It’s easy to keep your cat happy and healthy. Give her snacks, snuggles, and lots of playtime, and she’ll love you forever. But, what a lot of people forget about is keeping their fluff’s parasites in check. Because of that, it’s important to know how often to deworm cats.
Don’t worry. Worms aren’t something you should stress about. They’re extremely common in felines. In fact, most of our furry friends pick them up sooner or later. Because of that, it’s important to make sure your kitty is protected from these unpleasant parasites by deworming her regularly.
Deworming your cat isn’t only crucial for your kitty’s health, but it keeps your loved ones safe, too. So, how do kitties get these nasty parasites, what are the benefits of deworming them and how often should you do it? Here’s everything you need to know.
How do cats get worms?
First of all, let’s see how our four-legged friends get these parasites in the first place. There are a number of ways they can pick them up. Some of the most common ones include:
- Cats can pick up worms across the placenta from their mother even before they were born
- As young kittens, they can pick up worms from their mother’s milk
- They can accidentally pick them up by eating contaminated soil
- Eating infected prey such as rats, mice, and lizards
- The larva can directly enter the feline through her skin.
How often to deworm cats?
Well, that depends on the age of your kitty and the lifestyle she lives. However, since almost all kittens are infected with roundworms, it’s important to deworm your kitty at a young age, especially if you’ve decided to save her from the streets.
Here are some things you should pay attention to:
- If your kitty is an adult: Most adult cats should be dewormed about four times a year, once for each season. Ideally, you should deworm your kitty at least every three months.
- If your feline is still a kitten: In case you’ve just adopted a weaned kitten, she’s probably never been dewormed before. Because of that, we recommend you consult your vet as soon as possible. They’ll make a deworming schedule for you based on your kitten’s needs, which will make it a lot easier for you.
- If your kitty is a hunter: If your feline friend likes to roam and hunt outside, she’s at a higher risk of getting worms from infected rodents or soil. Because of this, most vets recommend deworming your cat every month.
The benefits of deworming your cat
Now that we know how often to deworm cats, let’s read about some of the benefits this process brings. Why is it so important to deworm your cat regularly and are these parasites really that serious? Let’s find out.
1. It helps you keep your fluff healthy
Although kitties with worms might appear perfectly fine on the outside, it’s a way different story on the inside. Because worms live in feline’s intestines, they feed on her nutrients or blood. Since the kitty’s body doesn’t get enough food, it often leads to other complications.
A kitty that’s infected by worms might show signs such as increased appetite, diarrhea, weight loss, weakness, as well as dry and coarse fur. In severe cases, worm infections can lead to anemia.
2. It helps prevent reinfection
Knowing how often to deworm cats is crucial in preventing any reinfections in the future. Most dewormers paralyze worms in your kitty’s body. When you use them regularly, they remove any further parasites that your kitty may pick up in the future.
That way, you won’t have to wait for symptoms to show. In fact, it’s very important to avoid them, as they can be pretty uncomfortable for your dear fluff.
3. It helps you protect yourself and your family
We all know worms can be dangerous and uncomfortable for kitties, and it’s the main reason why we should deworm them. However, what a lot of people don’t know is that some worms, such as roundworms, can be passed to humans, too.
This often happens through contaminated soil and pet waste and can cause a lot of damage to your organs, including your eyes. Luckily, this doesn’t happen often, but if it does, it can be pretty serious, especially for children. In extreme cases, it can even lead to blindness.
Type of worms
Although there are a number of different worms that your kitty can pick up, there are three of the most common ones that our feline friends encounter. Let’s learn more about them.
It’s common for cats to pick up tapeworms by swallowing an infected flea. Because of that, flea control is equally important as deworming. Infected rodents are also a common source of tapeworms for felines.
If your kitty is infected by a tapeworm, you’ll notice its segments that look like grains of rice on her bottom. Some symptoms that your feline might show include diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting. On top of that, she might have an itchy and irritated bottom that will cause her to scoot around on the ground.
Roundworms are the most common type of worms in kittens because they’re acquired from drinking the mother’s milk, or even before birth. Another way for cats to get them is by directly ingesting eggs from the soil or by eating infected prey.
Although roundworms are very common, they can cause severe illness, especially in young cats. Some signs of roundworm infections are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and even poor growth.
Similar to roundworms, hookworms can also be transmitted to felines by their mother. They can also pick them up from contaminated food, or even directly through the skin.
Because hookworms attach to the intestine where they suck blood, they can cause severe anemia, diarrhea, and weight loss. If your kitty’s diarrhea has blood in it, it’s a strong indicator that she might have a hookworm infection.
What kind of dewormer to use
Because there are various types of deworming treatments, it’s important to know which one to use for your kitty. Before giving any, it’s important to consult your vet so they can advise on the best type for your feline.
They can be in the form of tablets, paste or granules, and spot-on treatments. If you opt for tablets, which are the most common type, you should try giving them to your kitty directly. In case your cat simply refuses to take them, you can try mixing the tablets into her food.
If you’ve applied flea treatments before, you won’t have many issues using spot-on dewormers, as they are applied in the same way. Simply adding some drops to your kitty’s neck near should do the trick.
Although it’s a bit harder to use than tablets and drops, some owners choose paste or granules as their dewormer. It’s a good option for those who like to mix the treatments into their kitty’s food. Using pastes is an ideal option when dosing small kittens.
Should you deworm an indoor cat?
If you think your cat is safe from these annoying parasites because she spends her days inside, we’ve got some disappointing news for you. Even indoor cats can get worm infections, so they should be regularly dewormed.
The most common way an indoor cat can pick up worms is through fleas, which can easily get into our homes. They stick to our clothes, bags, visitors, and other pets, and make our houses their new homes. Since indoor cats can easily get fleas, they can also get infected by tapeworms through grooming.
Read more: Should I Quarantine My Cat With Tapeworms? What To Do?