Tick season: Your cat could get ‘bobcat fever’

Vets warn of 'Bobcat Fever' in IL spead by ticks

(KFVS) - If you’ve ever had a bobcat sighting where you live and are a cat owner, you want to be doubly sure that you’re keeping up with your cat’s tick treatments right now. If you don’t, there’s a chance your cat could contract and most likely die from “bobcat fever.”

According to Dr. Kay Creese, veterinarian for St. Francis CARE, the technical term for ‘bobcat fever’ is cytauxzoonosis, and spreads from actual bobcats to our domesticated feline friends via ticks.

“Any tick can carry the disease,” Dr. Creese said, “the lone star tick is the most common that will transmit it.”

She said it has about a 12-day incubation period in a cat, meaning once the tick latches on, the disease develops in that time before it actually makes the cat sick.

By the time a cat that’s contracted bobcat fever, Dr. Creese said the odds aren’t good for your pet, but owners should still try.

“The cat will kind of get lethargic, not really be interested in eating, and have a pretty good fever. The gums on the cat will be pretty pale,” she said. "There’s just not a lot that can be done.”

Dr. Creese said there have been some examples of cats surviving the illness, although they are few and far between. She said vaccines are in development, but not close to being done. Any other treatment options she said are very expensive.

She said the best way to keep your cat safe from this deadly disease is to simply try and keep them inside as much as possible, be up to date on any tick treatment, and regularly check to make sure they don’t have any ticks on them.

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