Oh! I know! Do you want to hear about the tick I removed from my cat? Okay! Well, Elizabeth said there was something on the cat, and I went to look and it was this weird shiny grey smooth dangling POD-LIKE thing, about the size of a popcorn kernel. I couldn't imagine what it could be. It was too big to be a skin tag, and so I thought maybe tick---but it was totally smooth. No LEGS. I'd thought there'd be visible bug parts if it were a tick.
Well, so I went online, because that is what I do. And it did seem like it was probably a tick. I looked on several sites, and the instructions seemed pretty consistent. I took a little of this and a little of that to come up with My Plan:
- Don't try to burn the tick off or smother it with vaseline. Those are apparently really bad ideas.
- Get a disposable cup and put half an inch of rubbing alcohol in it. Put a Q-tip and a tweezers in the cup. (You're sterilizing the tweezers and getting the Q-tip's tip wet for use later in the process.)
- Locate the cat. Open a can of tuna if necessary.
- Kneel around the cat so the cat is as immobilized as possible, with the tick centered in your cat-view.
- Take a breath to stabilize yourself, because this is going to be icky but you can't let yourself get icked: working quickly and decisively is in everyone's best interests here. You need to get that tick before either the tick or the cat realizes what's going on.
- Take the tweezers, grip the tick as close to the cat's skin as you can get, and YANK. Pull straight out, don't twist. Just POP that thing off, and then drop it into the cup of rubbing alcohol.
- Take the Q-tip out of the rubbing alcohol and rub it around on the cat's skin where the tick was.
- Release the poor cat. Maybe bring out that tuna.
- WASH YOUR HANDS. Ticks are diseased and gross.
- Wait ten or fifteen minutes, then flush the tick down the toilet and throw out the cup, and wash your hands again.
- The next time you see the cat, check the owie. It'll look kind of icky. It's normal for it to be red, bleeding, or welty. Apparently it's okay if (WARNING, WARNING, IMMINANT GROSSNESS ALERT!) the tick's head remained under the cat's skin; that will work itself out. (BARF.)
- You can put a little dab of ointment on the owie if you want to. I mixed some antibiotic ointment with some hydrocortisone ointment.
- Keep checking the owie regularly for several weeks. Call the vet if the owie gets worse or if it fails to get better, or if the cat seems sick.