Seeing worms in cat poop is a cause for great alarm and a prompt visit to the vet. While it is common for cats to get worms at some point in their lives, the presence of worms, especially in clumps or large numbers, in your cat’s poop is a sign of a serious infestation and can pose a serious health risk to your cat. You should take steps to deworm your cat immediately.
Why are there worms in cat poop?
There are worms in your cat’s poop because your cat has a heavy infestation of tapeworms, roundworms, or hookworms. A large number of these worms may already be populating your cat’s intestines so that when your pet defecates, clumps or worm segments are also excreted. Even indoor cats can get infected just by ingesting infected fleas or by eating rodents or insects around the house that are carriers of worm larvae.
Why does my cat have worms?
Cats can get worms for many reasons, including the following:
- kittens can get infected by drinking milk from an infected mama cat
- cats can get worms by ingesting litter that has worm larvae
- cats can also get worms from infected plants and soil
- your pet may become infected if they eat contaminated prey like rodents and birds
- fleas that are carriers of worm eggs may also be the culprit if your cat ingested it while grooming
While almost any cat can get worms at any time during their lifespan the most susceptible ones are very young kittens, outdoor felines that catch prey like rodents, cats that live in crowded homes as well as cats that live with multiple pets like dogs which can increase the risk of exposure.
The common types of worms that infect cats are the following:
Also known as Toxocara cati or Toxascaris leonina, this is usually the common type of worm that affects cats. It’s usually 2 to 4 inches long and looks like spaghetti strands with tapered ends. This type of worm is zoonotic, which means it can be transferred to humans thereby causing an infection called Visceral larva migrans, an inflammation of muscle tissues.
Also known as Ancylostoma tubaeforme, this blood-sucking intestinal parasite can cause anemia, and even death, in cats. These slender and thread-like worms are hardly noticeable by the naked eye since it’s less than a half-inch in length. Hookworms attach to the cat’s intestinal tract, move through the digestive tract, and are excreted in the feces.
Also known as Dipylidium caninum, this type of worm has a long and flat body and is comprised of small and white-colored segments. Cats usually get tapeworms by ingesting fleas. Tapeworms can’t be directly transmitted from cats to humans since fleas must be involved in the lifecycle process.
What to do so my cat won’t get infested with worms again?
Upon noticing worms in cat poop, prompt veterinary diagnosis and treatment should be made. Your vet may prescribe medication and also regular deworming sessions and stool analysis to monitor your cat for worm infestation. Here are other measures that you can do so that your cat won’t get infected with worms again.
- Clean the litter daily and disinfect it every week.
- Always monitor what your cat eats.
- Keep your cat indoors as much as possible.
- If you have another cat that’s infected with worms, isolate her from the other pets.
- Your cat should always be well-groomed and protected from fleas.
- Kittens should be dewormed when they’re around three weeks old.
- Female cats should be dewormed before pregnancy and before giving birth to prevent infection in their babies.
Since worms from cats can also be transmitted to humans, here are the things that you can do to avoid getting worms:
- Always tell children to wash their hands after touching the pet cat.
- Don’t walk barefoot in your backyard as it may be contaminated with worm larvae from infected feces.
- If you’re fond of gardening, don’t touch the soil with your bare hands but instead use gloves as the soil may be contaminated with worm larvae.
- Dispose of cat feces appropriately if you notice its presence in your backyard or playground
Having worms in cat poop requires immediate medication and treatment before it becomes life-threatening for your cat. Always practice proper handling and disposal of cat litter, proper sanitation within and around the home, and make sure that you monitor what your cat eats so that your pet cat is protected from worm infestation.