biting got me. He uses it now to direct me -- to his dish if I was going to pass by the kitchen, or to stop me from going upstairs when he wants the front door opened, or to pay attention cuz I didn't notice he was pawing at his fishing pole toy and wants to play. It's amazing when you can figure out what they're trying to say. And when I can't, I suggest, "since your so smart, LEARN ENGLISH"!! Hasn't happened yet.

I think I attached a picture each of Buddy and Pal. Hope I did it right.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
OK - I did it wrong. That first one is Pal. This one is Buddy.
post #6 of 11
Pal and Buddy are such pretty cats!

I hate tics too, but had to deal with them so much in Florida and still do when I go hiking, that they don't freak me out so much any more. They truly are evil little critters....ick!
post #7 of 11
Anna Mae - I share your phobia about the ticks. I was engrossed in your story. Please stick around and tell us mnore of your kitty adventures. Your boys are absolutely magnificant!
post #8 of 11
Anna Mae, I used to be scared of ticks and if any of my animals had them on them, I'd have to find someone willing to pick them off because I was NOT about to touch them.

Then I started working at the clinic and there was a dog that had a tick on him. I said, "Oh, there's a tick, where's the tissues?" The doctor on duty laughed and pulled it off and turned to me and said "You don't need a tissue."

Needless to say I felt pretty silly and much to my displeasure I HAD to overcome my fear since the area I live in is heavily infested and it's part of my job to deal with them.

I still hate to touch the big fat ones though... Ewwww....

BTW which MSPCA shelter did you adopt your kitties from? I'm a really big fan of the MSCPA and frequently participate in the Centerville shelter's activities.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
lotsocats: Ya, they're cute! And they know how to use it to get treats!!

Debra: Man, am I in MY element! Someone actually WANTS to hear my cat stories. Usuallly I get a strange look with "they're CATS". I could tell you about how Buddy adopted me, or that Pal came out of thin air, or the time I caught Buddy teaching Pal to wake me up. But I tend to be long winded (as you can tell from my first post)and I wouldn't want to be the one taking up space where this is for getting help with problems. My spray vs tick problem hasn't concluded yet and I don't want to be banned from the one place I can get advise!!

And for BadHabit: Ickkk, "big fat ones", ick-ick-ick! As I posted earlier, I haven't yet found one attached......but I can deal with it. It's just a bug. Just a little bug. Until I see it!!
The MSPCA is the Brockton branch.
post #10 of 11
Anna this is the place for you!! We LOVE hearing stories about cats, how they found us, their little quirks - all of it! Just start a thread in The Cat Lounge and we will join you regaling everyone with our stories. Oh, and don't worry about being long winded. I tend to be pretty wordy when I talk about about my babies, too.
post #11 of 11
Originally posted by Anna Mae
...But I tend to be long winded...
Just do a search on some of my posts, Anna Mae. *wink and grin* I can and frequently do use 15 words when only 2 will do.

Welcome to the group!! As valanhb already mentioned, Introduce yourself in the New Cats On The Block forum, and then tell your stories in the Cat Lounge. Or, if you are feeling particularly creative, you can even make them up if you want and post them in the Paws & Reflect forum!! Anytime you have a health question, the Health forum is there for ya, and of course, Behavior is right here ... so let your fingers do some walking over the keyboard. There are a lot of really nice, and really knowledgable people around who are also willing to help if they can.

Looking forward to hearing more from you,

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