A female cat having kittens is known as the Queen and the way we wait on some of cats would have them believe they are Royalty. Regardless of how regal they may seem, cats can carry worms and kissing your pet on their fur or head can lead to the transfer of worms to people.
Nobody likes to talk about it but intestinal worms can be a big problem for your cat. There are lots of ways that your cat can get worms. It is also important to understand that you and your family can also become infected by some of these worms so prevention is essential. Two of the main worms are flea tapeworm and zipper tapeworm although there are others that your pet may also become infected with. Interestingly, tapeworms are obligate parasites meaning the adult stage cannot survive away from the host. They are zoologically classified in the Phylum Platyhelminthes (flat worms) and Subphylum Cestoda.
The biting and irritation that our pets endure from adult fleas aren’t the only problem that this annoying pest can cause for pets. The adult flea actually plays an important role in the lifecycle of the flea tapeworm. Part of the tapeworm’s lifecycle develops in the gut of the flea. Cats commonly ingest many fleas as part of the grooming process and when this occurs ingested flea is broken down in the gut of the cat and a tapeworm develops in the animal’s intestine.
The flea tapeworm can grow up to 50cm in length but it is rare to see one of this size. Classic signs that your cat may have one is small segments about the size of a grain of rice around the cats bottom or in the cat faeces in the litter tray.
The Zipper tapeworm
The other 2 tapeworms that occur in cats Spirometra erinacei and Taenia taeniaeformis (commonly known as Zipper tapeworm due to their zipper like appearance). Cats are natural hunters and outdoor cats are more prone to these worms as a part of the worm’s life cycle lives in the rodents, lizards and other wildlife.
Cats rarely show any symptoms of zipper tapeworm, but when they have a heavy load may vomit them up.
How often do I need to worm my cat?
Cats should be wormed every 3 months and in at 2 weeks, 4 weeks and 12 weeks in kittens. If your female cat is pregnant then you need to worm her prior to giving birth to the kittens.
Worming will only kill adult worms that are present in the intestine of the cat at the time of worming and this is why regular treatment is essential. Especially if your cat is superstar mouse catcher.
What should I worm my cat with?
There are tablets and there are spot on worm treatments. If you have a kitten, then you can train it to accept a tablet from a young age. Crushing up the tablet in small amount of palatable wet food can also help but no other food should be offered during this time. You may also find a pill popper useful in assisting you to administer a worming tablet.
If you have an adult cat or one that just isn’t good with tablets then you can use Profender spot on treatment which treats all worms and simply applied to the neck of your cat.
Remember animals can pass on more than love to us including worms so follows these tips when you’ve been with your pet.
- Wash your hands after playing, grooming or patting your pet. This helps to prevent accidently ingesting any worm eggs that may be present on the animal’s coat.
- Remember that worm eggs can survive for long periods of time in the soil so were gloves or wash your hand well after working in the garden.
- As hard as it is to resist, avoid kissing your pet or allowing it to lick you on the face.
- Keep the litter tray clean and clean up pet waste from the backyard to limit the amount of contact between the animals and their waste.
- Ensure that all animals in the house are wormed at the same time.
- Keep fleas under control throughout the year.
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