Cat Parasites - FAQs

Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

Can all intestinal parasites be prevented?

Most of them can. Having a cat on an effective flea prevention, will work against the tapeworm burden that they can have. Unfortunately, if your cat's a hunter, you can't really 100% prevent them from ingesting fleas from rodents and related things that they may come into contact with. As far as other types of preventions such as flea, tick and heartworm preventions go, we do have some intestinal parasite control as well.

How does my cat get intestinal parasites?

Many times it's from either ingesting fleas that have the tapeworm eggs, or from being in a litter box that has otherwise been contaminated by a cat. Kittens are especially a lot more prone to having those intestinal worms that they can spread around.

Can my indoor cats still get intestinal parasites?

It's definitely a possibility, especially with tapeworms. Even if they don't go outside at all, things like mice can get into your house and have tapeworm eggs in the fleas that they carry. You can even bring in fleas on your pant legs which will expose them.

What can I do to prevent tapeworm?

The biggest thing that you can do is to have all animals in your home on effective flea prevention, making sure they're on that year-round, even during the winter. Fleas like to come inside and have their way, so make sure that every single pet in the home is on effective flea prevention.

Is there medication to prevent my cat from getting intestinal parasites?

There are different medications that you can use as prevention, but there are also medications that we use to treat them.

How can I keep my cat from passing on intestinal parasites to other pets in the house?

Make sure that you are regularly checking your cat's stool and that you don't see any signs of loose stool or worms, because cats sharing a litter box is a very easy way to get contamination amongst them. Make sure to check that often, and if you believe that they could've been sharing or if you have seen anything unusual, get them dewormed.

Can any intestinal parasites be passed on to people?

There are some that can spread to people. Tapeworms aren't common as you would actually have to ingest the tapeworm in order to get it, so that's not a huge ordeal that we see, but it is a possibility. But there are some other intestinal parasites that can spread to people as well, mainly by not handling the stool appropriately. Not being very hygienic whenever handling that litter box can cause some problems.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 369-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Cat Parasites - FAQs 2

Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

What are intestinal parasites?

Intestinal parasites are commonly known as worms. They are types of parasites that can get into your cat's intestinal tract and do some harm by either affecting the intestinal tract itself or by feeding on some of the nutrients that your cat ingests before passing out in the stool.

How does my cat get worms?

The most common way in cats is from ingestion of fleas. Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs, and those tapeworm eggs can be ingested by the cat whenever they're grooming and they pick up a flea. Into the intestinal tract it goes, hatches out, and there you have tapeworms. Ingestion of fleas is one way, along with ingesting or having worms present in their environment if they're around other cats that have it in their litter boxes.

Are worms painful to cats?

They can definitely become uncomfortable. Some of them do have GI upset accompanied by nausea and diarrhea among other symptoms. Especially if they have a pretty heavy burden.

Are worms visible in my cat's stool, and what do they look like?

Many times they can be. Roundworms and hookworms look like long pieces of spaghetti, for a lack of better description. You'll also have tapeworms, which will be shorter and look like little grains of rice. Those usually get stuck around your cat's fur on the back end.

What are signs that my cat has worms?

There can be many different signs. Normally, there will be loose stool, potential vomiting or not eating very well. You will also see the worms in your cat's stool or around the back end. Weight loss or their hair coat not looking as great as it once did are also signs.

How common are worms in cats?

Worms are fairly common. Tapeworms are the most common worms we see in cats. Kittens are the most affected, but adult cats are more prone to getting tapeworms from flea ingestion.

How long can worms last inside my cat?

They can last for quite some time, especially if they go undetected and they're not treated.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 369-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.