Your cat’s age and lifestyle will determine how often they need to be treated for parasites (eg) cat’s who never go outdoors or the master hunters. There are many common parasites which affect our cats:
Internal ( live inside our pets):
- Roundworms: 1 in 4 domestic cats that go outdoors are infected and shedding eggs into the environment. Roundworms live in our cat’s intestines and feed on blood or the food that your pet has eaten. This is often the reason why your cat eats a lot but remains thin or has poor coat condition. Your cat may or may not show signs of illness but the major concern is that these worms pose a threat to humans. Toxacara Cati can cause ill health and even blindness in people, with children being particularly at risk because they often play on the floor, in soil or in sandpits, where worm eggs may be found. Elderly people, pregnant women and immuno-compromised individuals should also take special care.
- Tapeworms: Cats can become infected with tapeworm by eating rodents ( mice / rats ) or other carriers ( birds / rabbits ) and you may not know this, but some can be transmitted by fleas! Because cats love to spend many hours grooming themselves, they are more likely to swallow fleas which then develop into tapeworms in the gut. This may also be the reason why you do not see fleas in/on your cat’s fur and why it is equally as important to treat for fleas every month. They are hunters by nature and catching and eating prey makes them a particular risk of tapeworm, which live in their intestines and can cause your cat’s appetite to vary.
To protect all members of the family, furry or otherwise, it is important to treat for worms on a regular basis ALL YEAR ROUND!
*Indoor cats: 4 times a year ( every 3 months )
*Access to outdoors cats: 4-12 times a year ( ideally every 4-6 weeks if they hunt a lot )
*Multipet Household: 12 times a year ( every month )
*Contact with children: 12 times a year ( every month )
*Travelling Cats: 12 times a year ( every month )
*Unweaned kittens: Every 2 weeks
*Kitten ( to 6 months old ): Monthly
*Cats fed raw meat: 12 times a year ( every month )
* ESCCAP Guideline 01 Second Edition.
Often it can be difficult to administer a worm pill to your cat and they are extremely clever at detecting them in their food, making them even more fussy than usual!
However, there are spot-on treatments which can be easier to apply, causing less stress to both you and your cat/s.
External ( live on our pets ):
- Fleas: Flea infestation is an all-year-round risk for pets. Fleas are active even in winter! They can be picked up by your cat just by being outdoors and we can introduce them into our home environment on our clothing or footwear, putting your indoor cat at risk also. Only 5% of fleas live on your pet, the other 95% live in the environment! Fleas are the #1 cause of skin disease in cats & dogs. They bite our pets to feed on their blood, which can cause significant skin reactions and can potentially cause anaemia ( lack of red blood cells ) in heavy infestations.Fleas can bite our pets up to 400 times per day and suck up to 15 times their own weight in blood! After a blood meal, female fleas lay eggs ( up to 50 eggs per day! ) These eggs are shed into the environment, including your home ( in carpets, rugs, sofas ). Flea infestations can get rapidly out of control due to the sheer volume of eggs and if routine preventative treatment is not used on your pet and an infestation is established, fleas will take at least 3 months to eliminate! Fleas can bite people causing small itchy red dots on our skin but they will not live on us, thankfully!
- Ticks: Are members of the spider family, they are blood-sucking external parasites which survive by drinking the blood of their host ( your cat or dog ). They are wingless and do not fly. They are tiny before they feed and can be hidden in your pets fur. In a recent survey of Irish cat owners, almost 1 in 4 cat owners have seen a tick on their pet. They can often go unnoticed for up to several days, making them excellent carriers of disease. Ticks transmit serious disease to pets and humans. Cats which are bitten by infected ticks can develop Anaplasmosis. The ticks that transmit this disease are found in Europe and in the Southern & Northwestern United States. Only a few tick species exist in Ireland. However, if you travel abroad with your cat, you will need to include tick control in your parasite regime.
It has never been easier to protect your cat(s), yourself and your family from these harmful parasites, however we often forget that they need regular protection or are unaware of the potential of these parasites to harm our own health. Not only are these parasites uncomfortable for our pets but they are likely to cause them illness.
We can now offer spot-ons, which make it easier to administer, some of these will give 12 weeks protection against some of the above pests. With most spot-ons, the flea or tick needs to bite the animal before they die. Now there are smart flea and tick collars available ( only available from your Vets ) which offer up to 8 months protection! These collars not only kill ticks and fleas but they also repel ticks. They are ‘anti-feeding’ which means that a flea does not require to bite the animal to be killed, and the ticks are often prevented from biting due to the collar’s speed of kill. Thus reducing the incidence of skin problems and disease transmission!
Why not start the year with a parasite control plan for your cat(s) and ask us today about the products available to suit your pet’s needs. Remember, prevention is better than cure!