Doctor Billy Pullen says this is the time of year to keep an eye out for your cat and owners should be aware of a seasonal illness that could be fatal.

Bobcats help ticks transmit this disease to your pet, and Pullen says the survival rate isn't high.

The first case of Cytox better known as Bobcat Fever was reported in the Oklahoma/ Texas region.

Today, a number of bobcats roam the Tennessee Valley.

“So they carry the organism that is typically not fatal to them, but a tick feed it's on a bobcat,” said Billy Pullen. “Then it drops off and goes for a cat. That's when they become infected.”

Pullen with the Veterinary Care and Specialty Group says bobcat fever started in Sequatchie Valley, moved to Signal Mountain, and is making its way to Chattanooga. It's also in the North Georgia area.

Ticks thrive in the summer allowing this illness to latch onto your cats.

He says they are starting to see an increase in sick cats.

“Milder winters may play a role in the fact that we're seeing more coming to this area,” said Pullen. “We see more cases each summer now.”

Cats will start to show signs within 5-7 days after being bitten.

Then the disease could be fatal to your cat. Also, if your cat gets sick and goes into hiding, it could make matters worse.

“There's jaundice. So the whites of their eyes are yellow,” said Pullen. “They oftentimes have a very high fever and severe muscular pain.”

Pullen suggests rapid and aggressive treatment. He says it's best to use preventative measures like treating your cat with flea and tick medicine.

Pullen does not advice treating your lawn to kill the insects. “That's a very difficult aspect because you get into certain pesticide exposure or risk of reactions,” said Pullen.

Pullen says each year they see about five, or six cases at his office. So far this year, he's heard of two cases.