Have you ever tried getting your cat to do something she doesn’t want to do? While their canine counterparts might be eager to please, our independent-minded feline friends don’t always go along with our plans quite so readily, and if you’ve ever had an unsuccessful attempt to worm your cat, you might feel a degree of trepidation at the prospect of trying again! Fear not though, we are here to help, so read on for a reminder about why worming your cat is important for the whole family, and crucially; how to make it as simple and stress-free as possible!
1.Protect your kitten’s health: Most kittens have barely set a paw in the world before they’re faced with these wriggling pests, as larvae from the roundworm Toxocara cati can pass from mum to her kittens while they’re suckling milk. These worms can grow to up to 10 cm long inside your small fur ball1, so it’s no wonder that they make your kitten feel unwell! Symptoms can include a pot belly, vomiting, diarrhoea and a dull coat, and these sizeable worms can even cause a blockage in a small kitten’s intestines.
Another common worm to affect kittens and adult cats alike, is the not-so friendly neighbourhood tapeworm: Dipylidium caninum . Also known as the flea tapeworm, your moggy can become infected by this beast if she swallows infected fleas while grooming. And we really do mean “beast”; this worm can grow up to 70cm long inside your cat!2 A tell-tale sign your cat is harbouring one of these creatures, is the presence of small white worm segments that have broken away from the adult worm and passed out in your cat’s poo. The segments are mobile, so you may spot these crawling in the fur around your cat’s bottom: they really are as revolting as they sound, but thankfully, a worming treatment will quickly see them off!
2.Protect your cat’s health: Worms aren’t just a problem for kittens; adult cats can be affected by both roundworms and tapeworms throughout their lives. Cats can unknowingly swallow roundworm eggs while they’re out patrolling their territory, and if your cat is a hunter, she can pick up both roundworms and tapeworms from eating the small creatures she’s caught. And even cats that don’t hunt can become infected with tapeworm if they pick up a flea infestation, so it’s almost impossible for our feline friends to avoid these wriggling pests. Worms can cause health issues in our four-legged friends no matter what their age, but even in cats that don’t show obvious symptoms, it’s a fairly safe bet that they’d be happier without these hungry parasites living inside them and stealing their food!
3.Protect your family’s health: The roundworm Toxocara cati has another highly unpleasant side to it: it can cause disease not just in cats, but in people, too. If we accidentally swallow roundworm eggs (for example by eating food that is contaminated with eggs and not properly washed) roundworm larvae can migrate around our bodies, potentially causing disease. The larvae can even travel to our eyes where they can cause blindness: the condition (called “ocular larval migrans”) is rare, but life-shattering when it does occur.
So you’re on board with the idea of worming, and committed to protecting your cat and your family, but now comes the crucial bit: getting the job done with minimal fuss!
Prazitel tablets for cats are a tasty grilled-meat flavour, and kill both roundworms and tapeworms (the two major culprits when it comes to intestinal worms in UK cats). They can be given with or without food, and are suitable for kittens as young as 6 weeks of age. Read our top tips for stress-free worming!
Since most kittens are affected by pesky roundworms from a young age, independent advice is start worming at three weeks of age with a suitable product, to repeat this every two weeks until they’re weaned, and then continue monthly until they’re six months old.3
When it comes to adult cats, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, but the general rule is to worm most cats at least every three months, increasing this to monthly in some cases, for example those moggies that:3
If your feline friend is pregnant or lactating, she will need worming more often, your vet can advise on the best worming schedule if your cat is expecting.
But what if your purring pal doesn’t set foot outside? Unfortunately even indoor cats can’t escape these pests altogether! If your four-legged feline gets hold of a visiting rodent, she might end up with a round or tapeworm infestation; and grim though it sounds, fleas can hitch a ride on you into your home, and may pass a tapeworm onto your cat. Worming indoor cats once or twice a year will help make sure they, too, are protected.
There are always going to be jobs on our to-do lists that make our hearts sink, but worming our cats definitely doesn’t have to be one of them! By keeping up with regular worming for your feline friend, you can make sure you help protect not just their health, but that of you and your family too!