Worms are more than just gross; they can severely affect the health and well-being of your kitten. Because preventing worms is easier and safer than treating them, it's essential to protect your kitten from roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and other dangerous parasites starting early in her life.
Treat adult cats in your household for worm infections to prevent their passing worms to your kitten. If your adult cat is pregnant, discuss medication options with your veterinarian.
Bring your newly adopted or recently born kitten to the veterinarian for a full examination. Your vet will check for evidence of existing worms and will make certain your kitty has no health conditions that may interfere with a worm preventative.
Speak with your veterinarian about whether or not your kitten should continue nursing if the mother cat is infected with roundworms. These worms are transmissible through milk during nursing, according to the ASPCA.
Clean the litter boxes in your home frequently. Not only will your house smell better, but your kitten's chances of being infected with worms will decrease. Worms and eggs can spread through contact with feces or contaminated litter boxes.
Keep your home and yard free of rodents, dead birds and other pests. These animals carry roundworms, tapeworms and lungworms, and your kitten may become infected if she ingests one of these pests.
Watch your kitten to ensure she is not eating the feces of other cats or animals. Many worms are transmissible via ingestion of feces, including hookworms. Hookworms can cause potentially fatal anemia in kittens.
Check your yard for snails and slugs, two garden pests known to carry lungworms. Snails and slugs are attractive prey to young kittens who are learning to hunt.
Treat your home, yard and animals for fleas. Fleas may act as hosts to some worms and transmit the parasites when biting your kitten, or when your kitten swallows them during grooming. The ASPCA recommends keeping kittens indoors to reduce their exposure to fleas, rodents and other hazards.
Use a worm preventative on your kitten as soon as she is old enough. Many parasite control products can be used as early as six weeks of age.
Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."