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Parasitic worms might not be something you want to think about, but they are incredibly common in most animals, and cats are no exception. Worms can be so common in kittens that many people wonder if kittens were just born with worms, like puppies. So, are kittens born with worms?
Most kittens are not born with worms. If a kitten’s mother had worms during birth, your kitten may have been infected during or shortly after birth. Some kittens will likely get worms at some point during the first few months of life, especially if they live with other cats.
There is always a risk of your cat getting worms, and it may be a good idea to have them checked out if you suspect they might have an infection. Many responsible cat breeders and owners treat kittens for worms even if they show no signs of infection.
Treatment can help ensure that your kitten is getting all the nutrients it needs, so it’s understandable to be a little proactive. Here’s what you need to know about parasitic worms in kittens.
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Common worms in kittens
The most common type of parasitic worm in kittens is ringworm. In some cases, your cat can also get a tapeworm or hookworm infection, which can be a bit more serious. All of these worm infections are treated, however.
It’s best to try to catch worm infections early, no matter what type of worms your kitten is carrying. This is one of the reasons why treatment is often proactive; testing to determine the type of worm can slow things down and is usually not necessary to help your kitten get healthy.
There are other parasitic worms, but infections tend to be somewhat less common.
Of course, if your kitten is still showing signs of a parasitic infection after being treated with a dewormer, it’s best to consult your vet for next steps. It is essential that your kitten is seen and treated as soon as possible, as some infections can cause permanent damage and other serious conditions can mimic a worm infection.
What types of worms are kittens born with?
Not all kittens are born with worms, although some are. It can be hard to tell if your kitten was born with worms or not, which is one of the reasons many people treat with a wormer even if there are no signs of infection.
If your kitten was born with worms, chances are she will have a ringworm or hookworm infection. But, the truth is, your kitten can get any infection from its mother. If your kitten was born in a den with other cats, she could pick up infections from those cats as well.
Thus, kittens can be born with any worm that is in the environment around them, although ringworm and hookworm infections are usually the most common.
The type of worm infections you need to treat can also vary depending on where you live. There are many types of parasitic worms, and each area has a slightly different distribution among the animals and pets that live there.
Below is a chart showing some of the more dangerous types of worms your kitten could be infected with:
How to tell if a kitten has worms
Knowing if your kittens have worms is one of the biggest challenges if you don’t want to give them unnecessary dewormers.
One of the clearest signs of worms is if you spot the parasites while your kitten is going to the bathroom or in her poo. Unfortunately, worms can be difficult to spot once your kitten’s feces have dried, making them harder to find if your kitten uses a litter box properly.
There are other signs that your kitten has worms, but it’s important not to assume there are worms every time you see these symptoms. Indeed, these symptoms can all occur if your kitten is not getting the nutrition it needs, if it has a mild allergic reaction to something in the environment, or even just because of stress or growth.
Only by paying close attention to your kitten and noticing patterns in her needs and behavior can you rule out other causes for your cat’s symptoms.
Signs of worms in cats:
Here are some of the most common symptoms of worms in cats.
- Low energy or sudden fatigue
- Unexplained weight loss (or gain)
- eat more than usual
Along with looking for visible worms in your kitten’s feces or while she goes to the bathroom, you should also check her bed. In some cases, you can find worms in their favorite bedding or anywhere they go to relax for several hours at a time.
Do all kittens have worms
Not all kittens get worms, but enough of them do that it’s worth taking some basic precautions to help keep your kitten healthy. Making sure your kitten has plenty of food and water and giving him deworming treatments can help ensure he doesn’t have any adverse health effects from parasitic worms.
Although not all kittens have worms, most kittens will have them at some point in their lives. They can even catch worms more than once, which is why it’s so important to give them regular treatments to support their health.
How to deworm a kitten
The easiest way to deworm a kitten is to use medication that you give her by mouth. There are over-the-counter cat dewormers suitable for kittens, or you can get one from your veterinarian. You can even take your kitten to the vet and have it dewormed instead of doing it at home if you wish.
Most oral kitten medications are flavored, so your kitten can take the medication of her own accord. Alternatively, you can use a small plastic syringe to push the medicine directly into his mouth.
Accurate measuring of dewormers is essential. Too much medication can make your cat sick and cause a host of medical issues. Too little dewormer, and it might not work, and may even make it more difficult to treat your kitten’s worm infection in the future.
The exact amount of dewormer you need depends on the brand of medication and your kitten’s weight. If you’re not taking your kitten to the vet for deworming, the easiest way to measure your kitten’s weight is usually with a kitchen scale.
Once you know your kitten’s weight, you’ll need to do some simple math to get the right dosage.
Some drugs are effective in a single dose. However, some medications may require you to give your kitten several doses to be effective.
Can kittens transmit worms to humans
Yes. If your kitten is infected with worms, it is possible that she will pass the infection on to you.
No, don’t panic. For one thing, it’s no guarantee that kittens will give you worms just because they have them. Most worms must have some mode of transmission to move between organisms, such as contact with your food or your face, which is unlikely in most situations.
One of the most common ways cats get worms is when children play in outdoor sandboxes where kittens have gone to the toilet. Worms, or more likely eggs, can enter the child’s digestive tract and settle there.
However, even a possible infection is not a guarantee that you will be infected. This is because your immune system has a reasonable chance of catching the infection and stopping it before the worms can take hold. This means that you shouldn’t worry too much about worms, even if you are treating your kitten for them.
However, if you notice that you are losing weight unexpectedly or are starting to have digestive upset or abdominal pain after noticing your kitten has worms, you may want to get yourself checked out.
Fortunately, most parasitic worm infections can be treated in humans, just like in kittens.
Things to consider
Most of the time, worms are not life threatening, but they can be in severe cases. It is much better to intervene early in a case of worms than to let it get worse, especially since not all parasitic worms remain in the digestive tract of their host animals.
The younger your kitten is when it catches worms, the more dangerous it can be. This is because young kittens often cannot be treated with a dewormer safely and serious infections can lead to malnutrition. Fortunately, most infections don’t get that bad before your kitten can be treated, but it’s worth keeping an eye out to make sure you take your kitten to a vet if their case gets worse.
If you have young children in the house with worms, you may want to keep your kitten and children separate until you can treat your kitten. That’s because you never know when a toddler might decide to get into the litter box and get infected.