Cats most commonly get four different kinds of parasites or worms – heartworms
, tapeworms, roundworms and hookworms. These worms can be passed on from mothers to kittens and from the ingestion of another feline's fecal matter, among many other ways. They pose a threat to the health of the cat, other pets in the house and sometimes, even the owners. Taking your cat to the vet is the best way to diagnose and treat your cat.Symptoms
Diarrhea and vomiting are the two most common indicators that a cat has worms. The development of an enlarged stomach, commonly referred to as a “pot belly”, or weight loss are also signs of worms. Healthy cats have pink gums but cats infected with worms have pale gums. In severe cases, your cat might have trouble breathing or become lethargic.Diagnosing worms
Regular checks at the hands of a vet will help you keep your cat healthy. If you suspect that your cat has worms, examine its fecal matter. Many times worms in the cats intestines tend to pass through fecal matter. If you see worms, then it is important to bag it up and take it to the vet so he can properly diagnose your cat.Treatment
Deworming your cat requires the administration of specific medication. Different worms require different medication and you have to consult from your vet along with a prescription. Be precise when administering the medicine and always stick to the prescription and timeline given. Most worms are treated with oral medication that is available over the counter or through a prescription. Oral medication is the most recommended form of treatment but your cat may not be willing to take them. To ensure that they do, make them feel comfortable, wrap them in a blanket and then administer the medication. This will keep them calm and you will be protected if they try to scratch you. Once they swallow, give them treats and praise them for co-operating.When you visit a vet, they usually recommend a time period after which you have to get you cats checked again. This is to make sure that the medication is working and it is important to go for the secondary check-up.Prevention
Worms are not a one-time deal, they recur regularly. Vets typically prescribe medication that needs to be administered either bi-weekly or monthly. It is important to stick to the given schedule. Keeping your cat indoors is also a solution, especially if you live in a bad neighborhood. Ticks and fleas could also lead to worms so make sure to keep your cat's toys, bed, feeding bowl and litter box clean.