Lyme Disease In Cats: Symptoms And Treatment

Cats can have lyme disease, although it is quite rate.

As one of the most common of all flea, mosquito and tick-transmitted diseases on the globe, lyme disease is known to strike mainly human beings and canines.

If left untreated for too long, the disease can lead to a fatal outcome.

Fortunately, there are some telltale symptoms that indicate when a cat is suffering from this illness, and there are treatment plans which can save a diseased kitty’s life.

What’s Lyme Disease?

To put it simply, lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the Borrellia bacteria, which ticks in the US, Europe, Asia and North America can carry over to other organisms. The pests transmit it by biting their victims.

It’s not a contagious disease, though, so cats can only get it from a tick’s bite – and not from an infected animal or human. Lyme disease is not as common for cats as it is for people and dogs.

However, if your kitty comes contact with ticks bearing the Borrellia bacteria, it may contract it.

The disease can lead to a number of problematic health disorders, including:

  • Joint inflammation,
  • Nervous system disorders,
  • Kidney dysfunction, and
  • Heart anomalies

Symptoms of Lyme Disease In Cats

As it is with most bacteria-based infectious diseases, this one has specific signs and symptoms, which will start showing sooner or later.

The problem is, not all cats will show symptoms of lyme disease right away.

Due to this fact and the rarity of the Borrellia bacteria among cats, it’s difficult to catch lyme disease on time. Your kitty may not start showing symptoms during the first week after the bite.

And as if that’s not alarming enough, there’s a worse alternative. Some bitten cats continue experiencing the unpleasant symptoms long after they’ve started treatment or have entered the recovery phase.

In other words, lyme disease is painful and potentially deadly. Neglecting just the slightest signs of it can put your precious furball’s life in danger and potentially impede its treatment.

Telltale Signs To Look Out For

Here are the symptoms of lyme disease in cats, which you should be looking out for if you’re suspecting your kitty has been bitten by a tick.

  • Fever
  • Lameness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Stiff walking or limping
  • Swells and rashes around the bitten area
  • Respiratory issues (even though these are rare)
  • Signs of pain when approached or petted

At first the kitty will be quite sensitive to touch and may not be able to urinate properly (either too often or not often enough). As joint inflammation and kidney dysfunctions progress, the cat won’t be able to walk, nor perform any other basic body functions.

Treatment of Lyme Disease in Cats

Once the veterinarian diagnoses a cat with lyme disease, he will most likely prescribe antibiotic treatment.

Depending on the severity of the case and the progression of the disease, the cat may require additional treatment for secondary health complications derived from the bacteria, such as joint inflammation and kidney disorders.

If the lyme disease is progressing rapidly, the cat may need to be hospitalized.

On the bright side, if you manage to catch it on time, your kitty can be treated at home with the prescribed antibiotics. Should the painful symptoms continue after the antibiotics have killed off the bacteria, the vet will prescribe suitable pain reliefs.

Treatment of lyme disease in cats is often successful even in severe cases.

What’s essential is to remember to follow the doc’s tips strictly and to show patience, support and devotion throughout the entire treatment plan.

Can You Prevent Lyme Disease in Cats?

Yes, you can!

Keep your pet strictly indoors. This will spare it from ticks, fleas and other insects. Call for pest control professionals and minimize the threats in your yard.

Don’t neglect your kitty’s skin and coat care. Daily grooming can not only prevent matting, but it also allows you to check up on your furball’s skin and fur coat on regular basis. Unless you own a long-haired dark kitty with an undercoat, grooming should be able to help you spot any ticks and other pests.

Opt for bug-repellent sprays and collars. There’s a plethora of those on the market. Consult with your vet on the best ones before spending a small fortune on a good-for-nothing product.

Lastly, always check your own shoes, skin and clothing for any ticks and other insects when coming home. Apart from keeping any sticky bugs from coming near your pet this practice will also help you spot any tick bites on your own skin. After all, you mustn’t neglect your cat’s well-being, but your own safety must also come as a priority.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!