Worms are a common problem for the house-cat but are easily treated if caught quickly. Worms can seriously affect a cat's health and lead it to become malnourished or ill. It is also important to treat a cat's worms as some types of worm can be hazardous to humans. Humans can contract tapeworm from cats, but this is rare, as it requires that the tapeworm is ingested. A rarer form of tapeworm called "echinococcus" can be more dangerous, and infection from this type can also be transmitted to humans, although it is rare.
Identify the type of worm in your cat's stools. Tapeworms look like dots of white rice in a cat's faeces and can often be seen wriggling in the stool. Identifying the correct type of worm is important, as cats are prone to many different types of parasite and correct treatment will be based on which variety it is. It is advisable to have your cat's veterinarian test the cat's stool to eliminate the possibility of other worms being present. Also look out for the cat rubbing its behind on the carpet or furniture, being constantly hungry, or having a bloated belly.
Deworm your cat from a young age to prevent the development of worms. Worm tablets can be bought from any pet shop and can be useful in the treatment of common worms. Tapeworms and whipworms, however, tend to be quite resistant to over-the-counter worming tablets, so you may need to have a stronger variety prescribed by a veterinarian. If you are unsure as to which type of worm you are dealing with, bring your cat to the veterinarian.
Put a flea collar on your cat to prevent it from getting fleas. Fleas are the carrier of the feline tapeworm, and tapeworms develop when the cat ingests a flea it has been biting at on its body. If your cat already has fleas, treat it with flea powder. Be sure to wash their bedding at a high temperature to destroy any remaining fleas. If the fleas remain resistant to treatment, a veterinarian may prescribe tablets or another treatment.
Do not allow your cat to hunt rodents, as these are often the carrier of roundworm and the second type of tapeworm which may be infectious to humans.
Bury or bag cat faeces to prevent any transference of infection to humans.
Tips and warnings
- Bury or bag cat faeces to prevent any transference of infection to humans.
- Hartz Ultra Guard: How to Treat Your Cat for Intestinal Parasites
- Pawprints and Purrs, Inc: Feline Tapeworm Infection
- Get Rid of Things: How to Get Rid of Worms
- Cat World: Tapeworms in Cats - Signs, Causes, & Treatment of Cat Tapeworm
- The Pet Center: Fleas On Dogs and Cats and What You Can Do About Them