Health & Well-being

Cat with worms

Which Types Of Worms Affect Cats?

Worms are gross. Cat's don't want them and neither do we. Arming yourself with the knowledge of their appearance and effects is the best way to ensure you spot infestations early and get the treatment required before they transmit to others.

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It’s a common misconception that cats are tougher than us humans and feel less pain, but this isn’t true. Cats have a similar pain threshold to us lot, and the misconception arises from their reluctance to look vulnerable by displaying weakness.

Caring for a cat involves regularly checking for injuries, illnesses and parasite infestations.

Cats are susceptible to a vast range of conditions that many owners wouldn’t know how to spot. Symptoms often manifest in different forms and seriousness depending on your cat and the severity of the condition but there are almost always some telltale signs something is up.

What symptoms and signs do I need to look our for?

Each cat responds to pains and irritations differently to the next. It is generally advised that any sudden changes in behavior or appetite are raised with your veterinarian in order to rule out any underlying illnesses.

With that said, there are a few prominent behavior patterns you can keep an eye out for. Here’s a quick overview of some prominent symptoms and the underlying issues that usually lead to them.

Excessive Grooming

Cats are naturally very clean animals. Any owner will notice they groom regularly in order to keep their coat health in check and remove dead fur.

Obsessive grooming can be a symptom of a few disorders such as skin irritations and allergies, though it is most commonly associated with parasite infestation.

If your cat is suffering from a flea problem then you can expect to see frequent and erratic grooming happening more and more regularly as the infestation worsens.

Worms can be treated with deworming medication. It’s often hard to spot an infestation due to the varying effects different types of worms have on cats’ health.

Some of best cat dewormers can tackle all three of the most common worms; roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms.

Increased thirst and urination frequency

Seeing an increase in water consumption and passing water can be a symptom of diabetes in cats. If you also notice a more ferocious appetite, it could be a sign that they aren’t able to absorb the nutrients that their diet provides.

Left untreated it can lead to weight loss, dehydration and depression in a short space of time.

More serious long term effects can affect their movement and even result in diabetic comas and subsequent death. It’s super important you get your cat checked out if their appetite takes a sudden turn in either direction.

Inability to urinate despite frequent attempts

Pain while urinating in cats is almost always caused by an infection of the lower urinary tract. You may notice they make frequent trips to the litter box without managing to pass urine, and even cry out while trying.

It’s a relatively common problem that can be solved swiftly with a combination of medication from your vet and an appropriate diet change.

Excessive shedding

Shedding can be caused by a wide variety of disorders or irritations. If you’ve changed anything in your grooming routine recently, such as new shampoo or flea collar, it’s best to try eliminating that first.

Allergies or bacterial infections can lead to patches of fur falling out and a thin, ragged looking coat.

It’s vital you get any hair loss problems examined immediately by a vet to rule out more serious causes and get the issue addressed quickly.

Can Supplements Improve Cat Health?

The answer depends entirely on the problem you’re trying to solve. Many supplements do indeed offer benefits to cat health when used correctly.

As a general rule it’s advisable that you try and work any naturally occurring nutrients into their diet in a natural way.

This could be by changing their food to something more nutritionally complete, or to a food that’s specially formulated to prevent or alleviate specific issues such as tract infections or hairball frequency.

Some cat food supplements such as Lycine have essentially had their benefits “debunked” by numerous studies, so their effectiveness is definitely something under question.

You should discuss any supplement options you consider with your veterinarian and see if they think they’re worthwhile.

Fleas & Flea Control

Discovering a flea infestation either on your cat or in your home can cause a headache to say the least. It’s natural to dread the drawn out process of combating fleas and ticks, and even the expense that many flea treatments for cats incur.

Your best hope to minimize both the effort required and the expense is to gain a good understanding of how flea infestations are best handled and what treatments work best for the different stages of a flea’s life cycle.

Spotting a flea infestation

Looking for cat fleas

The hustle and bustle of daily life makes it easy for fleas to sneak into your cat’s coat or your carpets at home without you noticing immediately.

One of the first signs that you are likely to notice is erratic behavior from your cat. If they suddenly stop walking to bite or scratch themselves vigorously then they are probably harboring fleas or ticks.

If you regularly groom your cat you may also notice flea dirt or eggs in the loose fur.

Controlling fleas in your home

Once you’re aware of a flea infestation, it’s time to act. The sooner you get to grips with the issue at hand, the easier and less costly it will be. Fleas should be simultaneously removed from your cat and your household, so they have nowhere to hide.

Controlling fleas is an ongoing process since cats are prone to re-infestation at any point

Many cat flea treatments offer ongoing protection against fleas that make this easier, but it still requires some manual effort on your part.

Removing fleas from the surrounding environment

Fleas around the home

Fleas will settle everywhere that your cat frequently visits. If your cat has a bed, or any fabric areas where they sleep often, then those will need to be thoroughly washed.

If you have carpet floors, they’ll be dormant there too. A combination of regular hoovering and the use of a spray can help remove them from carpets and linens.

There are flea sprays for cats available that are suitable for use on both the surrounding area and on your cat itself, but it’s always super important you read the labels beforehand to make sure they’re safe.

Follow the instructions carefully on any flea sprays and make sure you apply it to all the areas of your home that are infested.

Removing fleas from your cat

There are several options out there to rid your cat of fleas effectively, some work quickly while others offer mid to long term protection against re-infestation.

Cat being groomed for fleas

For the fast removal of fleas, a topical treatment is recommended. These make use of a number of insecticides that work to paralyze adult fleas and inhibit growth in young fleas, essentially ending the entire life-cycle.

Topical treatments have active ingredients that can be quite potent, so discuss these with your vet before taking action.

Although they aren’t quite as popular as they used to be, flea collars still pack a punch when used properly. With a flea collar it’s important to manage your expectations. They aren’t going to blow all the fleas out of your cats’ fur and the surrounding home furniture, but rather gradually release chemicals that repel fleas and reduce the chances of them settling in the first place.

Some offer benefits for as long as 8 months, so they can be quite cost effective as a preventative measure rather than a treatment if you find they work well for you.

Collars and spot on treatments tend to be the most common products used to tackle fleas, but you can also use a combination of sprays and oral capsules depending on the severity of the infestation.

As always, discus any active ingredients with your vet before using them.

Keeping cat fleas off your cat

Aside from flea collars that repel using chemicals, keeping your cat’s coat well groomed and free of debris with more natural approaches can work wonders to stop fleas settling.

Brushing or combing with any tool will provide a benefit, but you’ll see more of a benefit using special flea comb. These are typically very inexpensive, and with regular use can stop adult fleas settling in your cat’s coat before things get out of hand.

Stay vigilant in the home. If you spot a flea on any linen or in your carpets, consider respraying to ensure they can’t remain dormant in the carpets, ready and waiting to jump back on your cat and thrive as soon as they’re able.

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