How often should a cat be wormed?

There are many theories about this question.  Some think that when they get their kitten, (for example) that a wormer given when he’s having his vaccinations, is all he needs for lifetime care.  Other well-meaning cat parents think that worming their cat once a year is sufficient. Sadly, this is not the case, in either scenario.

Your cat should be wormed every three months.  Whether he brings home ‘gifts’ for you, or as a snack till his next meal, or even if he never looks at the wildlife larder in his garden, he still needs to be wormed four times a year. This is to prevent heavy infestations leading to your cat’s own illness. And, importantly, to reduce the incidence of worms being shed into the environment and passed on to humans, potentially causing serious diseases.

Many low-level infestations will not cause any symptoms, so often you cannot tell if your cat has worms unless a faecal sample is submitted to a veterinary laboratory for analysis.

Roundworms, such as Toxocara cati can lay dormant in the tissue of infected cats and will pass through the milk to kittens, when a female gets pregnant, so we must assume that all kittens will be infected from birth.  Roundworm worming for kittens is therefore advised every two weeks from three weeks old until eight weeks, and then monthly until six months.  The eggs can also persist in the environment for many years and so regular worming of every one to three months throughout an adult cat’s life is recommended (hence the veterinary advice of worming your cat four times a year).

However, if your cat is a hunter, monthly treatment is advised as Toxocara cati can be carried in intermediate hosts such as mice or rats: another form of infection when eaten.

The other most common type of worms are tapeworms, and these are also ingested when hunting, or some can be transmitted by fleas – another reason to flea-treat your cat every month.  Unless kittens have a flea infestation, they will not normally be affected by tapeworm until adulthood, but then need to be treated every one to three months, so using a worming treatment that covers both roundworm and tapeworm is advised.  There are now safe products on the market from your vet that provide all-in-one monthly flea and worm spot-on treatments that make this job a lot easier and prevent you having to run the risk of a trip to your local A & E or ER department as you try to give your cat a pill.

Even if your cat is an indoor cat, worming and flea treatments are still advised, as eggs and larvae are so persistent in the environment, that you can bring them indoors on your clothing.   

Five Good Reasons for Having Your Cat Neutered

  • Reduces fighting, injury and noise
  • Reduces spraying and smelling
  • Much less likely to wander and get lost
  • Safer from diseases like feline AIDS, mammary tumours and feline leukaemia
  • Reduces the number of unwanted kittens

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