Humans aren’t the only ones plagued by worms. Your darling pets are involved in the problem equally and for them, it can be more devastating to their health which is why you need to take the issue of deworming seriously.
Having pets comes with the responsibility of taking care of them and if you have a cat, worms can make life miserable for her which will you’ll definitely notice with glaring unhealthy symptoms.
It can lead to the death of the cat if the condition goes unchecked. These worms can go as far as affecting the kitten for a pregnant cat and for most kittens affected by worms, they live for a very short time since their immune system is typically weak.
Cats can become victims of worms when they feed on contaminated food from the ground whether indoors or outdoors. For outdoor cats, they can be plagued by more than one kind of worm since they are often exposed to dirt.
Most of them could be infected by roundworms when they take food from lawns or muddy areas.
Your cat will react to the effect of being infected by worms and will do so by constantly vomiting or stooling, sum it up essentially as diarrhea. That’s a basic symptom however, more will be revealed in the preceding texts.
What Is a Cat Dewormer
A cat dewormer is a medication that is administered to cats either as a preventive measure against worms or as a therapeutic measure against worms. Cat de-wormers can take the form of pills or tablets which are ingested by the cat orally, or they could take the form of paste, injection or de-worming pipette.
For the most part, the cat de-wormer is used to kill parasitic worms in the digestive system of a cat but the preventive measure will always be a great option than treatment.
Benefits of Using a Cat De-wormer
Primarily, the major aim of using a cat de-wormer is to help kill the parasite in the digestive tract of the worm and further prevent it from causing severe damage to the entire system of the cat which can be the case for frail kittens.
If you de-worm your cats when you should, then you would have worms as the least of things to worry about when the health of your cat is brought up. By de-worming, you halt the activities of the parasite in the digestive system of your cat while keeping your cat safe and out of harm’s way.
Your family, kids and other pets are also protected when your cat is safe. Having a cat sickened by worms can affect the family and especially kids because they are very sensitive to such kind of health challenges and they can easily gain contact with the parasite and have a similar problem.
Overall, the benefit of de-worming your cat is to keep her safe from all the health challenges that having a worm sitting on their intestinal tract can bring to the table.
How Does it Work?
There are different kinds of worms that can affect a cat. From roundworm to hookworm and from tapeworm to lungworm and even heartworm.
The way the de-wormer works is by inhibiting the growth of resident worms by providing a toxic environment for them to thrive whenever the cat ingests the de-wormer or it is administered to her via injections.
De-wormers don’t follow a specific pattern in their workings. Some may work faster than others, depending on the brand and degree of infestation. It is important to be certain that your cat is infested by worms which is why you watch out for symptoms.
The reason is that some cat de-wormers are too reactive and they need to be taken when there is a problem, if your cat is not suffering from anything related to parasitic worms and you administer the drug to her, it could lead to some unhealthy situations for the cat.
Types of Intestinal Parasites
There are a number of parasites that can call the intestines of your cat home and use that platform to frustrate the life out of your dear cat. Some of the major ones and their symptoms include:
Tapeworms are radical worms. Tapeworms and roundworms are the most common types of parasitic worms that can infest a cat. They are transmitted by fleas when the said fleas ingest the parasite eggs from feces and then go ahead to bite your cat. The eggs of a tapeworm are visible to the naked eye as you can spot them in feces.
They take the shape of grains of rice. These dangerous worms attach themselves to the large intestines of your cat the same way they do with humans and compete for nutrients.
They are very greedy in nature and so the bulk of the nutrients your cat receives goes to them, causing the poor cat to look impoverished and malnourished. This can affect both older cats and kittens. If you want to control tapeworm infestation, you need to keep up with flea control.
Symptoms of Tapeworms Infestation
Most times, the symptoms might not be too glaring but you should watch out for these:
- Little segments of the tapeworm will be visible around the bottom of the cat and some can cling unto the fur around the area. Remember they look like grains of rice.
- Increased appetite
- The cat will consistently scratch it’s bottom and will always want to keep it clean
- Weight loss
- Consistent vomiting
Another common intestinal parasitic worm found in cats is the roundworm. It is long and round and takes the shape of a noodle but the end is sharp which serves as a hook for it’s parasitic activities. Just like tapeworms, cats can have them in their system when they ingest the eggs of a roundworm.
Roundworms aren’t visible to the naked eyes of humans but can be found with the aid of a microscope in the feces of a cat with the parasite. Keeping your cats indoors can help you prevent them from contaminating the parasite but beyond that, they need to be de-wormed regularly to keep them safe.
Symptoms of Roundworm Infestation
- Weight loss
- Appetite change
- Weakness or lethargy
- Swollen belly
They are rare but make the deadliest amongst parasitic worms. You should be wary of them and keep your environment clean to avoid their infestation. They are more deadly because they don’t feed on the nutrients of the cat, they feed on their blood via the small intestine, and lack of sufficient blood for the cat can lead to anemia.
