As a pet owner, deworming should be one of your top concerns whether you own dogs, rabbits, cats, or any mammals. When it comes to cats, kittens are more susceptible to worms than adult cats.
Now you might be thinking, what are worms? Worms, in this context, do not refer to your average dirt-eating garden variety worms. They are much smaller intestinal parasites that invade the body, lay eggs, and cause conditions like diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. Here’s everything you need to know about deworming cats on time to prevent this.
What Is Deworming?
Deworming is the process of administering an anthelmintic drug to cats by either mixing it in their food, administering them directly orally, or sometimes via injection to free them of parasitic worms.
Cats typically contract parasitic worms or eggs when they come into contact with infected feces or eat infected animals like cats and mice. They may also get them from rubbing their face in the soil outside. Outdoor cats are as prone to worms as indoor cats.
These are the 3 most common types of worms kittens and adult cats can suffer from:
Image source: Pinterest
Tapeworms are flatworms with a segmented body that typically live in animals’ intestines, although they can also be found in humans. They’re very small in their hatchling years but still large enough to be seen by the naked eye.
Adult tapeworms can grow as large as 80 feet in length and survive longer than 30 years. The experience of having tapeworms can be incredibly painful for your cat, with severe indigestion usually just being the beginning.
Tapeworms can get into your cat’s body if it eats the meat of other animals infected with tapeworms like a bird or a mouse.
Image source: Pinterest
Roundworms are a type of parasite that needs a host body to survive. They are the most common type of worm affliction for cats. They’re found more in tropical climates, varying in size from several millimeters to up to two meters if allowed to survive long enough.
Image source: Pinterest
Hookworms reside in the small intestine of animals and are a blood-feeding parasite. They have hooked mouthparts that allow them to latch onto the wall of the gut and drink blood. Hookworm infections are also very painful for cats and can lead to blood in the stool.
There are also a number of less commonly diagnosed worms that can infect cats and cause serious health problems:
#3. Liver flukes
#4. Stomach worms
#6. Bladder worms
Why You Need to Deworm Your Cat
Worms cause major annoyance for cats, and that’s usually just the beginning. If left untreated, they can cause excruciating pain and even threaten your cat’s life. Deworming your cat helps to get rid of the worms preemptively before they can cause any trouble. It’s one of the most important things for all pet owners to remember.
Kittens and aging cats are more fragile and compromised when it comes to all matters of health. So if you own a kitten or if your cat is very old, you should take extra care. Severe worm infections tarnish the quality of an animal’s life and rack up greater medical bills in the future.
How Can You Tell If Your Cat Has Worms? Symptoms
Worried your cat might have worms? Here are some signs and symptoms to check for that may indicate the presence of worms.
#1. Vomiting (Examine the vomit for worms)
#3. Presence of blood in stool
#4. Weight loss
#5. Distended abdomen
#6. Skin lesions
Over time, as the condition progresses, the symptoms can get much worse. If you observe any of the following symptoms, you need to book an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible:
#3. Paleness of lips and gums due to anemia
#4. Low blood pressure
How Are Worms in Cats Diagnosed?
The professional diagnosis of worms in cats is typically carried out by what’s called a fecal float test. It’s carried out by taking a sample of the stool and examining it under a microscope to check for worms or eggs.
Roundworms in the stool look like spaghetti and are visible to the naked eye, but hookworms are much smaller and look like white hairs.
Sometimes, cats may have worms but are yet to experience the symptoms, which is why veterinarians recommend getting this test done at least once a year. Early detection will help the vet treat your cat sooner.
How To Deworm Cats
Deworming Medicine For Cats
Deworming medicine is usually prescribed by veterinarians, depending on what kind of worms they find in your cat’s stool sample. There are a number of standard deworming medications available as well, which get to work at killing worms immediately.
Your vet will likely administer the first dose at the office and provide you with a deworming schedule to follow based on your cat’s age and pre-existing conditions.
If your cat is experiencing worms, taking it to a vet and allowing prescription medication is a must-do step that can’t be missed out on. After that, you may try some home remedies to help pacify your cat if it’s experiencing discomfort.
These foods are known to help combat worm infections and provide a number of health benefits:
#1. Pumpkin seeds
#4. Apple cider vinegar
During the first 3 weeks of age, kittens must undergo deworming treatment as prescribed by a veterinarian. A monthly schedule of heartworm medicine is recommended.
Adult cats need to receive worm preventatives on a monthly basis all year round. If it ever experiences a specific kind of worm, you need to have your cat diagnosed so you can find the right medicine for it.
Prevention of Worms in Cats Is Easier Than Treatment
Treating worms in cats is not only a painful and risky invasive surgery, but it also costs a lot of money. But that’s not all. If your cat comes into contact with other cats or their fecal matter, in the litterbox, for instance, they can spread the parasite and take other cats down too.
It’s much easier, cost-friendly, and above all less painful for your cat to take deworming medicine regularly rather than undergo this painful experience.
How Much Does Cat Deworming Cost?
The medicine itself is an oral treatment that costs between $3 and $18 a bottle. They can come in the form of syrup or pills. If you take your cat to a vet for deworming, which is recommended if you have a kitten, it can cost between $31 and $131.
How Long to Keep Cats Separated After Deworming?
It depends on the type of cat you have and the type of dewormer you’ve given it. Some medications get rid of worms in 24 hours, while some may take a few weeks. You need to keep your cats separated until they are free from all forms of parasites.
Can You Get Worms from Your Cat?
Yes, humans can contract tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms from cats. The chances of transmission are low but it is possible.