Finding out that your pet has worms is often traumatizing and disheartening. Depending upon whether they are external or internal, these parasites deteriorate your cat’s health rapidly. Cats can be affected by various types of worms in their lifetime. Most common are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, etc., affecting various body parts of the cats, but how does your feline buddy get these unwanted friends Let’s? check out
How Do Cats Get Worms?
Although the different types of worms in cats vary in how they are contracted, there are a few main ways cats tend to get worms.
While grooming themselves, cats unknowingly ingest several fleas that can carry worm larvae on them. According to the research, almost half of the fleas that come in contact are swallowed by cats. These larvae grow inside their body and develop into a worm.
Cats (whether wild or domesticated) interact with several other animals like- mice, birds, lizards, insects, and other animals. Cats hunt for both food as well as fun, but these animals can be the host for several larvae of infectious parasites and worms. If these animals come in contact with cats, it can help ill your cat.
Our surroundings are also a habitat to several parasitic worms, for example- playground, furniture, clothes, etc. Cats can get infected while interacting with these surroundings while digging, scratching, playing, etc. Apart from ingesting larvae, some worms cats can get will deteriorate their health by attaching themselves to the skin and absorbing essential nutrients.
From Other Animals
Cats are generally social animals and display their trust and friendliness with other animals by licking, head-butting, rubbing, etc. But sometimes, other animals can be infected or carry these larvae of worms, which transmit to cats while socializing. If your cat accidentally ingests these worm’s larvae, she will be infected soon.
From Mother’s Milk
Newborn kittens are small, docile, and can be an easy target of a worm or parasite. While breastfeeding, an infected cat can pass these larvae to its kitten, thus, making them ill. An infected mother might not show signs of infection but can pass it to her kitten while feeding.
Types of Worms in Cats
Hookworms in Cats
Hookworms are small internal parasites with hook-like teeth in the intestine and feed on your cat’s blood. These worms result in diarrhea, blood loss, anemia, and weight loss in adult cats. Cats contract hookworms through various mediums like- ingesting them directly, larvae that penetrate through the skin, or while in their mother’s uterus. Hookworms are the most dangerous parasites because they can lead to intestinal bleeding. Luckily, hookworms in cats are less common in cats than other types of worms. Hookworms are not often visible to the naked eye.
Roundworms in Cats
Roundworms in cats are the most common type of worms and are also visible to the naked eye. These worms have a length between 3 to 5 inches long resemble a spaghetti-like shape. Round worm in cats are present on the lining of the small intestine and consume nutrients from the food which were supposed to benefit your cat.
Tapeworms in Cats
Tapeworms are flat, string-like worms inside the intestine, almost to the size of rice, visible in your cat’s stool. An infected mammal transmits tapeworms to cats through another mammal. As tapeworms in cats mature inside the body, they cause diarrhea and infections ranging from mild to life-threatening. These parasites can be seen in cats’ stools or fur near the anus.
Heartworms in Cats
Heartworms are caused by a mosquito carrying the heartworm biting your cat. These worms are deadly parasites that develop to become large worms inside the heart and vessels of the lungs. Unfortunately, there is no remedy to eliminate such parasites in cats, but cats are less vulnerable than dogs because of their strong immune system.
Coccidium in Cats
These protozoans are inside the cat’s intestines and ingested through raw or undercooked meat like rodents and other small animals. Be sure to clean their litter tray daily, as feces take one to two days to become infectious. Symptoms caused by coccidium are- diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and loss of appetite.
Symptoms of Worms in Cats
Several symptoms and signs related to parasite infections are generally non-specific, and grown-up cats infected with worms might not show any clinical symptoms. But here are some sign of worms in cats one should be looking at:-
Vomiting is common in cats because of hairballs, stomach aches, or indigestion. If you see worms in cat vomit or it occurs more often than usual, it may signal a serious medical situation. Cat vomiting is a sign of an underlying illness, obstruction in food pipe, allergies, parasites, and more.
Change in Stool
Stool changes can occur due to changes in the diet but are not the same in every situation. If you notice liquid/semi-liquid stool or mucoid or bloody feces for successive days, it can indicate worms/parasites inside your cat. Dark, tarry stool also indicates the presence of blood due to cats worms in the gut.
As worms are present inside the body, they consume/ intake vital nutrients from the cat’s body. Lack of nutrients results in loss/or an increase of appetite, as it is deprived of necessary nourishment and tends to consume more food.
Change in Hair Coat Color
In cats infected with parasites, their fur tends to lose its shine or become dull and shabby. This can be due to both external worms as well as internal worms.
Lethargy and Lack of Energy
Cats lose their essential nutrients to parasites; as a result, the energy requirement of the cat is not fulfilled. This makes the cat weak and lethargic and reduces its day-to-day activities.
Other reasons are dehydration, bloated body structure, spaghetti-like worms in stool, etc.
How to Treat Worms in Cats?
After knowing the symptoms of worms in cats it is now time to understand the treatment methods. Maintaining a regular deworming plan can save your cat from worms and other health issues. Some of the treatments are listed below:-
- The best dewormer for cats can help your cat from hookworm, tapeworms, etc. There are different types of medicines for reducing cat worming, like- tablets, spot-on, pastes, and tablets. Most worm tablets are usually small in size and covered in tasty flavors to make them easier for your cat to intake. Most deworming products are designed to eliminate most intestinal worms commonly found in cats. Worming pastes are an easy and effective remedy for cats uncomfortable with tablets. Cats usually contact tapeworms by swallowing fleas. Therefore, best cat dewormer tablets with effective flea prevention should be added to the medication.
- Pregnant cats should also be treated with worm medicine for cats before giving birth to a litter, as they can pass worms to their kittens. Also, kittens should be taken more care of as they are at high risk of hookworm infection.
- Deworming for parasites should be undertaken at 6-to-8 and 10-to-12 weeks of age. Per the research, a medical inspection should be undertaken every three months. It is important to maintain this routine, as reinfection or infection from other cats can be a common problem.
The easiest and most effective way to prevent worms/ infections is to perform a regular stool test once or twice a year.
Clean up your cat’s stool regularly, at least daily.
Keep your cat’s surroundings clean and tidy.
Avoid contact with other cats and animals and their stool.
Regular grooming and deworming are essential.
Unfortunately, if cat has worms then they can pass them to their owners. For instance, people can contract the guinea worm by drinking contaminated water that contains water fleas infected with guinea worm larvae causing skin infection.
As there is an old saying, “Prevention is better than cure” therefore, we should try to prevent our cats from getting infected by such parasitic attacks. These worms harm cats’ health and make day-to-day life difficult and painful. A regular visit to the veterinarian, proper grooming, and timely medication is the best way to reduce the risk of larvae buildup and saves time and money. So hope this guide helps you understand how to treat worms in cats.