How to Remove a Tick from a Cat

Kerry Beaman

Looking down at your sweet kitty, you notice something isn't quite right. First, your adorable cat has been scratching more than usual. Second, he seems to be fixated on one spot over the rest, which appears red and swollen. Suddenly, your mental alarm goes off as you realize the culprit might be a tick.

Ticks are sneaky, and your cat's fluffy fur serves as an easy access point. While a tick is more than happy to latch on anywhere, they tend to gravitate towards warm, dark places such as between the toes, around the ears, under the armpits, around the tail and under your pet's collar.

Get Ready

While your first impulse might be to grab the tick with your fingernail and run to the nearest trashcan, that's not the best course of action.1 To achieve the best results,2 you want to do a little prep work first. You need to grab a few items that you probably have on hand. You need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A pair of tweezers
  • Disposable gloves
  • Triple-antibiotic ointment or medicated anti-itch spray
  • A paper towel or tissue

It's Hard to Keep a Good Cat Down

Once you have everything ready, it's time to coax your fluffy friend into a loving but firm embrace. If you can find an extra pair of hands, it will definitely make your job easier. For example, a friend can help distract your cat with his favorite toy or treat.

Before removing the tick, put on gloves, sterilize the tweezers with rubbing alcohol and soak the paper towel or tissue with the rubbing alcohol. Proper sterilization is key to reducing the risk of infection.

It's Go Time

With gloves on and your kitty in hand, pull back as much fur as possible so you have clear access to the tick. Using tweezers,

  1. Grab the head of the tick, which is closest to your cat's body.
  2. Pull with a firm and steady motion. Do not jiggle, squeeze or twist.
  3. Once you have removed the tick, immediately place it in the alcohol-soaked paper towel. The alcohol will kill the tick instantly. Once dead, it's safe to dispose of the tick.

If you don't have tweezers handy, consider using Adam's Flea and Tick Cleansing Shampoo for Cats & Kittens or the Adam's Flea and Tick Spray. Both kill ticks and fleas quickly and can be used every month during flea and tick season.


Before your cat has a chance to run and hide, evaluate the bite area, and make sure you successfully removed the head of the tick. If the tick's head remains, blot the area with alcohol. The head of the tick should disengage in the next day or two. While digging for the tick's head might seem like a good idea, it can inflame the already irritated area. If you have any concerns, call your vet for further instruction.

After the assessment, be sure to dab the bite area with a triple-antibiotic ointment. This step is essential in the healing process.

Keep Watch

Over the next few days, watch for any new signs of infection. While the bite area might appear red for a day or two, it should heal relatively quickly. However, if you notice new signs of infection or additional swelling, it's best to schedule a visit with your veterinarian.


Guarding your cat against future tick bites is easy with the proper safeguards in place. The Adam's Plus Flea and Tick Collar for Cats offers seven months of protection and includes a quick-release collar to keep your kitty safe. If you don't want to use a collar, the Adam's Plus Flea and Tick Spot On for Cats & Kittens kills ticks on contact. Both are great to help you fight against any future visits from the neighborhood tick population.

Keeping your cat free from ticks is essential is in his overall well-being. Ticks are more than a nuisance; they can carry disease and can cause other illnesses. With the appropriate flea preventatives and tweezers ready to go for any future attacks, you should be prepared for anything!


  1. International Cat Care. “Ticks and Tick Removal.", 24 July 2018,
  2. Pagliai, Geneva. "How to Remove a Tick from a Cat." 30 June 2020,,
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