Diagnosing the presence of cat worms is in most cases a straightforward procedure with simple follow-up treatments. Feline worms can appear in a cat’s stool or vomit. Kittens often show more severe symptoms of worm infestation while older cats may not seem sick at all.
Certain cat worms can be easily treated at home, while others require the help of a veterinarian.
Bring a sample of your cat’s stool so the vet can examine the sample for eggs or larvae which can only be seen under a microscope.
The most common types of worms are:
- Roundworms: They are one of the most common parasites with which your cat may come in contact. They are 2-4 inches long, have a milky white or tan color and tapered ends. Your cat passes them either through vomiting or in his or her stool, and they look like spaghetti. Cats sometimes get these kinds of worms by eating infected lizards, mice or birds.
- Hookworms: These are very small worms with hook like mouth parts that burrow into your cat’s intestinal wall and suck blood. They can cause anemia, black or bloody diarrhea and in more serious cases even death in kittens.
- Tapeworms: They are very common in animals, especially those that have fleas. Tapeworms are small and white and they can be easily seen with the naked eye. They are usually found in the cats stool and sometimes they are stuck in the fur under and around a cat’s tail. Cats get tapeworms from ingesting fleas that are carriers of this parasite.Symptoms of tapeworms include seeing small segments of the worms, and your pet may appear to lose weight even though she constantly seems hungry.
- Heartworms: They are seen more often in dogs than in cats. This worm is typically transferred through mosquito bites. In very extreme cases, this type of worm infection may even be deadly for your cat or cause severe heart/lung damage. Usually a combination of tests are required to enable a veterinarian to identify heartworms.
All of the parasites listed above can also affect humans, not to mention the damage they can do to your cat or kitten. If you see or even suspect any feline worms, get your cat treated! Although you can easily treat roundworms and tapeworms at home, it is surely not a bad idea to get proper advice and treatment instructions from your vet.
Here are some typical symptoms that may indicate cat worms in your feline friend:
- Loss of appetite
- Diarrhea (might contain blood)
- The cat’s coat may be in poor condition
- Anemia – The cat or kitten has pale gums
- The cat has a pot belly appearance – especially in kittens
- Worm segments around the anal area. These segments look like small grains of rice or sesame seeds
- The cat loses weight
- Stunted growth of a kitten
- Continual licking of the anal area
Cat worms can easily be treated with the appropriate medication, however if they are not treated, they can cause serious health problems.