How To Prevent Worms In Cats
Worm infestations in cats and transmission to children and adults can be prevented through good hygiene practices and the year-round use of heartworm, intestinal worm, and parasite prevention.
For indoor cats, cleaning the litter box on a daily basis, as well as changing out the litter and scrubbing the litter box on a regular basis is vital for minimizing exposure to contaminated feces.
For outdoor cats, regularly scooping feces from the yard, sandbox, and flower beds will minimize the potential for propagation of the parasite life cycle.
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Weight Issues Involving Sudden Loss Of Weight
Noticing a change in our pet’s weight may be a warning sign to a parasite infection. Here are a few symptoms to watch out for:
- Young cats and kittens that are not gaining weight appropriately.
- Drastic weight loss in adult cats.
- Failure to gain or maintain weight.
- Increased appetite, with no weight gain.
A cat’s weight can tell you a lot about their health. A drastic drop in the weight of an adult cat generally points to a parasite. Though it can be as simple as needing to alter the food we are feeding our cat. It is always a good idea either way to keep an eye on the weight of your cat. No matter if they are a kitten or a senior.
It is not uncommon for a cat to have and increased appetite and start eating more without weight gain if a parasitic infection is involved. Monitoring your pet’s food intake and weight together will help you determine if they have a possible parasite.
What Are Some Types Of Parasites Found In Cats
Worms come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasites in cats they measure about 3-4 long and resemble spaghetti. Hookworms are also common in cats, but they are typically much smaller than roundworms. They are usually less than 1 long and can cause life-threatening anemia in adult cats and especially in kittens. Tapeworms are also found long and flat, resembling strips of tape. They are segmented and can also infect cats, and they are anywhere from 4-24 in length. Over time, a tapeworm infestation usually causes vomiting and weight loss.
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Visible Changes In Cats Coat Or Fur
If your cat is malnourished, the hair and skin are the first to suffer.
Keep an eye out for a dull coat and itching, particularly around your cats hindquarters.
Due to a lack of nutrition or dehydration, your cats hair may seem dull, rumpled, or clumped if they are infected with worms.
If you notice any funny changes or wired drastic changes in your cats fur or hair you should see a veterinarian.
How Can You Tell If Your Cat Has Tapeworms
As a tapeworm grows, pieces of its body break into segments and pass into your cats intestines. You may see dried, white or cream-colored segments of the tapeworm in your cat’s feces, or you may find them stuck to the fur under your cats tail.
Some tapeworm species will break into segments that are too small to see, while the segments of other tapeworm species will resemble sesame or cucumber seeds in size and appearance.
If a tapeworm has traveled into a cats stomach, and the cat vomits up the worm, it may come up as a large and moving segment.
Cats may bite or lick their anus, or drag their hindquarters across the floor. Keep in mind that a tapeworm infection is often asymptomatic and, contrary to popular belief, rarely a cause of weight loss in cats.
If you notice tapeworms, take your cat to the vet for an evaluation. A fecal sample can be used to diagnose intestinal parasites like tapeworms. Its always helpful to save any worms that you find and bring them to your veterinarian for diagnosis. They can be transported in a sealed plastic bag or jar.
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Treatment And Risk Reduction
It is important to understand that you cannot actually prevent worms and that they are so prevalent that the vast majority of our cats will be infected. However, with regular and effective worm control as an integral part of your Cat Care regime you are able to get rid of those worms which are present at the time of treatment hence removing the threat of the illnesses and suffering to which we have referred earlier.
There is a multitude of different worming products available on the market from pet shops, supermarkets, and on the internet and it can therefore be very difficult, and often confusing, to be certain that you are using the right ones. Some treatments are effective against roundworm and tapeworm, whilst others are only effective against one or the other.
Not only is the range of products huge, but so also are the ways of administering them. Some excellent ones are still in tablet form. Other effective ones come in spot-on form, or as pastes, powders, syrups, or with injections by your vet. As regular worm treatment is so very important to your cats wellbeing it is therefore a good idea to have a word with your vet before deciding upon the right ones to use for your particular cat.
In my experience cats do not like being wormed, and some are extremely difficult to treat with tablets even the palatable ones. For this reason, I personally believe that the spot-on treatments are by far the easiest to administer.
When To Treat Your Cat
Kittens are commonly born with worms or become infected early in life, especially with roundworms, which can be transmitted through their mothers milk. Kittens should be wormed at two, four, six, eight and twelve weeks of age. After this, they can be treated with an all wormer for cats every three months.
Pregnant and nursing cats should also be treated with worm medication during mating, and before giving birth to a litter, as they can pass on intestinal worms to their kittens.
