How to treat worms in nursing cats

Written by louise lawson
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How to treat worms in nursing cats
Mother cats should be wormed to prevent spreading parasites to her kittens. (kittens nursing / mother cat image by Katrina Miller from

Nursing cats require a higher level of care than non-lactating cats due to the added stress of raising a litter. Nursing females should be fed increased levels of protein, as well as being vaccinated to prevent passing illnesses on to her kittens. Worming is another essential factor in proper postnatal care and will keep both the female and her kittens healthy and free of worms.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Kitten-safe wormer
  • Canned cat food
  • Bleach

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  1. 1

    Schedule the mother and kittens for an appointment to be tested for worms. Worms in the female lie dormant in the mammary glands and are passed to the kittens while nursing, so treating both the female and her kittens is necessary. The vet will take stool samples and prescribe a kitten-safe wormer such as pyrantel pamoate or praziquantel.

  2. 2

    Administer the wormer according to your veterinarian's directions. Kittens should be dosed with quarter tablet for every 0.68 Kilogram of body weight at four weeks of age. The nursing female should be medicated at the same dosage four weeks postpartum. Crush the pills and mix with a spoonful of canned cat food to encourage the cats to eat them.

  3. 3

    Worm the female and kittens again when the kittens are six weeks old, with a third dose given at eight weeks of age. Nursing females are especially prone to worms because the stress of birth and nursing lowers antibodies in the bloodstream needed to fight off infestations. Worms reproduce approximately every two weeks, so worming more than once is necessary to kill existing adults and the eggs they lay after mating.

  4. 4

    Clean litter boxes twice a day to prevent the spread of worms. It is important to remove faeces as soon as possible to prevent adult worms and larvae from being transmitted to healthy cats. Wash litter boxes weekly in a solution of 50 per cent bleach and 50 per cent water to kill any remaining parasites.

Tips and warnings

  • Most nursing cats and kittens are healthy enough to be wormed at home. If your cats are extremely week or suffer from existing medical conditions, they should only be wormed by your veterinarian.
  • Never give more than the recommended dose of wormer. Most wormers are made from chemical pesticides that can be harmful if given in large quantities.

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