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Textbook Signs of Worms in Your Cat

Look out for these symptoms next time you see your feline friend.

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Your feline friend hasn’t been looking too well the last few days. You check their food, give them extra head scritches, and break out the catnip, but nothing is working. Maybe it’s time to call the vet. You take them in for a few tests. It’s worms. Bingo. Here’s what to look for next time to know if your cat has worms.

What Are “Worms,” Anyway?

“Worms” means your cat has a parasite in their digestive tract such as:

  • Roundworms
  • Hookworms
  • Tapeworms

There are many ways your cat can contract worms. Typically, they accidentally ingest parasites while grooming themselves. Tapeworms can come from fleas, since fleas can carry tapeworm eggs. If your cat accidentally eats the flea while grooming, the tapeworm could infect their digestive tract.

Similarly, your cat could ingest parasites while grooming if they came in contact with infested potting soil, dirt you tracked in from outside, or their own feces.

Symptoms of Worms in Cats

Symptoms of worms may vary depending on the type of parasite that your cat has. In general, signs of parasite infection include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Distended or bloated belly

Without treatment, your cat’s symptoms could get worse. In some cases, it can be a medical emergency. Signs that the infection is worsening include:

  • Dehydration or weakness
  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Shock
  • Stomach rupture

Treatment and Prevention

Worms in cats are often treated with prescription medication that is available through your veterinarian. However, there are several over the counter medications and dewormers available which are often recommended by veterinarians. Either way, they can tell you how much to give your cat, and how to administer it.

Treating worms is important, but preventing them is even better. Be sure to practice good sanitation including cleaning litter boxes on a daily basis and disinfecting them weekly, and asking your veterinarian to perform regular stool analysis as part of your cat’s routine exams. After all, your cat makes you healthier, so why not return the favor?