If your cat has a heavy worm infestation you may need to repeat your cat dewormer ten days after the initial dose is administered.
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Preventing Cat Worms Is Better Than Curing Them
Remember, preventing cat worms is better than having to treat them. Your cat should be regularly wormed to prevent them being infected. Follow advice from your vet to find the most suitable preventative method for your cat, and how often you should treat them.Kittens can have monthly preventative treatment against tapeworms from six weeks of age, and every three months from six months of age. Adults can have this treatment every two to six months. Your vet will be able to tell your more.Your cat may also contract worms by swallowing a flea, as some fleas may carry worms. For this reason, preventing against fleas is also important. Find out more about fleas in cats in our article.
What Is The Treatment For Roundworms
Fortunately, the treatment for roundworms is safe, simple, and relatively inexpensive. The dead and dying roundworms pass into the stool after administration of the anthelmintic or deworming medication. Since none of these treatments will kill the immature forms of the worm or the migrating larvae, at least two or three treatments are needed. Treatments are typically done at two to three week intervals. Ideally, kittens are dewormed with each visit for booster vaccinations. If your adult cat goes outdoors, you may wish to administer periodic doses of a dewormer. Nursing females should be treated at the same time as their litter of kittens.
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What Are Cat Worms And How Can My Cat Catch Them
Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasites in kittens and cats. They are long, white and look like spaghetti. Eggs from these cat worms are passed in the faeces and can live for months or years in the soil. Cats can become infected in three main ways:
- Ingestion of eggs directly from contaminated soil e.g. by licking them off their feet
- Consumption of a rodent who has previously eaten worm eggs from the environment
- Ingestion by kittens of worm larvae in their mothers milk . The vast majority of new-born kittens are infected with roundworms by this route.
Another type of cat worms your cat could be infected by are Tapeworms . Tapeworms are long, flat and composed of many segments which contain eggs. The segments are regularly shed in faeces and resemble grains of rice which can sometimes be seen crawling around a cats anus or on their bed.
To complete their lifecycle, tapeworms require an intermediate host to eat their eggs from the environment. Cats then become infected by consuming the intermediate host. Intermediate hosts include fleas and rodents. For this reason, if your cat is diagnosed with fleas, they will probably need treatment for tapeworms and vice versa. In addition, if they hunt and eats rodents, they will also require tapeworm treatment. You can find out more about tapeworms in cats with our easy guide.
Dewormers Prescribed By The Veterinarian
Dewormers are given either in tablet or liquid form and are very effective and safe.
Its normal to see worms in your cat’s stool for a short period after giving the product, as the body purges and eliminates them in the stool.
The larvae of certain types of worms can, however, become embedded in the body’s tissues, making it impossible to get rid of them immediately. They can remain dormant for some time and multiply later.
This is why the treatment of worms usually requires several doses, to avoid recurrences.
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How To Treat Tapeworms In Cats
Whats the treatment for tapeworms in cats?
Theres a specific type of medicine that will kill the worms. Usually one dose does the trick.
If you have a barn cat or an outdoor cat thats a hunter, our veterinarians may recommend deworming your cat every three months. This simply involves giving your cat a special tablet.
Can Humans Be Harmed By Roundworms
Roundworms do pose a significant risk to humans. Contact with contaminated soil or feces can result in human ingestion and infection. Roundworm eggs may accumulate in significant numbers in the soil where pets deposit feces. Children should not be allowed to play where animals have passed feces. Individuals who have direct contact with soil that may have been contaminated by cat or dog feces should wear gloves or wash their hands immediately.
For veterinary professionals, more detailed information on roundworms can be found at .
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How To Prevent Worm Infections In Cats
You can prevent worms in your cat from becoming an issue by keeping your cats environment clean and away from sources of uncleanness.
To prevent them from consuming uncooked or undercooked meat, cat food, or cheese, which are common sources of infection in cats, wash your hands and use soap before handling your cat or food.
Do NOT feed your cat anything other than certified cat food.
Feeding her straight cat food does not do any harm to her or even make her sick.
Proper nutrition and vet care should never be a problem. Its only common to feed your cat canned or dry foods.
Are there any diseases caused by worm infections? Worms can spread an illness called toxoplasmosis.
How Do Cats Get Hookworms
Cats get hookworms when they ingest hookworm larvae, typically when walking on a contaminated surface. Cats may pick up hookworms through their skin or during grooming.
Cats can become infected when they ingest the hookworm larvae. This might occur if the cat walks on a surface in a contaminated environment and gets hookworm larvae on the skin or fur, then swallows the larvae during self-grooming.
But cats dont have to ingest the larvae to become infected. Simply walking across surfaces contaminated with feces can cause infection because hookworm larvae can penetrate the skin.
