The first cleanliness move you should make is picking up all the cat’s bedding. Then, you should use hot water to launder it while using a laundry detergent. You can either hang the beddings to dry or dry them using your dryer. Since the cat may have interacted with household items, get all the upholstered furniture and carpeted floors vacuumed. All these moves will help to remove segments and eggs of the worms. The last thing you should do is wash all your beddings since the cat may have had access to it.
This article will guide you on how you can check your cat for worms. On top of that, you will be advised on how to eliminate roundworms, which are the most common worms that affect cats. In the end, you will know about the other parasites (outside worms). Stick around till the end.
Cats And Wormy Worms
Whether you spend your time outside or live an exclusive indoor life, your pet cat can involuntarily become a host to an internal parasite such as a tapeworm, a hookworm, and a roundworm. More often than not, kittens pick worms from their mother’s milk. On the other hand, adults get them from eating vermin with a worm infestation or ingesting the worms by accident.
Since it is easy for a cat to get the worms, it is good that you get the warning signs. This will help you to get a vet’s help early on. If the worms are left untreated, you are looking at dealing with a potbellied cat or one with a dull coat. You have nothing to fear because worms rarely make cats unwell to a severe degree. With the right worming medication, dealing with worms in cats is a relatively fair job. With some information, it is easy for you to know if you have worms.
Part A: Checking For The Wormy Symptoms
1. You Should Check The Cat’s Coat To See If There Are Any Changes.
Usually, the fur of a cat is lustrous. If the cat has a worm infestation, you might see the coat bearing a flat or a dull look. This lack of a shine points to the low nutrient absorption and the dehydration stemming from the infection.
2. Look In The Inside Of The Cat’s Mouth To Check Its Gums.
If the cat is healthy, its gums will be pink – just like ours. If you see that the feline’s gums are either white or pale, it could be that the cat is anemic. The most common prognosis for the color change of the cat’s gums is a parasitic infection.
For you to check the cat, you should sit it next to you or on your lap. Then, grasp the cat’s head behind the ears, under the jaw, and in your hands. Then, lift the upper lip’s flap to expose the teeth. If you see that the gums are pale, contact the vet soonest possible.
3. Now, Focus On The Shape And Form Of The Cat’s Fecal Matter
It will be easier to do this if your cat does its business in a litter box. Once you are near the samples, watch for any of these symptoms:
a. If the stools are tarry and dark, it could be blood loss. This may be the case if there are hookworms attached to the intestine’s walls.
b. If the stool pieces are the diarrhea kind, it could be that worms have occupied the space in this gut. This translates to an interference with the digestion of the cat’s food. If the cat has severe diarrhea – the kind that lasts for more than 24 hours – you should get your pet cat to the vet as soon as you can.
4. Watch And See If The Cat Is Vomiting
Among cats, vomiting is a common thing. However, if it happens frequently, you need to see a vet. Vomiting could be a sign of some health problems and, in the case of this article, a worm infestation.
Vomiting can happen due to worms when the microorganisms irritate the lining of the stomach or block outflow to the cat’s stomach.
5. Give Particular Focus To The Eating Habits Of Your Cat
If the cat is dealing with a high burden of worms, it could lose its appetite. A worm infestation takes up a lot of space in the stomach, inflames the bowel lining, and causes stomach aches.
6. Look At The Shape And Form Of The Feline’s Body To Detect Any Changes
As mentioned previously, a cat that is dealing with worms might have a potbelly. If you look at its abdominal area, you will see that it is swollen.
Like the vomiting phenomenon, the swelling of the abdomen could point to something other than a worm issue. Nonetheless, you should take the feline to the vet once you notice the problem.
7. Observe The Cat For Any Signs Of Fatigue And Lethargy
If the worms in the system are picking out nutrition from the cat’s bowel, the feline will appear listless, lack zeal and energy, lethargic. Keep an eye on the cat’s mannerisms to ensure that you note the dramatic changes.
As this symptom could point to many other ailments (and not a worm infestation alone), it would be best to get the cat some medical attention. Since you know the cat’s normal behavior and energy level, you should notice if the feline’s playfulness goes down.
Part B: Looking For Any Evidence Of A Worm Infestation
1. Look At The Cat’s Fecal Matter To See If You Can Pick Out Any Worm Eggs
Before you handle the cat’s stool, you should ensure that you don some gloves. On top of that, get something disposable, such as a popsicle stick. You should use it to scoop the fecal matter that you will examine. As you check the samples, here are some things that you should have in mind:
1. If you’re dealing with tapeworms, those might leave packets of eggs on the stool’s surface. You will notice that they look like cucumber or sesame seeds. Also, they may move or wriggle.
