Protecting your cat from parasitic worms is an important part of being a responsible cat owner. Using cat worming tablets is the most popular method of doing this, although worming treatments are also available in a liquid, paste or granule form. There are many brands on the market which you can purchase online or from your pet specialist store, vet or supermarket.

What are cat worms?

Cat worms are Endoparasites which mainly infest the intestines of the cat. Here they feed and reproduce. The two most common types of worms found in cats are Roundworm and Tapeworm.

The Tapeworm is made up of many small segments connected together which are attached to the intestinal wall by the head of the worm. As the Tapeworm grows it sheds its segments which pass through the intestines and out of the anus, either in the faeces or as they are mobile by crawling out.

Roundworms mainly infest the intestines, but can also infest the respiratory system or the bloodstream. They come in many different sizes from a very thin worm to ones which are thicker and several centimetres long. The eggs produced by the Roundworm are passed out through the cats faeces.

Where can my cat get worms from?

Where your cat will pick up worms depends on the type of worm. Cats are especially at risk from Tapeworm. There are two types of Tapeworm. The first is Dipylidium, this uses fleas as an intermediate host to infect cats. Dipylidium segments are released into the environment from an infected animal. These segments then burst and release the eggs. The eggs are then eaten by flea larvae where they develop into cysts within the flea. When the flea becomes an adult an goes onto a cat it can be ingested by the cat when grooming where it develops into the adult Tapeworm.

The Taenia Tapeworm also uses an intermediate host, but this time it is prey animals such as small rodents. When the cat catches and eats the carrier the worm larvae is ingested into the gut. This means a cat which likes hunting carries a high risk of picking up this type of tapeworm.

Roundworm can be caught in three ways. Firstly from the cat ingesting the worm eggs from grass or soil in the environment. Secondly from eating an infested rodent, and finally it can be transmitted from a pregnant queen to her kittens when they are in the womb.

What are the signs a cat has worms?

Because parasitic worms feed off the nutrients in a cats intestines it deprives the cat of the nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy weight. This can result in weight loss and a loss on condition in other areas such as the skin and coat. Other signs include a loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhoea.

Which cat worming tablets should I use?

There are many different brands of worming tablet available. The main consideration when choosing one for your pet is which types of worm it treats. Most will treat the two main type of worm – the Tapeworm and the Roundworm. Any tablet which treat these worms will offer your cat good all round protection from the main types, although you should check that they treat all types of Tapeworm and Roundworm as there are different ones to consider.
Speak to your vet, local pet specialist store or pet care professional who will be happy to recommend the most suitable for your pet.

What other worming treatments are there?

Because it is not always easy to feed your cat a tablet there are different formats you can use. For kittens and smaller cats a paste form can be used. This comes in a syringe with indentations to help measure out the correct dose. There are also granules which can be sprinkled on the cats food or in their favourite treat. The other method is to use a liquid which is added to the cats food. This can be useful for a household with a large number of cats.

How often should I worm my cat?

Kittens should be wormed every two weeks from birth to twelve weeks of age. After this time they should be treated every three months, unless the usage directions on the packet say otherwise.

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