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Worm infestations in people are known to sometimes cause blindness. They’ve also been linked to asthma and other serious issues, especially in children. In the UK, 4.8 million households include a cat, and 1,480,000 of these include children**(PFMA, 2019). 23% of cats in the UK are not wormed* (PDSA PAW Report, 2018), meaning the cat, their owners and their families are all potentially at risk from worms.
Fortunately, keeping your cat and your family worm-free is easy:
Cats can get infested with worms at any age, even as very young kittens. The most common ways an adult cat may become infested with worms are:
All kittens are likely to become infested with worms via their mother’s milk. Pregnancy reduces the effectiveness of the mother’s immune system, allowing worms to develop and pass to her young during nursing.
Stopping your cat from getting worms is near impossible, but it is easy to help reduce the risk and spread:
Worm eggs need to ‘mature’ for up to two weeks before they become infective, so emptying your cat’s litter tray and picking up any poo from the garden should be done immediately. This reduces the amount of worm eggs in the environment, thus reducing the risk to pets and people.
This good hygiene practice minimises the spread of bacteria, and reduces the chance of you and others from picking up worm eggs.
This is the easiest way to stop a cat worm infestation from taking hold. Missing a worming treatment or failing to deworm at all can result in health problems for your cat. It also increases the risk of infestation to other people and their pets.
Adult cats should be dewormed at least once every three months. Fortunately, protecting your cat and your family can be as Easy as 1, 2, 3. Effective and affordable wormers, such as Beaphar WORMclear®, are available without prescription from your local pet shop and online.
Nursing queens and kittens should be wormed more often than adult cats. It is recommended that worming takes place every two weeks until the kittens are 12 weeks old. Once the kittens are 12 weeks old and the queen is no longer nursing, they can all be wormed once every three months. You must check a product is suitable for both nursing queens and kittens before commencing treatment. For additional advice about worming pregnant or nursing queens, contact your vet.
Check out our blog – Choosing the right wormer for your cat or dog – to help you pick the right wormer for your cat.
Some prey animals like mice and birds can carry worms. If your cat is a regular hunter, speak to your vet or pet shop retailer about whether you should consider worming more often.
Signs and symptoms of worms are hard to spot. A cat can be home to a worm infestation without their owners knowing because often there are very few or no outward symptoms.
One of the most common signs an owner may notice is what appears to be grains of rice in their cat’s faeces or stuck to fur around their bottom. These ‘grains of rice’ are segments of tapeworm, and signify the presence of a worm infestation. Tapeworms are transmitted by fleas, so worming alone will not solve the problem. You need to treat your pet with an effective flea treatment as well.
Check out our blog – Worms in cats and dogs: signs and symptoms – to find out what other signs you should be looking out for.