2. You may not see a whole tapeworm on the fecal matter of the cat. If you do, however, you will notice that the worms are cream-colored and flat. Also, they have many segments. A mature tapeworm can be as long as 60 centimeters, or 2 feet.
3. If you are dealing with roundworms, you are unlikely to notice their eggs – they are a little too tiny to be spotted by the naked eye. However, the worms may be vomited up by the cat or pass through the fecal matter. You will know that you’re dealing with a roundworm if you see a spaghetti-looking worm (smooth and long) whose diameter is similar to that of a pasta strand. An adult, mature roundworm will be anything between 3 and 6 inches in length.
You wouldn’t see any eggs if you were dealing with a hookworm. Likewise, a mature hookworm is merely 2 or 3 millimeters long. This means that this worm can go undetected and needs microscopy to be ruled in or out.
2. Look At The Anus Or Around The Anal Area Of The Cat
If tapeworms are the issues of concern, you will likely find some evidence in the anal area. The egg packets laid by tapeworms often move out of the feline’s anus and cling onto the cat’s fur. So, if you see creamy-white looking packets of sesame-seed looking kind of eggs, you can confidently conclude that you’re dealing with tapeworms.
3. Take A Keen Look At The Favorite Spots Of The Cat And Its Beddings
Sometimes, the egg packets may get stuck on the areas that the cat has sat on. These include soft furniture and bedding. If you suspect that the cat is dealing with a worm infestation, it will help if you checked those areas.
Most Common Worm For Cats – The Roundworm – And How To Eliminate It
Among the many parasites, the roundworm is a common one that infects cats. A cat may pick it from another cat through soil or feces and the milk given to a kitten by its mother. Many of the cats dealing with a roundworm infection may not show any symptoms. However, a keen owner may notice a worm here and another there when looking at the cat’s fecal matter. As a medication, you can either use topical or oral medication to deal with the roundworm infection. This, of course, has to come after you talk to a vet.
Part A: Giving Worming Medications To The Cat
1. Get A Deworming Infection That Lasts For At Least A Fortnight
In this sub-section, the focus is on the treatment forms called anthelmintic medicine. They work by stunning the adult roundworms, thus causing them to pass into the stool of your cat. When that happens, they die. The one thing you should know is that the anthelmintic medications do not kill the larvae or the eggs. So, you are supposed to repeat the medication several times. Here are some points to note as you get the treatment for the cat:
1. Your vet should be able to tell you the frequency of medication. While most of the medicines are based on prescriptions, the expert may suggest that you get an over-the-counter version with piperazine as an active ingredient.
2. If you are dealing with kittens, you should know that not all worming medications are appropriate for them. Ensure that the doctor knows the age of your cat.
3. Also, ensure that the dosage given matches the weight of the cat.
4. If yours is an outdoor cat, the expert may suggest that you regularly dose it.
2. Get The Cat Wrapped Up In A Towel To Ensure That It Remains Stable During The Delivery Of The Medication
You can get someone to help you wrap a towel around the cat and have the feline on a table. The person who comes to assist should have one of their arms around the cat’s back; this is supposed to prevent the cat from escaping. Then, grab the head of the cat (behind its eyes). You can achieve that by wrapping your more dominant hand around the feline’s head. You will then feel a bony thing there. As you proceed, here are some noteworthy things:
a. Get deworming medication that has tasteless and odorless fenbendazole. Since it won’t be conspicuous, you can mix the medicine with the cat’s wet food. The cat will have the drug without really knowing that it had it.
b. To immobilize the cat, you can scruff it by grabbing on the skin at its neck’s back. Then, pull the skin you have gathered backward. This entire time, your thumb should and must be between the ears of the cat.
3. Drop The Medication – Liquid Or Pill – In.
Take the cat’s head and lift it upwards to drop the jaw of the cat down. Then, use a finger and go into the very front side of the cat’s mouth. Get the pill dropped into the back of the feline’s mouth. To get the kitty to swallow, you should close its mouth and get ahold of it. Then, blow into the feline’s nose or rub its throat gently.
a. If the cat doesn’t want to swallow, you can tilt its back.
b. If you are delivering liquid medication, you can put the syringe into the side of the cat’s mouth. Then, push to unload the medicine at the back.
4. Alternatively, Give The Cat A Single Dose Of Revolution, Which Is A Topical Medication
Revolution is a drug that treats not only roundworms but also ear mites, ticks, and fleas. You will only need a single dose since it will last for about a month. However, do not make any moves without talking to your vet. Revolution can only be gotten via prescription.
