Intestinal tapeworms and roundworms are very common in kittens and adult cats in Kenya. Unless they have a very heavy worm infestation most infected cats show no ill effects,but heavy worm burdens can cause irritation around the anus, enlarged abdomen, weight loss and vomiting and diarrhoea (sometimes containing worms). Some worms can also infect people so regular deworming is vital for feline and human health.
At some point, most cats will become infected with an internal parasite. Most often it occurs when they are kittens, and the most common form they face are the dreaded roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms. Because they can be life-threatening, you should treat them as quickly as possible.
How to know if your cat has worms
If you are a seasoned cat owner, then you are probably able to tell when your cat is infected with worms. But for the benefit of our rookie cat owner friends, let us look at some of the symptoms that will tell you that some parasites have infected your Kitty.
- Diarrhea: This could result from a number of infections, worms being among them. Worms cause running fecal matter too. A distinguishing feature could be the presence of blood spots on the excretes. The worms puncture the intestinal walls hence the blood.
- Vomiting: Roundworms potentially causes vomiting in your cat. They are not the only cause of vomiting in cats though. If you see your cat always running to her toilet to vomit, you should not automatically conclude that it is worms that are causing that. I believe you are not that clumsy or dumb.
- A closer examination of the vomit will reveal the cause. Listen here pal, you will not like examining your cat’s vomit, but you have to do it. Roundworms will be present if they are the reason for vomiting.
- Retarded growth: Kittens with worms have this tendency of never growing up. You could think the gods of the cats had placed a curse on the poor kitten, not knowing that the culprits are having their sweet time inside her tummy.
Step by step instructions on how to deworm a cat or kitten yourself at home:
Deworming your cat is not a straightforward maneuver as you might think. Your cat will not roll over and invite you to get over with it. This is unless of course the cat is too overwhelmed with the worms. This procedure will make it much easier for you and your cat to get the job done.
1. Get her the prescription
You should get the medication from the vet and administer it yourself. Most of the worm prescriptions are pills. However, others can be tablets, chewable, capsules, liquids, granules or topicals.
2. Prepare the prescription
Once your vet “Okays” the medication, prepare to take the war to the worms when you get home.
The too familiar phrase, “shake well before use” comes into play here if the medication is liquid or topical. As you do this, keep the medication away from the cat’s sight. Remember when we were kids and would disappear when we sighted mom preparing to give us medicine? your cat/kitten behaves the exact same way.
3. Calm her down
Before administering the oral medication, ensure your cat is calm. The process is tricky enough, so you need a happy kitten held in your lap. You will not medicate the cat when she is all jumpy and frightened as hell.
4. Wrap her up
This is just a precautionary measure though in case your cat is unpredictable. Your cat can still show her true colors even though you may think you know her inside out. I wouldn’t trust my cat that much either. Use a small blanket, towel or a pillowcase to wrap up the cat, leaving only the head exposed.
At the first chance, the cat will not hesitate to scratch and believe me; those paws are no joke, my friend. She should not be wrapped too tightly though. Suffocation is deadlier than worms anyway. If you trust your cat to be of good behavior, you can avoid wrapping her altogether. This eases her anxiety.
5. Properly hold the cat
The success of the whole operation will depend on how the cat is held. This entails the whole body as well as the head. The recommended position is between or on your legs. Preferably, have another person help you here.
For pills or tablet medication, it gets quite interesting. Getting her to open her mouth and swallow the pill will be a headache. To do this, have your forefinger placed on one side of the cat’s mouth and the thumb on the other side.
Gently push open the cat’s mouth. Caution can never be overemphasized here. Your cunny friend might bite you if she feels threatened.
6. Tilt the head back
With extreme calmness, while still applying pressure on the cat’s stomach to open, tilt the cat’s head backward. The mouth should be open just enough for the tablet to get in. An effective way of doing it is to use the thumb to press down the lower jaw as the other finger lifts the upper jaw.
7. Give the medication
Once you have opened the mouth big enough, place the pill, tablet or capsule in. If it is a liquid medication, squeeze it inside the cat’s mouth. With the head still tilted backward, allow the cat to close the mouth.
Help the cat swallow the medication by gently rubbing its throat up and down. This initiates the swallowing process. Let the cat maintain the same position; head back and mouth closed until the medication is swallowed.
8. Compliment her
Affection and delicious treats do the trick. Treats help her associate deworming with fun and not some roughing up moments like an exorcism. Then let her go. Did I mention that you need to unwrap her? Well, you shouldn’t have waited to be reminded.
She may be pissed off for a couple of minutes, but she’ll be fine. She is a big girl. Besides, cats normally don’t have that ill motive to revenge and do some bad things to their owners.
Regularly deworming your cat/kitten is one of the best cat care rituals you should inculcate. It is not too complicated, provided you make the cat feel comfortable and make her a treat after that. Next time she will readily comply. There are exceptions though; some rude cats from hell will make you swear never to try deworming them yourself. Your vet will come in handy in such cases.
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