I have five cats that live on the farm – Snowy, Fluffy, Snowball, Spot and Stripe. They have been brought up to live outside and can therefore easily pick up parasites from their environment.
Parasitic worms are easily picked up from the farm environment because cats instinctively hunt and eat infected prey. Although my cats are fed twice daily, they still like to supplement their diet with small rodents, birds and young rabbits which may be infected with parasites.
Worms live in the cat’s gut and other parts of their bodies. If not treated these parasites can cause;
- Weight loss.
- Abdominal pain.
- Adbominal swelling.
- Blood in faeces.
A regular deworming routine is important, particularly with outdoor cats.
- Deworming should begin when kittens are 4 weeks (when they start to eat solid food).
- From 4 weeks kittens should be dewormed every 2/3 weeks until they are 3 months old.
- From 3 months kittens can be dewormed once every month until 3/6 months old.
- After your cat is 6 months old they can be dewormed at least once or twice a year for indoor cats and from 2 to 4 times a year for outdoor cats.
My cats being outdoor cats are not completely used to humans and although they recognise me and are quite friendly to me (even allowing me to stroke them – and on occasions Spot will let me pick him up for a short time!), I am always aware that they have not had as much handling as indoor cats would have. Their aloof and wary nature can sometimes make administering medicine and flea sprays rather difficult.
There are different ways of deworming cats but due to the nature of my cats I normally put medicine in their food. My only concern about this method is the amount of medicine that each cat may get can vary as they like to share bowls. It is difficult therefore to gauge how much each cat has had.
Recently I found a liquid dewormer which can be squeezed onto the back of the cats neck. I tried it out last week and the cats did not run away when I placed the liquid on their neck. I am hopeful that I will be able to use this regularly to help treat the cats for worms. Now I just need to find something similar to combat fleas. Snowy runs away when she sees me with the aerosol can of flea spray, as they say, once sprayed, twice shy!!