The little cat has been ferrying home ticks for a few days now, so it is obviously warm enough for these little buggers to be really active again… which also means it’s time for the yearly public service announcement:
If you are living in tick country, or plan to travel to one, there’s two nasty sicknesses that can be transferred by ticks (which are the only members of the spider family I truly dislike). One of them, Lyme disease, is nasty and especially so if it is not detected in a timely fashion. The other, tick-borne encephalitis, is also nasty – but there is actually a vaccine against it, and at least in Germany, it is strongly recommended for those active outdoors.
So do consider checking your vaccination records and getting a refresher if you are running out of protection; look for ticks when you were outside and remove them as soon as possible. We have a tick-removing tool that has a loop you put around the tick, which works very well for both humans and cats, and grasps even small ticks very securely. Though they have no threads and some people say you should not turn them, I have the impression it’s easier to get them out if you twist instead of pull straight. Whatever tool and method you use, make sure you have all of the tick out – sometimes, the head can rip off and stays in the skin.
To kill them, either pour boiling water over them, smash them until they burst, or (my preferred method) burn them. Don’t think you can kill them by flushing them down the sink or toilet; they can survive several weeks under water with no problem. You really have to kill them dead with a capital D.
There you go. May your summer be tick-bite-free!