If your kitty has an active social life outdoors or is an extremely skilled hunter, he is at risk for getting worms. Eating rodents or birds he's caught or even coming in contact with a feline who has worms can be enough to infect your cat. Consult your vet for immediate treatment.
Different Types of Worms
The type of treatment that your cat's vet recommends will depend on the kind of worms he has. Tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms are the most common parasites to trouble a cat. You might notice little rice-like bits in your kitty's bed or on his fur near his hindquarters. That would indicate tapeworms. Roundworms, on the other hand, look more like what you would expect from a worm. If your cat throws up a small, white-ish coil, that's a clear case for roundworms. Slip any evidence of worms you can gather into a plastic sandwich bag and take it along to the vet to help her diagnose which kind of worm your cat has so that she can prescribe the proper treatment.
Treatment and Recovery Time Can Vary
There are a variety of treatments available for killing worms along with their eggs and larvae, some being "natural" remedies while others are prescription medications. The type of worms your cat has and the treatment option your vet prescribes will determine how long it takes your feline friend to recover. Most medications work in just a few days, but the doctor may advise you to continue giving the medication to your cat for up to two weeks just to be sure that the parasites are gone. And she'll want to do a follow-up exam three or four weeks after the treatment is complete to ensure that your kitty remains entirely worm-free.
It's important to get your cat into the vet immediately if he has worms because the tiny monsters can wreak havoc with his health. They're little bloodsuckers who also pirate the nutrients from your furry pal's food, causing issues like anemia, malnutrition, weight loss and even respiratory problems. Such symptoms in your cat might indicate a case of worms, so call the vet right away if you suspect it's a problem. The earlier your kitty is treated, the quicker he'll be rid of the parasites and the better his health will be.
You know the saying about an ounce of prevention. Stopping your cat from getting worms in the first place will save you both the trouble of dealing with the little creatures. House cats are easier to keep healthy because you can restrict their contact with other cats as well as infected soil. Plus, your strictly indoors kitty is less likely to go on a hunting excursion, although he could catch a mouse who has sneaked into your house. If your cat spends time outdoors, and especially if he is a known hunter, talk to your vet about prescribing him a preventative pill that will keep him from getting worms, even if he is exposed. These pills are typically given every three to four months, a task that's worth the few moments it takes to keep your kitty healthy and his innards worm-free.
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.
- VetInfo: What to do if Your Cat has Worms
- HealthyPet.com: Intestinal Parasites
- Bring Me Home! Cats Make Great Pets; Margaret H. Bonham
- The Natural Remedy Book for Dogs and Cats; Diane Stein
- The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Editors of Prevention Health Books
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.