JOPLIN, Mo. — A local cat owner is warning other cat lovers about the dangers of Bobcat Fever.

Shannon Bickford’s kitten, Tigger, was diagnosed with it earlier this month and barely survived. It’s a tick-borne parasite that affects cats — and only has a 50% survival rate. Animal experts say most bobcats carry the parasite and show no symptoms — but if a tick moves from a bobcat and attaches to a domestic cat — it could be fatal in a matter of days.

It’s also more prominent between March and September when more ticks are out.

“My biggest piece of advice is preventative. The best preventative is to keep your cats indoors. Always,” said Bickford.

“I think the most important thing is if you notice, again, these are just general symptoms on a cat being sick anyways, fever, laying around, not wanting to eat. They need to come in and see us,” said Dr. Michelle Cahill, Veterinarian.

If the disease is caught in time, Dr. Cahill says treatment can consist of feline antibiotics, anti-protozoal meds, and, in some cases, hospitalization.