Tip 63 – Worms in kittens – worms in cats
When your cat or kitten has worms, it is the result of coming into contact with a parasite (usually a flea) that has entered your cat’s body. Most kittens are born with worms and will need to be dewormed (take a medication that kills the worms) several times during the months that make up kittenhood. It is therefore necessary that EVERY new kitten be checked by a vet to see if it has worms and for a general health exam.
Roundworms are the most common source of worms in kittens and tapeworms are the most common source of worms in adult cats. Roundworms get into the kittens through mother’s milk and into mother usually by way of contaminated soil. A kitten with roundworms will have a pot bellied appearance. Roundworms themselves look like spaghetti noodles and can be present in stool or vomit. They are easily treatable with oral medication.
Tapeworms in adult cats are usually the result of the cat ingesting a flea (with the tapeworm inside it) during a normal self grooming session. Outdoor cats can also get tapeworms by eating prey such as raw meat and raw fish. Tapeworms are about 1 cm or 1/4 inch long. You may see them moving around the fur around your cat’s anus. Tapeworms that have left the cat’s anus and have dried up, look like grains of rice and can be spotted in places where your cat sleeps. Due to the fact that the worms usually came from fleas if your cat has tapeworms it also probably has fleas. Therefore it needs BOTH deworming and flea medication to stop the cycle. Make sure your vet checks for both scenarios.
* Never try to deal with a worm or flea problem by yourself by buying an over the counter medicine. Many of these medications have caused fatalities in cats. Always get worm/flea medications from your veterinarian.
* Occasionally cats can have a reaction to deworming medication (or any medication for that matter) even if it has been administered by your veterinarian. Vomiting, diarrhea, shaking or poor co-ordination can all indicate a bad reaction to the medication. In this case the vet should be contacted immediately.