Cat worms are internal parasites that live inside the cat and which can infect the cat. Cat worms or feline worms are mainly parasitic organisms such as hookworms, roundworms, heart worms and tapeworms. Outdoor cats are usually infected by these cat worms or internal parasites more than indoor cats.
Hookworms have teeth like mouth parts which allow them to hook themselves to the intestinal wall of the cat and feed off from the blood of the cat. Hookworm eggs are passed through the stool of the cat. These eggs hatch into immature worms within 2 to 5 days within the soil and vegetation. When an uninfected cat comes into contact with the soil containing the hookworm larvae, the larvae enters the cat’s body by sneaking into the skin. Cat worms such as hookworms can also be acquired after hookworm larvae contaminate the food and water consumed by the uninfected cat.
Symptoms of hookworms in cats include the black or bloody stools which the cat discharges. The black and bloody stools are the result of a substance or an anti-coagulant the hookworms release after sucking the blood of their host or the cat. The loss of blood in cats causes anemia and dull coat. Hookworms in kittens can cause stunted growth.
Tapeworms are highly specialized parasites that dwell in the intestines as well. Tapeworms need two hosts to live, an intermediate host that passes the cysticercoid and the other host is the cat itself where it matures into an adult and lays its eggs. Tapeworms are hermaphroditic meaning that they both have ovaries and testes by which these cat worms can reproduce by their own.
There are two species of roundworms which affect the cat, one of which the toxocara cati which is common in cats. This common specie feeds on the intestinal substances of the cat such that it competes with the cat for food. Signs of roundworm infections in cats are diarrhea, poor coat condition, vomiting, a pot bellied appearance of the cat. Heartworms are usually non-specific in cats but a common parasite in dogs. Cats are more resistant to heartworm infections than dogs. Symptoms of heartworms in cats are coughing, weight loss, vomiting, anorexia, wheezing.
Parasitic worms or common worms in cats such as tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms can be treated through reliable products such as tablets and topical medicines available in the market. The best product suited to your cat should always be recommended by the veterinarian. However, there is till no effective way in treating heartworm in cats. Cats with sever symptoms should require supportive therapy such as a bronchodilator to clear the airways, oxygen therapy and intravenous fluids.