All cats have very high likelihood of acquiring harmful worms throughout their lives. Beginning when they are in gestation, unborn kittens can get worms directly from their mother. They can also get worms from their mother’s milk when they are nursing, or from their mother’s feces. Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs inside them. Therefore, when a cat grooms itself and ingests a flea, they can become infected with tapeworms.
When a cat hunts, they can ingest worm eggs from the intestines or muscle tissue of their prey. From a human health standpoint, worms can be spread from your cat to a person. This can happen if a cat’s feces or hair is touched then the hand makes contact with the mouth. Worms can then cause an infection in the person’s intestinal tract. They can also cause a health risk called larval migrans. This occurs when the egg hatches after ingestion, and the larva migrate to other areas in the person’s body. These can cause serious health issues in the person if they migrate to the eye, brain or liver.
There are some slightly varying opinions on when a cat should be dewormed. At the Fall River Animal hospital we have some deworming recommendations. For kittens, we recommend at least 2 consecutive dewormings 10-14 days apart. Any cats that stay indoors only, we recommend deworming at least once yearly. Cats that go outside frequently and hunt lots of prey, should be dewormed at least every 3-4 months.
By following these deworming protocols, it will help keep your cat and family healthy.