All untreated cases of tick paralysis end up looking like a paralysed cat. However the initial symptoms can be variable. They may include:
Change in voice or their regular meowing sounds.
Dilation of the pupils
Difficulty in swallowing water or food or an exaggerated swallowing motion.
Coughing or gagging when swallowing
Slight weakness especially in the hind legs ( stands for only short time then sits down quickly. This could look like being less inclined to jump up on furniture etc.)
Slower/ more deliberate breathing than normal.
Wobbliness particularly in hind legs initially
As symptoms worsen:
Wobbliness becoming weakness becoming paralysis of hind legs then front legs and the losing the ability to sit up.
Breathing becoming more difficult, weaker and shallower until the cat cannot breathe for itself.
Loss of the ability to swallow and the gag reflex so the airways are no longer protected from saliva being inhaled into lungs.
Bladder loses the ability to contract and urine pools and bladder is stretched beyond its normal capacity.
The cat dies of either not enough oxygen from poor breathing, or aspiration of saliva or bodily fluids into airways.
If your cat has a tick remove it immediately with as little squeezing as possible, ideally with a “tick twister” or similar. Keep the tick in a zip-lock bag. Paralysis ticks are spread by bandicoots, a small nocturnal native animal who likes long grass and scrubby undergrowth, which is most of Greenbank, Spring Mountain, New Beith, Munruben, Flagstone, North and South Maclean and Jimboomba.