All cats can become infected with hookworms, but the cats at the highest risk are those that go outdoors, are housed in close quarters with large numbers or other cats , or are kept in areas with poor sanitation. Kittens can become infected during nursing through their mothers milk if the mom cat has hookworms.
Hookworms are zoonotic, which means they can be transmitted to people. Dogs can also get hookworms.
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Can An Indoor Cat Get Intestinal Worms
Yes, just because your cat never leaves the house doesnt mean that other members of your family arent coming in and out and unintentionally bringing nasties back with them. Worm eggs are microscopic and can easily attach to clothing and shoes so make sure to remove or clean them before heading inside.
Can I Catch Worms From My Cat
Several worms mentioned above are indeed contagious to humans. However, our immune system is often strong enough to purge them naturally.
That said, children and people who are immunocompromised are at higher risk of contracting it.
I suggest that you wash your hands after cleaning your cat’s litter box and clean it regularly to prevent contamination.
For pregnant women, it is important to wear gloves, or even let your spouse do the litter! Remember, your cat can have worms even if you don’t see them!
Also cover your child’s sandbox and wear gloves when gardening, as some stray cats may use them to do their business.
To conclude, many cats have had worms in their lifetime. Its important to be alert to the various symptoms mentioned above, in order to prevent parasitosis in your kitty cat.
Although very disturbing, there are different remedies for these different types of intestinal worms. Its important to act quickly to avoid contaminating yourself.
For me, the fear of catching worms is more than enough motivation to worm my animals!
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Treatment Of Hookworm Infections In Cats
Your vet will discuss with you the best medication for deworming your feline friend and determine how often your cat/kitten should be dewormed to clear their hookworm infection.
Severely anemic cats/kittens may need a blood transfusion and aggressive supportive therapy. Resistance of hookworms to multiple deworming medications is increasing, making it important to work closely with your vet to resolve a hookworm infection.
Does My Cat Have Worms
Cats often show symptoms of worms like scratching and licking themselves excessively, passing worms in their stool, having a potbelly, looking soft and unkempt, sudden weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, appetite loss, and unable to jump up onto high places.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your cats, take them to the vet immediately.
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Is It Possible For My Cat To Catch Worms If It Stays Inside
It is, as you probably think, much less likely that your cat will catch worms if it stays inside your home. This is why we advise you to keep cats inside your home to them safe .
That said, you may wonder How did my indoor cat get worms?
It only takes a little mouse that sneaks into your house, the visiting dog that brings in fleas, or your tomcat that runs away between your paws, for it to become at-risk.
When To Begin Worming Treatments In Kittens
In contrast to dogs, kittens are not born with worm larvae already present in their gut, but they can contract them from their mothers milk. Because of this risk, worming treatment should begin from a young age.
Some worming treatments can begin once kittens are six weeks old. Once your kitten is 9 weeks of age they can start on monthly Advocate® which will then continue to control intestinal nematode worms, and in addition: fleas, heartworm and lungworms.
Regular worming treatments will ensure your kitty stays happy, healthy and safe from worms throughout its nine lives as a cat.
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Treatment For Worms In Kittens
Your vet will perform a fecal exam to determine what type of worms your kitten has and give specific medications for those worms. Some medications cover a variety of worms. Most medications are given orally and may need to be repeated for several days, and then again in a few weeks. You can also get worming medications over the counter and administer them at home. Over the counter medications will typically cover tapeworms or hookworms in kittens and cats. The package will give you specific directions for dosage based on your cats weight. Follow the directions and repeat the dose one additional time two weeks later.
When treating your kitten at home, you must be on the watch for symptoms to subside. If diarrhea or vomiting persists, you will want to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. Worms in kittens can easily be solved, by when symptoms persist, it can lead to anemia and other serious problems.
How To Identify Worms In A Cat
This article was co-authored by Brian Bourquin, DVM. Brian Bourquin, better known as Dr. B to his clients, is a Veterinarian and the Owner of Boston Veterinary Clinic, a pet health care and veterinary clinic with three locations, South End/Bay Village, the Seaport, and Brookline, Massachusetts. Boston Veterinary Clinic specializes in primary veterinary care, including wellness and preventative care, sick and emergency care, soft-tissue surgery, dentistry. The clinic also provides specialty services in behavior, nutrition, and alternative pain management therapies using acupuncture, and therapeutic laser treatments. Boston Veterinary Clinic is an AAHA accredited hospital and Bostons first Fear Free Certified Clinic. Brian has over 19 years of veterinary experience and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University.There are 8 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 21 testimonials and 93% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 691,836 times.
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