Ticks can lead to dangerous Bobcat disease in cats

  • Gabe

    Gabe Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

By Mary Hayashi
The Buddy Beat

The Buddy Foundation does not just advocate an "inside only" policy for its felines, but rather makes it a requirement.

The reasons are many and should be obvious -- this policy is best for your feline's good health. Diseases, viruses and dangers are lurking everywhere. We can't inoculate against everything, nor would we want to. Think of your feline's immune system and the possibility of destroying it.

Most feline caregivers are familiar with feline leukemia, feline AIDS, distemper and other blood-related diseases. Fleas also cause a host of problems. If all of these reasons alone do not motivate you to keep your feline inside, then I would like to mention a new killer that is popping up with more frequency -- bobcat fever, which is passed by ticks.

Bobcat fever is a protozoan disease that is carried naturally in wild big cats such as bobcats and mountain lions without medical complications. If a domestic feline catches this disease, the result could be death within days of onset of symptoms.

Typically the disease is more prevalent in southern states, but our winters have become much milder, causing concern that pests that bother our animals are not dying off as they have in past winters. Even if your feline does not go outside, it can be bitten by ticks from exposure to other animals. Every time your dog comes in from outside, your feline is exposed to the disease.

I strongly suggest you discuss tick protection for your feline with your veterinarian. There are many good products your vet might suggest. There are products like Frontline and Assurity that are feline specific.

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Early symptoms of the disease include lethargy, elevated fever, depression and lack of interest in food. More severe symptoms include jaundice, rapid breathing and seizures as the animal's system is under attack.

The disease is so severe because of the way the organisms attack the block cells. They multiply in white blood cells which, in turn, expand and clog major blood vessels. Red blood cells under attack take the form of anemia. Ultimately, this kind of attack on a feline's system can cause organ failure.

If the disease is diagnosed in the early phase, treatment and recovery are possible. Treatment usually involves a bombardment of antibiotics and anti-protozoal drugs since a protozoal is a single-cell parasite.

Bobcat disease is a horrific disease that most felines do not survive. Prevention is key to everything regarding your inside feline.

Featured feline

Have you ever been in a situation where you couldn't get out? Where no matter what you did, you were wrong?


Where anyone and everyone could and would hurt you? Unlike most people, who get out of these toxic situations, Gabe, our cat of the week, was in that environment and suffered lifelong injuries from it. For the past 12 years, he had been abused.

Gabe is a gentle kitty with a cream tabby coat, rounded head, and eyes as golden as his heart. When we received him, we noticed that he carried some of his wounds with him; he now walks with a pronounced limp. That did not defeat this cat's spirit though. Even though Gabe was beaten down, he soars to new heights.

The first thing he did when he was put into the cat room was jump onto a couch as though nothing were wrong. He is currently enjoying his time at The Buddy Foundation, although he would love to be someone's one and only companion.

Gabe's new hobbies include being brushed (he loves that), getting petted by volunteers, and most unusually, fort building. This newest hobby of Gabe's is to rearrange the cushions on the couch to build a fort for him to watch everyone. At first it was thought that the volunteers were making the forts for him, but after some investigation, it was discovered that he was the architect.


He has given people a second chance, don't you think it's about time we give him a second chance?

There are many cats and kittens with many different stories, all of which have led them to The Buddy Foundation. On Aug. 2-4, The Buddy Foundation will be sponsoring an adoption event at the shelter.

"Buddy's Adopt-A-Thon-Room For One More" event will be from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, and Sunday, Aug. 4.

Come visit the shelter, 65 W. Seegers Road, Arlington Heights, to see the many wonderful animals just waiting for forever homes.

• The Buddy Foundation is a nonprofit (501c3), all volunteer, no-kill animal shelter dedicated to the welfare of stray, abused and abandoned cats and dogs. For information, call (847) 290-5806 or visit thebuddyfoundation.org.

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