For kittens, death is inevitable since they are very tender and vulnerable. Some cats that have been victims of hookworms might have some level of immunity over the parasites and might mask the symptoms. A cat can play host to the parasite via ingestion of it’s eggs, by larva penetration of the skin or by drinking contaminated water.
The possibility is higher for outdoor cats who roam about and in the course of it, they step on infected soils or sand. They are not visible to the naked eyes and can only be seen with aid of a microscope.
Symptoms of Hookworm Infestation
- Lesions on the bottom of the cat’s feet in between toes
- Chronic coughs
- Dark stools
- Constipation and diarrhea
- Change of appetite (poor appetite)
- Unhealthy appearance (pale appearance)
Another rare kind of worm is the lungworm which as the name implies, targets the lungs of the cat for serial damage. Your cat can be infected with lungworms when they drink contaminated water or feed on any prey with the larval stage of the worm.
The larva then rises from the intestine and travels to the lung using the bloodstream as a pathway. When it arrives at the lungs of the cat, it settles there and matures into an adult worm which then continues reproduction by laying of eggs in the lungs.
This cycle is a continuous process as the cat will cough up the eggs or excrete it out in feces for other animals to get infected by it and probably other cats too if you have more than one.
These worms in the lungs of the cat are lethal since they can create breathing challenges for the cat. The lung problems if not checked can degenerate into more severe cases like pneumonia, fluid build-up in the lungs and other extreme conditions.
Symptoms of Lungworm Infestation
- Severe coughing caused by the worm larvae obstructing the airways and leading to breathing challenges
- Weight loss in most cases
- Nose bleeding
- Poor appetite
- Poor blood clotting
- Uncontrolled bleeding from minor injuries or cuts
Types of Treatments
De-worming your cat can be done in two ways. You can either work through the chemical path or you go all natural. Both are potent in their activities. Let’s start with the chemical means.
If you want to treat your beloved cat through chemical means, the following options below are available for you.
- Pyrantel Pamoate
Praziquantel is a type of chemical medication used to treat cats infested with tapeworm. Its potency is not limited to tapeworm, it can be used for other animals. It is common in the vet world and prominent for its profound worm expelling power.
This drug can be taken orally or injected into the cat, both ways are effective. When taken, the drug is absorbed and metabolized in the liver of the cat before being excreted via the bile duct. In the digestive tract of the host cat, the tapeworm has it’s presence there and it resists digestion, upon entering into the digestive tract, praziquantel weakens the tapeworm’s power to resist digestion in the digestive tract of the host.
When this happens, the digestive system of the cat can then digest the tapeworm and part of it will be visible in the cat’s feces at the end of the treatment process. Some common side effects include facial swelling, pale gums, vomiting, cold limbs and more.
These side effects, however, are seen if the cat is allergic to the medication. Your vet doctor should be invited at this point to proffer a solution. The dosage always come with the drug pack, so be sure to follow it to the latter.
This is another form of chemical medication for expelling parasites in cats. It is famed for treating hookworms and roundworms in both cats and dogs when they get infested by the parasite via ingestion from the soil of feces. This medication is exclusive to hookworms and roundworms. It shouldn’t be used for tapeworms.
It can however be combined with other medications used for de-worming to obtain optimal results. The pyrantel medication works by immobilizing the hookworms and roundworms so that they can be crushed and excreted out from your cat’s body via their feces or in rare cases they could pass out by vomiting.
The medication has no side effects safe for vomiting in rare cases. It can be administered to nursing and pregnant mothers which is safe and recommended since the parasite can affect an unborn kitten. The prescribed dosage stated in the pack should be followed to the latter taking into consideration all the precautions like storing it in a cool dry room or at room temperature.
This de-worming medication is for roundworms which is a common worm among pets and in this case here – cats. Piperazine is chemically structured in a way that it can attack the nervous system of roundworm parasites resident in the intestines of your dear cat.
With this attacking system, the entire structure of the parasitic roundworm in the intestine of your cat is destroyed and made to pass out through the cat’s feces. Piperazine doesn’t actually kill the parasite but targets it’s nervous system which in turn leads to their extinction from your cat’s intestinal tract.
The medication is available in tablets and can as well be included in your cat’s meal if the cat shies away from medications. Follow the prescribed dosage accordingly and within two to three weeks, your cat should be free of the parasite. There are a few side effects that will be noticeable in the cat. The most common side effects are diarrhea, vomiting and unusual gait.
You can ditch the chemical route and go all-natural in treating your worm-plagued cat. They also come as a cheaper option if you are low on object since the materials you will be needing can be found around you, call them home remedies.