Part B: The Clean-Up Moves To Make
1. Use Soapy And Hot Water To Wash The Bedding Of The Cat
At this moment, it is assumed that the cat is infected. As noted and advised in the primer, it is essential to wash all the cat’s beddings as they may be having roundworm eggs. If you’re using a laundry machine, set it to the highest setting and turn its dryer on hot. Before you make this move, ensure that the fabric making the bedding can withstand the heat.
2. Get The Cat’s Water And Food Dishes Disinfected
These items may be having traces of worms or eggs, so you need to scrub them thoroughly. You may use soap and hot water and then use a pet-safe disinfectant to ensure it is clean. You can get the disinfectant at pet stores or online.
3. Do A Thorough Cleaning Of The Feline’s Litterbox
If the prognosis is that the cat had roundworms, the eggs or the worms could still be in pieces of the fecal matter. So, dispose of the droppings in the box in a place where humans and other pets cannot get to them. Then, use hot water and soap to wash the box. Like the food and water dishes, you can complete the cleaning with a disinfectant.
4. Take Care Of Your Cleanliness
Roundworms can live in places like the soil before they get a host. So, if you are a gardening enthusiast, ensure that you scrub your hands before handling the cat. While it may be an obvious thing to wash your hand after gardening, you should be extra cautious if you are a cat owner.
Also, you should wash well after handling the feline’ litterbox. Use warm water and soap and do the scrubbing for around 20 seconds.
Bonus Section – Other Parasites That Affect Cats
Like many other animals, cats can be hosts of both external and internal parasites. None of those parasites are good, and that is why cat owners should know everything about them. This section is fashioned for that sole purpose. In the end, you will learn about other parasites – both external and internal – and how to prepare against them.
These insects are part of the arachnid family, meaning that they are related to the spider. However, you wouldn’t know that because they do not look like spiders. These mites are a little too small, and it would be difficult to tell if your cat has been bitten by it or not. To see a mite, you need to employ the services of a microscope.
The one thing you should know is that mites affect different parts of the body of a cat. To keep your feline from getting bites from mites and the mites themselves, it would help if you went for preventative medication. However, you may need to get them administered to the cat every month.
Although arguable, fleas are the most common external parasites that affect most pets. While ticks may be easy to notice on other animals’ bodies, they may go undetected on cats. This is because cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves fastidiously.
Fleas infest environments easily and rapidly. They take blood meals from the felines, and in that case, they reproduce quickly. This means that they get to a point where it is challenging to eradicate them. You can use some topical medication together with powders and sprays to treat a flea infestation. For pets, however, you need to use preventative medications to stop the flea from causing many problems.
Ctenocephalides felis¸ or the cat flea can transmit severe parasites and diseases. This is on top of the loss of hair and itching that the felines will experience. Although uncommon, a cat can also be infected by the Ctenocephalides canis, the dog flea. This non-cat flea has parasites that can get transmitted to felines.
Ticks are larger than mites and fleas in terms of size. These external parasites latch and attach to the coat of a cat to feed on its blood. Ticks are carriers of many diseases, but as a cat owner, you should have nothing to worry about. This is because there are preventative medications you can use to ensure that the ticks are off the cat. Depending on the location that the cat resides, there are different types of ticks that it can get.
Tick-borne and tick diseases such as tick paralysis are also other problems that come with these external parasites. Tick infections can be treated using various medications. However, there are many tick-borne illness types that cats cannot be cured of. This is why a cat owner needs to get frequent tick preventatives for their feline.
These worms –transmitted through the bite of a mosquito – commonly affect canines more than they do felines. This means that cats are not of their punishment. Also known as Dirofilaria immitis, heartworms are internal parasites that cannot be seen by the naked eye without the help of a microscope. In cats, heartworms go undetected. The reason behind this is that cats have between one or three heartworms when an infection comes up. Sometimes, the cat’s system may not have any adult worms.
During microscopy heartworm tests, laboratory technicians look for a particular type of protein known as the adult female heartworm antigens. So, if the tests come back negative, it could be that there are not heartworms or the ones present are too immature to give off the antigen.
These immature worms have the potential of causing a lot of severe damage to a cat’s respiratory system. These complications may lead to a fatality. Although there is no treatment for cat heartworm disease, you should use preventative medications as they are very effective.
In cats, the Cuterebra (botfly larvae) goes by the name warbles. Although there are varied larvae species, they all do the same thing; they burrow into the skin of the feline involves and cause swelling to happen. When the larvae are large and mature enough, it erupts from the swelling and leaves a hole in the feline’s skin. When this happens, the owner may see the larvae in the hole and remove it. Sometimes, the larvae in the hole may even need surgical removal. After the swelling happens, the area could be inflamed, leading to an abscess that may need cleaning and medication to manage the infection.