There’s no denying that cats lead happy lives and enjoy spending their time playing with their families or exploring the world around them. But some things can make cats sad - and one of them is internal parasites like worms.
Worms in cats is undoubtedly a leading problem, regardless of the cat’s age or gender. Worms can cause all kinds of issues like lethargy, weight loss, and a change of bowel habits.
The good news is that it’s relatively easy to identify symptoms of worms in cats, and there is plenty of simple to administer treatment options. Here’s what you need to know about worms in cats:
How common is the problem?
There’s only so much that cat owners can do to protect their feline friends from potential health problems. You might not realise it, but worms in cats are quite a common problem. Thankfully, the consequences aren’t severe, and pet owners have an array of options.
The most common worms that affect cats are the intestinal types;
Roundworm eggs usually get passed through an infected cat’s faeces. Other cats can accidentally get infected by consuming those eggs, such as stepping on the eggs and licking their paws afterwards.
Tapeworms can infect cats if they accidentally eat infected fleas that carry the larval form of those worms. Some veterinary experts believe that cats consume almost half of all fleas present on their bodies during grooming.
Roundworms and tapeworms - and their eggs - can also get digested by cats in other ways. Examples include hunting animals infected by those worms, and kittens receiving milk from their mothers that are infested by worms.
What are the symptoms of worms in cats?
It’s relatively easy to spot the signs of worms in cats. The first thing you’ll notice is that your cat may have a change in habits, such as lethargy and weakness. Physical signs can include pot bellies in kittens, poor coat quality, and weight loss.
Other symptoms of tapeworm in cats and roundworms in cats include sickness and diarrhoea, and a sore bottom. If your feline friend has a lungworm infestation, you’ll notice they cough and wheeze a lot, and usually have a shortness of breath.
Another sure sign that your cat has a worm problem is when you find visible traces of worms in their faeces, around their anus, and even on their bedding.
How to treat worms in cats?
If you have strong suspicions that your furry friend might have worms, it’s important to note that you can take steps to treat the problem straight away. There are several options available, such as tablets, powders, pastes, and spot-on treatments.
The Time for Paws website has a selection of products suitable for treated infected cats and kittens. For instance, Panacur Granules are useful for treating gastrointestinal tapeworms and roundworms.
There’s also the Beaphar Worming Syrup. It’s ideal for safe and effective treatment of roundworms in kittens from two weeks of age onwards. It comes as a chocolate-flavoured syrup supplied in a pump dispenser for ease of use.
Can you prevent worm infestations in cats?
Cats, by their nature, are curious animals. As such, you’ll find it hard to stop them roaming around your local neighbourhood. Despite that fact, there are some steps to lessen the likelihood of your cat developing a worm problem.
One of the best things you can do is give your cat worming treatment regularly. Most products can be given to kittens and adult cats every month to six months - depending on the treatment used.
You can administer worming treatments in a variety of ways; some cats might be okay with crushed tablets mixed with their foods. Others may prefer a syrup or powder granules instead.
Aside from regular worming treatments, there are other steps you can take to lessen the likelihood of worm infestations. An obvious idea you can put into practice is maintaining a high level of hygiene in your home.
You should ensure that all floors are kept clean regularly and that you wash your cat’s bedding at high temperatures each week. Doing so will reduce the likelihood of fleas in your home, especially those that carry tapeworm larvae.
It also makes sense to wipe down surfaces using disinfectant sprays. For instance, the Petlife Formula H is an excellent anti-bacterial spray that is safe to use and effective on a variety of surfaces.
Be sure to clean surfaces that your cat frequents often, such as windowsills, tables, and kitchen countertops.