You can still purchase a well manufactured de-wormer from a pet store that was made with all of its ingredients sourced from nature and no chemical additives. Here are some of the options you’ll be looking at:
Garlic and Pumpkin Seed
Garlic is a powerful parasite killer and can be used to treat your cat’s illness although it is commonly known for being used as a preventative therapy in cases like this. All you need do is ground the garlic and combine a little of it with your cat’s food.
Your cat might be turned off by the scent which is why you need to add little of it and with time you can increase it. This should be done once a day to your cat’s food. You can also utilize raw pumpkin seeds for de-worming. Just grind the seeds and add a quarter cup of it to your cat’s food each day. It is effective against tapeworms.
Starve the Life out of the Parasite
Most parasites can’t live without food, so if you subject your cat to a fast you can get rid of the parasite. A day fast is enough to kill the parasites and that won’t compromise on the health of your cat. You can do this once a week and try it out the following week to be sure the parasites are totally gone.
What Makes a Great Cat De-wormer
While you go shopping for cat de-wormers, there are some features you should look out for which are qualities of a great cat de-wormer. Getting a cat de-wormer is one thing and getting the right one is different.
You don’t want to go home with a cat de-wormer that gulps two whooping weeks to take care of the worms plaguing your cat. So here are some of the qualities you should look out for if you are aiming at going home with a great cat-de-wormer.
Most cat de-wormers can come with adverse effects in the long run. You need to be sure the side effects are not too serious and at best – negligible.
Watch for the common side effects contained in the medication’s description like lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea. If what you are seeing is more serious than these side effects, then you need to reconsider that option.
Ease of Usage
Most of the pills aren’t pet friendly and your pets can be cranky with them. Find a cat de-wormer that is pet friendly and enticing enough for your cat to consume. It will be wasteful to get a cat de-wormer that your pet won’t take.
How effective is the cat de-wormer? Some can give you results in hours, some in days and some in a couple of weeks. Will your cat still continue to display symptoms of parasitic infestation after taking the treatment? Or will it be completely free of infections? These are questions that you should answer before getting a cat de-wormer.
Some de-wormers address specific needs, while some are versatile in their action. A great de-wormer most times can be specific with the kind of worm it expels and that should be your best bet. This doesn’t mean that the medications that are active in terminating all kinds of pet worms aren’t potent enough but specialization is always akin to extreme potency.
Does Spending More Means More Quality
It’s your cat’s health we are talking about here. You shouldn’t be too pained to spend a little extra to get it fixed once and for all. Spending more means you’ll be getting premium quality and although you can come to a reasonable compromise with some fairly cheap ones, spending more will always give you the best.
Good Ingredients to Look Out For in a Cat De-Wormer
There are prime or essential ingredients that make a great cat de-wormer. These ingredients make them powerful, easy to use and reduce side effects. Two ingredients are paramount in cat de-wormers.
- Praziquantel which immobilizes the parasites and causes them to pass out through the feces of the cat and
- Piperazine which attacks the nervous system of the parasites and terminates them.
How to Prevent the Worms in the First Place
Preventative measures will always beat treatments. Here are some measures you should take to prevent parasites from attacking your cat.
- Limit their outdoor movement
- Ensure rodents and fleas are extinct in your home because they are carriers
- Keep your home clean at all times
- Check your cat’s feces once in a while for symptoms
How to Use a Cat De-wormer
When it narrows down to usage, adhering to the instructions on the pack of the medication is of utmost importance. Some can be taken as tablets, some are in liquid form while some can be injected.
Whichever is the case, be sure to administer accordingly to your pet. If there is any confusion along the line, your veterinary doctor should be summoned immediately for clarity sake.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of worms in cats?
Symptoms can vary from diarrhea to vomiting and from weight loss to appetite change.
When can you deworm your cat?
When you notice the symptoms in your cat and your vet doctor confirms that there is indeed a parasitic infection in the said cat.
How many times does a cat need to be dewormed?
Ideally, most dosages demand that you repeat them twice a week for effectiveness.
Can humans get worms from their infected cats
The possibility of this cannot be ruled out entirely. If you handle your pet feces without gloves, there are chances that you might get infected and when your kids step on the feces of infected cats, they are likely going to contact the parasitic infection.
When cats get infested, they manifest symptoms that are unhealthy and tend to be shadows of themselves. As a pet owner, it is important that you initiate urgent measures to restore back to normalcy, the health challenge of your pet.
De-worming is key and with all the precautions and dosages followed to the latter, the problem at hand will be a thing of the past.
Photos from: VitalikRadko / depositphotos.com, animaxx3d / depositphotos.com, katerynakon / depositphotos.com.
Big pet lover and a dog training and behavior expert who loves to share his knowledge and experience. Happy owner of two amazing dogs Labrador Bela and Jack Russell Terrier Piksi and one cuddly cat Tom.
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