Intestinal Parasites in Colorado Cats: What You Need to Know
February 27th, 2018 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic
We believe that any chat about intestinal parasites in Colorado cats should lead with two questions:
- Is your cat a kitten or an adult?
- What’s his or her lifestyle? (Does your cat spend time outdoors?)
If you have an adult indoor cat and you live in the Castle Rock area, the chances that your cat will get intestinal parasites are low. Is it possible? Sure, your cat could find and eat a mouse in your home. But it’s unlikely. (Great news, right?)
Now, if you have a kitten or an adult cat that spends any time outdoors, your feline friend is at higher risk for cat parasites.
Here are common questions our vets are asked about intestinal parasites in kittens and adult cats, so you can help keep your cat (and any kiddos in your family) healthy.
How do kittens get intestinal parasites?
Kittens can get intestinal parasites in a few different ways in Colorado:
- From their mother in utero (if she’s infected)
- From their mother’s milk when nursing (if she’s infected)
- By coming into direct content with other infected animals or their feces
In parts of the country where fleas are more common, kittens also can get parasites from ingesting fleas.
What are the most common types of kitten parasites in Colorado?
Kittens are vulnerable to several types of critters. They range from worms to microscopic, single-celled organisms. The most common kitten parasites that we see are:
- Coccidia (a microorganism that inflames and irritates the intestine, causing diarrhea)
From time to time, our Castle Rock vets also see kittens with hookworms. Hookworms are more common in other parts of the country, but they can happen here.
Not to mention, one of the great things about Coloradoans is we have big hearts. It isn’t uncommon for local families to rescue animals from other parts of the country. If you do, it’s helpful to know that your kitten may come in with some extra critters on board.
Can humans get worms from kittens?
Yes, it’s possible. You can get worms — particularly roundworms and hookworms — from kittens.
Kids tend to be at higher risk.
That’s why it’s so important to get your kitten dewormed and have your kitty’s stool checked for worms. The great news is our cat vets do this as part of our suggested kitten vaccination schedule, so you don’t have to worry.
Adult cats that spend any time outdoors
How do cats get intestinal parasites?
It varies by parasite.
With that said, here in Colorado, we typically see cats get parasites from direct contact with other infected animals or their feces. For example, your cat is a hunter and eats mice or other rodents.
What are the most common types of cat parasites in Colorado?
Tapeworms tend to be the most common parasite that our veterinarians see in the Castle Rock area.
Tapeworms are long, flat and ribbon-like worms. They can grow up to several inches long, and they’re made up of many smaller segments.
Sometimes, these segments of egg-filled packets will break off. You may see these tiny pieces sticking to the fur around your cat’s anal area or around your cat’s stool. The segments look like cucumber seeds or pieces of rice, and they may wiggle slightly.
Tapeworms passively absorb nutrients from your cat — rather than sucking blood like hookworms. They don’t tend to cause a lot of intestinal problems or disease.
The right medicine will take care of tapeworms quickly. Keep in mind, if your cat is a hunter, it’s highly possible your cat will get tapeworms again.
Can humans get tapeworms from cats?
No, you can’t get tapeworms directly from your cat.
How to PREVENT worms and other cat parasites
For kittens, as we mentioned above, it’s important to make sure your kitty goes through deworming when you bring your furry friend in for vaccinations.
For adult cats in Colorado, the best way to prevent intestinal parasites is to keep your cat indoors. This helps minimize the chance your cat will eat a rodent.
If you’re going to travel with your cat to a part of the country where fleas are more common, chat with our vets about preventive measures. You may want to look into flea prevention medications such as Revolution or Frontline.
How to TREAT worms and other cat parasites
If your cat does get an intestinal parasite…
We’ll start your cat on a treatment plan specific to the type of parasite in his or her system.
Your cat doesn’t like pills? Don’t worry. Many of the medications come in an injectable form, rather than as a pill.
You may want to tend to your cat’s litter box too:
- Consider getting a new litter box or empty the current box and clean it with Lysol.
- Scoop your cat’s dropping within a 24-hour cycle until you know the parasites have cleared up.
- Have another family member clean the litter box if you’re pregnant, if possible. (There are certain types of parasites that put pregnant women at greater risk.)
Get the peace of mind you need! Simply bring your cat’s most recent stool sample into our veterinary clinic. (No appointment needed.) We’ll run a fecal test and call you with the results and any next steps. Have questions? Call us at 303-688-3757
Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.
This article is intended to provide general guidance on intestinal parasites in Colorado cats. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.)
© 2018, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic