Roundworms are a disgusting reality most cat owners must face at least once, and deal with the spaghetti-like corpses in the litter box after treatment. These wiggly intruders can cause more than just digestive issues for your cat, as the larvae can blind him if they settle in his eye.
Down The Hatch
Because of the ease of contracting this squirmy parasite, many kittens are infected while still in the womb and are born with the nasty parasites. Initial infection in adults requires the ingestion of roundworm eggs, and cats end up eating the eggs through infected prey animals, or from grooming after walking through tainted soil. Once inside its preferred host, the roundworm egg hatches and releases a larvae that will mature in a few weeks, ready to feed and breed to perpetuate the cycle.
Before settling down to pop out a few dozen kids in your cat's intestines, roundworm larvae travel the world, so to speak, by roaming around inside your cat. They pass through muscle, tissues and other organs in their wandering, which can cause damage to these sensitive parts in the process. The delicate tissue of the eye is not safe from their voyage, and some larvae could stay in the eye as they mature. Eyeballs are not meant for habitation, and the squatting worms can cause nerve damage or blindness.
Cats are notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to any pain or discomfort, not to mention they are quick adapters to new situations, so you may not even notice any difference in his eyesight. You may eventually notice him sticking close to walls and other furniture, as he uses his whiskers as a cane to guide him around the house. He may bump into things, especially if you move furniture to unfamiliar places. His eye may appear cloudy or you may actually see worms squirming inside.
Life Goes On
There is no treatment for roundworm-caused blindness, and regular checks and deworming routines are the only way to prevent the wiggly intruders from causing your cat problems. The good news is that blindness should not negatively affect your cat's life. His other senses will allow him to maneuver his world with little problems, so long as you don't confuse him by rearranging the furniture frequently. Give him lots of toys with bells to encourage play, and talk gently as you approach to avoid startling him.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Jane Williams began her writing career in 2000 as the writer and editor of a nationwide marketing company. Her articles have appeared on various websites. Williams briefly attended college for a degree in administration before embarking on her writing career.