How Do Cats Get Parasites?

Many cat owners often wonder how their feline friends acquire intestinal parasites, especially when they are indoor cats.

According to Veterinary Partner, cats get infected with hookworms and tapeworms by hunting prey. Even if your cat lives indoors, the ingestion of one house mouse can expose your cat to GI parasites. Cats with a flea infestation can spread cat scratch fever to children, elderly people, or immunocompromised people such as AIDS patients, cancer patients, and organ transplant recipients.

Lily and Mouse #2
There are many cats that have been indoors for years but that end up testing positive for intestinal parasites during their check-ups. Owners are always puzzled as to how this happens. If we humans walk around anywhere outside where there have been other pets or wild critters, and then walk into our homes with the same shoes, our cats then walk on that same floor………….and then they wash their paws i.e., ingest parasite eggs.

Giardia has become very common in Vermont in the last 10 years and we see this infection even in indoor cats that are never out drinking fresh spring water. Fortunately, routine deworming is highly effective.

Symptoms of intestinal parasites in cats are often non-existent unless they end up with a new infection or a very high load in which case diarrhea may result.  Typical treatment for deworming depends on which parasite we identify on the microscopic exam.

To avoid intestinal parasites in your cat, deworm them regularly if they are indoor/outdoor kitties, and have a stool tested 1-2 times per year if they are indoor kitties.

If you are concerned that your cat has parasites, or if you would like to take the necessary precautions to avoid them, give us a call right away to schedule an appointment!