Sunday, 26 May 2024


5 May 2021

The term "parasite" usually brings to mind tapeworms, fleas or ticks. However, it applies to any living organism living at the expense of another. Therefore, parasites also include fungi, bacteria, protozoa and viruses. Parasites are also divided into internal and external.

Internal parasites of cats
Endoparasites are internal parasites of cats that occur inside their bodies. They can even attack internal organs and destroy healthy cells. Parasites can also lodge in the digestive tract of the animal.


The most common internal parasites are worms. They are found in the intestines and feed on food. The result of their presence can be anemia and even death in kittens. The most common forms of worms found in cats are of course tapeworms. They have specialized in their lifestyle to such an extent that they have no digestive tract, hence they feed using the entire surface of their body, which is long and divided into many fragments. Tapeworms are hermaphrodites, they have sets of male and female organs and the terminal parts contain eggs which are excreted in the faeces. In order for tapeworms to develop, an intermediate host is needed in whose body the larvae hatch from the eggs.


Two species of tapeworms are most common among cats: the feline tapeworm (its intermediate host is rodents) and the dog tapeworm (the dog is the intermediate host). Cats that spend all their time indoors have no opportunity to become infected with the feline tapeworm, as infection only occurs after ingestion of an infected mouse or rat. In contrast, the dog tapeworm is transmitted by fleas that attack even the most well-mannered pets.

Other parasites that attack cats are roundworms. These are sexually separable worms. Female roundworms lay up to thousands of eggs, excreting them with the feces. In the case of roundworms, there is no intermediate host, for this reason a cat can become infected by eating their eggs. But this is not the only way. Before the roundworm larvae turn into an adult that lives in the intestines, they travel throughout the cat's body, even getting into the milk that is produced. And it is through this that a cat can infect her babies. Unfortunately, it is usually difficult to notice that a cat has worms. This can be indicated by symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation, reduced body weight, blood in the feces, a distended abdomen or general weakness. It may be misleading that such symptoms accompany also other diseases. Therefore, if we have not observed worms in the feces, to find out if the cat is infected, the only method remains to examine its feces at the vet.


Prevention is the basis for the treatment of worms. This involves deworming our cats at least every six months, even if they have not been found to have parasites. It is also necessary to use anthelmintics regularly. It is worth remembering that the risk of worm infection is much lower in cats which are fed only dry food and those which do not go outside.