What if my cat has worms

Worms in cats: the intestinal worms

The best-known representatives of intestinal worms are probably the tapeworms. But there are many other species that colonize cats' intestines. We briefly introduce you to the different worms in cats:

Roundworms

Roundworms (Toxocara cati) live in the cat's small intestine and feed on the food pulp. This is where the female roundworms lay up to 200,000 eggs a day. These end up in the large intestine with the non-usable food residues and are finally excreted in the cat's feces.

Roundworm eggs are infectious four to six weeks after excretion. If the cat ingests these via contaminated objects or infected intermediate hosts (such as mice), larvae hatch from the roundworm eggs in the cat's intestine. The cycle begins again.

Hookworms

Hookworms (Uncinaria stenocephala, Ancylostoma tubaeforme or Ancylostoma braziliense) also belong to the intestinal worms. They attach themselves to the cat's intestines and feed on their blood there.

The hookworm eggs are also excreted in the cat's feces. In contrast to the roundworms, the larvae hatch outside the host organism.

Infectious larvae usually enter the cat's body orally - either directly or through ingestion of infected intermediate hosts. But they can also actively penetrate the body through the skin. In addition, the hookworms can be transmitted to kittens through breast milk.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms (Ecchinococcus) live in the cat's small intestine. Like a chain, tapeworms consist of individual links (so-called proglottids). The tapeworm constantly forms new "chain links" in the neck area.

In return, it loses mature proglottids at its end, which can contain up to 100,000 tapeworm eggs, depending on the type of tapeworm. These are excreted in the cat's feces.

There are different types of tapeworm that can infect cats, including the fox tapeworm (Ecchinococcus multilocularis) and the dog tapeworm (Ecchinococcus granulosus).

Symptoms can differ depending on the type of tapeworm. In some species, the proglottids actively migrate out of the intestine and are not excreted in the feces. This leads to itching in the anal area. To alleviate this, the affected cats may "go sledding". This means that they slide their bottom across the floor.