How do cats get worms?

Worm infestation is common in cats. While some types of worms would have no dangerous effects on the infected animal, others would cause serious health concerns. Intestinal parasites would compete with the cat in getting the nutrients from the ingested food. A severely infected cat can therefore have poor coat quality and a scruffy appearance. The bloodsucking type of worm can cause anemia, a condition that can result to the death of the cat. Intestinal parasite infestation can have more serious effects on kittens and on young cats. Worming treatments are widely available these days thus getting rid of the worm infestation is easy. However, it would still be to the advantage of a cat owner to know how the pet can get worms so that the intestinal parasite infection can be prevented. Transmission of worms can vary depending on the type of parasite. Cats are hunters and these animals generally get worms from eating infected prey. Cats can get worms by accidentally ingesting worm larvae-harboring fleas. Cats can ingest soil contaminated with worm larvae. Worms can be passed on to the kittens through the transmammary route. Not many cat owners are aware that the pet can get worms in very unique manner. Worms can enter the cat’s body by penetrating through the intact skin of the cat’s abdomen.

Preventing a cat from getting worms is an important part of the pet’s health maintenance. A cat owner that keeps the pet indoors can never be sure that worm infestation will be prevented given that kitten can be born already infected by these parasites. The worms can be transmitted while the kittens are still inside the womb or when the kittens nurse from the mother. Transmammary transmission occurs when a cat gets infected with roundworms. Some larva will be passed by the cat with the feces while other would migrate to the cat’s tissues. These larvae will be reactivated when the cat gets pregnant. Some will be transmitted to the fetuses inside the cat’s womb. Roundworm in the mammary glands will be passed on to the kittens when they nurse. This kind of worm infestation is hard to prevent.

Cats can get worms from eating worm-infested prey. It is the nature of cats to hunt. A cat would eat the rodents and the birds it has hunted. As it is common for these small animals to be infected with worms, the cat will be infested as well. Worm infected animals would shed worm larvae with the feces. Because cats have the unpleasant habit of ingesting feces, it would not be impossible for these animals to be infected with worms. Tapeworms, another type of intestinal parasite are mainly transmitted by fleas. Fleas are intermediate hosts of fleas. Fleas are also common external parasites of cats. While grooming, the cat can accidentally ingest a tapeworm larva-carrying flea. The larva will develop inside the cat’s intestines and start an infestation.

Hookworms are one of the dangerous intestinal parasites. These worms are bloodsuckers. The worms would attach the teeth to the walls of the small intestines and begin their blood meal. Hookworms are very small…only about half an inch in length. Imagine if 300 worms or more are sucking the cat’s blood. Preventing the cat from getting this parasite is extremely necessary. However, owners may find it very difficult to prevent an infestation given the fact that hookworms have a unique way of transmission. Cats can get these parasites merely from walking on lawns and on soil. Hookworm larva can thrive on moist soil or damp grasses for weeks without food. And when a cat passes by or lies down, the larva would enter the thin skin of the cat’s abdomen. These worms have the ability to pierce intact skin!

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