Worms in kittens and cats are extremely common. While they can be a reason of concern for the pet owners, they don’t always have serious upshots and can also be treated easily. Regardless of whether they live totally indoors or spend some time outdoors too, pet cats can become host to parasites like tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms.
Kittens usually extract worms from the milk of their mother and adult cats pick worms by eating worm eggs accidentally or eating vermin that are infected by worms. For cats, acquiring worms is relatively simple and it is therefore a great idea to understand the warning signs of worms in cats. This will help you seek treatment at the right time. Untreated worms can lead to symptoms like a potbelly or a dull coat. To know more on checking cats for worms, read on.
CHECKING OUT POTENTIAL SYMPTOMS
#1: Watch out for slight changes in the coat of the cat
A cat’s fur is typically lustrous but whenever she extracts worms, the coat can gradually develop a flat-looking and dull look. This often happens due to lack of absorption of nutrients, dehydration as all this leads to different types of parasite infection.
#2: Keep a tab on the gums of the cat
As long as your cat is healthy, she will have pink-colored gums much similar to humans. If you suddenly find the gums of your cat white or pale, this would imply that she is anemic. One of the most common explanations for this is infection due to parasites. In order to check the gums of your cats, make her sit on your lap and grasp her head gently right behind her ears. Now use the tips of your fingers to flip open the upper lip of the cat so that the gums are exposed. Contact a vet if you find the gums pale.
#3: Analyze the feces of the cat
Does your cat use a litter box? If yes, then it will be easy on your part to keep a close watch on the feces of your cat. Tarry and dark stools can indicate excess blood loss and this is when hookworms attach themselves to the lining of intestine. Diarrhea can even occur as worms often occupy space inside the gut that deters digestion. If you notice fresh blood in the stools, seek vet help.
#4: Check if your vet is vomiting
Cats often vomit and most pet parents have gotten used to this habit of theirs. But if vomiting occurs frequently, the cat should instantly be taken to the vet as this can be a sign of worms or other health concerns. Worms lead to vomiting by blocking the outflow to the stomach or by forming an obstacle to the stomach lining.
#5: Focus on how much your cat feeds
A high worm burden is just related to loss of appetite. This is because of several factors like inflammation of the lining of the bowel, stomach ache and the space the worms occupy in the bowel.
#6: Look for changes in the shape of the cat
Cats that have extracted too many worms will gradually develop a potbelly due to which the abdominal area will seem to be swollen. Just as vomiting, this is yet another typical symptom and it can occur to different reasons. Nevertheless, this is enough for you to schedule a trip to the vet, no matter what is the actual cause.
#7: Watch out for signs of lethargy
In case worms are taking away nutrition directly from the bowel, the kitten or the cat in question will start appearing listless, lethargic and will also lack energy. Focus on any dramatic changes that you may find to the energy level of the cat. Her energy level can also be a symptom to various ailments and is another reason to take her to the vet. Keep a close watch on changes in energy levels.
SEARCHING FOR EVIDENCE
#1: Check for eggs in the feces of your cat
Put on a pair of disposable gloves and use a stick to test the feces in the litter box to watch out for the signs of the parasites. Tapeworms can leave packs of eggs on the surface of the stool which looks like cucumber seeds which can even move and wriggle. You won’t find an entire tapeworm in cat feces but they will look like cream-colored worms. Hookworms and roundworms can’t be seen by naked eye.
#2: Check the anus of the cat
Packets of tapeworm eggs migrate out of the anus of the cat and keep sticking to the fur. Hence, if you take a close look at the anus of your cat, you can easily conclude that your cat has been attacked by tapeworms once you see creamy white egg packets that look like sesame seeds.
#3: Check the bedding of the cat and other spots
There are times when egg packets often get stuck on places where the cat sat. That may be your soft furniture or the bedding. You have to check all such places if you suspect that your cat has been affected by worms.
TESTING YOUR PET CAT
#1: Call a vet
One of the most reliable ways out is to submit a fecal sample at the local vet clinic. The sample will be checked through a microscope to detect worm eggs.
#2: Collect the sample of stool
Gather up a sample of your cat’s feces and store it inside the container till your next appointment. Don’t keep a container in a room where your prepare food and make sure you wash your hands after collecting the sample.
#3: Take your cat for an examination
The veterinarian will test your cat and perform few fecal tests whenever he thinks it is necessary. If your cat has worms, put him under medication directed by the veterinarian.
Therefore, if you have brought home a cat as your pet, you should take good care of them. Keep a check on whether or not they’re being affected by different types of worms by taking into account all the above listed tips and advice.