Being a pet parent is not easy at all. And when our feline family members act weird or get sick, we start to get stressed. For example, when your cat gets worms. It is not a pleasing experience to find worms in your cat. Not only are worms gross, but they raise some serious concerns about the cat’s health. They can cause illness and suffering. They may eventually lead to death.
Some worms can spread to everyone in the household, such as another pet or even you. So, we can say a cat getting worms can cause a series of serious issues. You can do some things to prevent this from happening, but it always can occur anyway. So, there are some things you can do to get rid of worms in cats, and we will talk about both. Let’s start!
Types of Worms
Worms are a common cat health problem. Your cat can be infested with more than one type of worm. These usually spread through the ingestion of eggs. These come from infected stools. Cats constantly groom themselves, and they can pick those eggs from the infected ground. There are mainly four types of harmful worms for our fluffy friends.
They are also called flatworms and are very common. Usually, an intermediate host transmits tapeworms. This host is usually a rodent. After they are transmitted, they grow in cats’ guts. They break into small segments.
They look like sesame seeds or rice grains one can find in a cat’s stool or around its anal area and under the tail. Tapeworm symptoms are often subtle, so they can be hard to realize. Some cats do not even show any sign at all, and you can only find that out with a vet check.
Half an inch in size, these worms have small hooks from which they got their name. With them, they cling to the intestines’ wall and feed on the cat’s blood. Even this sentence is disturbing enough!
On top of it, their larvae migrate through the skin after being transmitted through the fecal-oral route. This type of worm’s symptoms includes weight loss, weakness, skin lesions, coughing, poor appetite, anemia, blood in the stool, and diarrhea.
While a cat can get infected by the mother cat during pregnancy or breastfeeding, it can also get infected directly by the ingestion of eggs. Roundworms can also infect a cat through ingestion of infected rodent tissue. They steal the essential nutrients from your cat’s ingests and feed on them.
They are between 3 and 5 inches long, so they are easy to spot in the stool. A swollen abdomen, diarrhea, coughing, vomiting, losing weight, and intestinal obstruction are some symptoms of roundworms.
Whipworms are primarily common in dogs, but cats also have problems with them. It is hard to notice them because they are tiny. They are 45-75mm long. They can live in water, food, and soil. Once the cat swallows the eggs, they make their way into the intestine of cats and take three months to hatch. The cat digests food, and these worms feed off the nutrients.
Symptoms of whipworms include dehydration, blood in the stool, anemia, weight loss, large bowel diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel syndrome. Other than those common worm types, there are also not-so-common types that can cause serious health problems. Those worm types include stomach worms, lungworms, bladder worms, liver flukes, and heartworms.
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How Do Cats Get Worms?
Mostly, cats get worms by contact with infected feces or parasite eggs. Of course, cats do not eat those, but they do not need to eat those to get worms. Cats can get infected by walking through an infected area. Since cats groom themselves almost constantly, they pick the eggs or fecal particles with their tongue by licking their fur and feet after walking through those areas.
Cats can also develop a worm infestation through rodents that are infected with worm larvae. If your cat is always indoors and only eats packaged food, that might be what caused the worm. Generally dry and canned food is safe, so is freeze dried raw cat food. But it’s best to be cautious.
Symptoms of Worms in Cat
No matter what type of worms the cat has, it can show similar symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Losing weight but having a bloated stomach
- Change in bowel habits and coat condition
- White worms in cat’s stool or around the anus
- Lack of energy and interest
We’ll talk about preventing cats from getting worms and getting rid of worms in cats after noticing any of the symptoms.
How to Prevent Worms in Cats?
Preventing worms is easier than trying to get rid of them in the future. To prevent your pet from getting worms, you can follow these steps.
- Make sure that the house is regularly disinfected and cleaned. Stay away from disinfectants that are not safe for animals
- Disinfect water and food bowl regularly
- Dispose of the feces regularly and carefully
- Invest in good quality litter and clean the litter box periodically
- Avoid contact between other unknown cats, their stool, and your cat
If your cat is an outside cat, do not forget to scoop feces from flower beds, sandbox, and the yard to prevent these kinds of parasites from occurring.
How to Treat Worms in Cats?
Cats are infected mainly by hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms. The majority of cats develop worm infestations at some point in their lives. Even if you do everything above to prevent the cat from getting worms, it can still create a worm infestation.
People often search for how to get rid of worms in cats at home or use natural remedies because they do not want to deal with medical costs. They tend to use carrots, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, pumpkin seeds, and garlic. However, these alternatives can cost you more in the long run because they can cause more harm than the worm.
Avoid these and look for vet-approved options. Most veterinarians prescribe an injectable or oral dewormer for cat worm treatment. This helps to kill the larval and adult worms in the intestine. Administering worm medication usually needs to be done on a regular schedule of three months.
There are options you can choose from, including the two we talked about. These options include pastes, spot-on, and tablets. Tablets are usually small-sized, and they come in different flavors. Pastes are another easy and effective option for cats that do not have a good relationship with tablets.
There are also Drontal Plus and Panacur for treating tapeworm, whipworm, roundworm, and hookworm. You need to be extra careful with those and follow your veterinarian’s instructions. For one-time injectable treatment, your vet can recommend Praziquantel. It is for tapeworm infections’ treatment.
FAQ About Worms in Cats
Q: Can I Get Worms From My Cat?
A: Yes, you can get worms from your cat and also if you come in contact directly with contaminated soil or feces. Common ways of getting worms from cats include:
- Walking barefoot on contaminated soil.
- Gardening without wearing gloves.
- Playing in the sand where cats have defecated.
Q: Can I Get Rid of Worms in Cats by Using Home Remedies?
A: This method is never recommended. Yes, it looks like a cheaper and faster option than visiting the vet. But it can be harmful and cost you more in the end. Do not use home remedies on your pets ever.
Q: Can Cats Get Worms From Dogs?
A: Yes. Not all worm types are species-specific. Some can affect both cats and dogs. So, a cat can get infected with worms through a dog. If we need to give an example, Toxascaris leonine roundworm can affect both cats and dogs.
Q: Do Worms Cause Pain?
A: Yes. Worms mainly cause breathing issues, belly pain, and eye irritation.
Q: What Happens if You Don’t Do Anything to Treat Worms?
A: Untreated worms can be dangerous, even fatal for the cat. If the larvae migrate through the body’s tissues and organs, it can cause blindness, pneumonia, skin infections, or convulsions. Untreated worms can cause dehydration, weight loss, anemia, and even death because the cat continues to lose vital nutrients and blood.
We talked about preventing worms in cats and how to get rid of white worms in cats. Worm infestations can cause severe damages in cats. The first step is watching the cat if you notice any differences and looking for symptoms. If your cat has any signs of cat pinworms and more, take it to the vet. While there are some things you can try at home, we do not recommend those.
Always ask your veterinarian first. Do not do anything your veterinarian disapproves of, especially in a severe situation like this. After consulting with the vet, you should follow their instructions till your little furry friend is okay. The process could take a week or three months, according to the situation. Take good care of the little ones of our family!