Why you should deworm cats

"Why should I have my cats dewormed even if there are no symptoms suggesting worms?" This question regularly causes hot discussions among cat owners. While advocates of regular worming refer to the health risks for animals in the event of a worm infestation, critics often worry about the possible side effects of deworming. You can find out why this is still recommended here. Due to the side effects, having to deworm the cats is not particularly popular with the owners or the animals, but massive worm infestation can have far worse consequences - Shutterstock / Stokket

Numerous pet owners would like to avoid having to deworm their cats. After all, worming for the beloved velvet paws is often accompanied by gastrointestinal complaints and diarrhea. So-called spot-on preparations, which are applied to the skin of the cat, also cause skin irritation and itching in some house tigers. The worming does not cause any serious damage to the cats - however, massive worm infestation can have serious consequences for the fur noses. Therefore, despite the inconvenience, worms should be used regularly.

Why worming? Possible consequences of an infestation

In general, the more massive a worm infestation is and the longer it remains untreated, the greater the risks for permanent health damage. The worms initially only feed on the blood of the cats and weaken the immune system, which initially manifests itself in constant exhaustion and similar symptoms. This level can usually only be problematic for very young and old animals.

However, if the worm infection continues unchecked, the gastrointestinal tract can be damaged, which leads to constant vomiting and diarrhea. In the worst case, such an infestation can culminate in the death of the house tiger. Anyone who thinks that a regular faecal examination at the vet can completely replace the worming treatment is extremely wrong. Because this examination can only detect the parasites when the worms lay eggs, which can then be found in the feces. By then the worm infestation has already progressed dangerously far. Only a regular worming treatment can fight the little bloodsuckers in all stages of development.

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Cats deworm for the protection of humans

Refraining from worming does not only endanger the animal, but also humans, because some pathogens can be transferred from the pet to the owner. As a result, this can also suffer from various diseases. To avoid this, owners should not only deworm their cats, but also wash their hands thoroughly several times a day. Especially after cleaning the litter box, it is important to pay attention to hygiene. If you want to be on the safe side, use disposable gloves.

Purely domestic cats are no exception

Cats who spend a lot of time outdoors are most often affected by worm infections. However, owners of purely domestic cats should not rely on the fact that their four-legged friends are safe from infestation. Hookworms and roundworms can already be transmitted through breast milk, for example, while other worms enter the house through the soles of street shoes. For this reason, you should also deworm cats that are not outdoors.

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How does a worming treatment work?

Worm treatments usually only kill existing parasites. They do not offer permanent protection, because their effect wears off after 24 hours. The worming cure is therefore primarily about preventing the worms from multiplying, not about keeping a cat completely free of parasites. According to this, the protection for the animal is higher the more often a worming treatment is carried out. Giving the cat an injection once or twice a year or even only when there is an acute need is hardly enough.

How and with what frequency do cats deworm?

If you still don't want to go to the vet for a worming treatment, you can try different worming preparations. The options range from pastes and tablets to spot-on tinctures, all of which can be administered by yourself. How well these are accepted and coped with by the cat varies from animal to animal. It is best to get advice from your veterinarian beforehand.

Opinions also diverge on how often you should dewormer cats. The general recommendation, however, is to subject the furry protégés to worms at least four times a year, every three months. Free-range animals and cats who like to hunt prey or who often maintain contact with their fellow species should even be dewormed monthly, since the infections are much more common. If children live in the cat household, monthly deworming is also recommended. In the case of pure indoor cats, however, it is usually sufficient to deworm them every six months.

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