Picturing a mosquito landing on a seriously furry cat might appear like the ultimate exercise in futility, and yet, they somehow get beyond all the hair to feast on feline blood. This can lead to minor skin irritation, but the effects of mosquito bites can be far more nefarious than owners might think. Transmitted by mosquitoes, heartworm disease in cats is a very real threat. While it is 100% preventable, if a cat contracts the disease through an infected mosquito, there is no available treatment.
They’re the Worst!
Have you ever heard anyone say they like mosquitoes? Of course not! Aside from being the ultimate in-your-face pests, they have the potential to spread diseases like Zika, West Nile virus, Malaria, and more. They are sometimes very hard to see, difficult to escape from, and, thanks to their efficient life cycle, impossible to eradicate. Luckily, there are some strategies that cat owners can employ to keep their pets safe from their pesky proboscis.
Reducing the Targets
Female mosquitoes need blood meals in order to lay eggs. They zero in on all sorts of mammalian species like us, our cats and dogs, various livestock and wildlife. They also target birds, lizards, amphibians and snakes.
The best defense for pet cats is to be kept indoors. This not only reduces their chances of becoming a mosquito’s next meal, but protects them from other illnesses and injuries, too. For cats that enjoy a more flexible lifestyle, it’s critical that their parasite prevention tactics remain a high priority. That being said, all cats benefit from routine parasite control.
Depending on what’s best for you and your cat, you may be able to maintain their prevention medication every month with an easy to administer dose. Bonus: this medicine also prevents fleas, ticks, and other internal parasites from gaining a foothold in your home. We are always happy to discuss what is best for your cat’s health, safety, and lifestyle.
Heartworm Disease in Cats
An infected mosquito transfers heartworm larvae into a cat’s bloodstream when feeding. Over time, the larvae move into the heart or the lungs. By the time cats start showing symptoms, such as wheezing or coughing, serious, irreparable damage has happened. Congestive heart failure can cause fluid to fill the abdomen and limbs.
Matters of the Heart
Because there is no treatment for heartworm disease in cats, it is vitally important to protect them from the possibility of contracting the disease. Following a diagnosis, managing symptoms and keeping a cat comfortable is part of the typical plan. Unfortunately, heartworm disease in cats is responsible for innumerable feline fatalities each year.
In addition to maintaining your cat’s parasite prevention medication and adjusting to their lifestyle, you can guard against heartworm disease in these ways:
- Reduce mosquito habitat by removing standing water in bird baths, gutters, and puddles
- Keep your backyard sealed off from other animals that could attract mosquitos
- Eggs are laid in damp piles of leaves in gutters or areas of the yard in need of a clean up
- Plant mosquito repelling plants near windows and door, such as catnip, rosemary, bee balm
- Wear mosquito repellent when outside and inspect your clothing before entering your cat’s space