Most Common Parasites in Cats
Parasites are nasty organism that can be found practically everywhere, but some are more common and threatening than others. Let’s take a look at the most common parasites in cats, as well as insects that play a role in infestations and why they are a problem.
Biting (Bloodsucking) Parasites
- Fleas are relentless organisms and probably the most common parasite in the cat world
- Mosquitoes are vectors, that is, they can transmit parasites from one animal or plant to another
- Ticks are potent disease vectors that can live for several years; young, sick and senior cats are most at risk.
Non-biting (Non-bloodsucking) Parasites
- Ear mites are most commonly seen in cats and can lead to ear infection, itching and scratching
- Burrowing mites cause mange which is highly contagious and causes great discomfort
- The cat roundworm is one of the most common and serious threats for cats. These parasites steal nutrients, cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even anaemia
- Adult roundworms live in the small intestines.
- Female roundworms can lay up to 300 000 eggs which make their way into the environment by travelling in the faeces of infested cats. The eggs become infective after 2 to 3 weeks and then stay alive and infective for up to 5 years!
- Hookworms are common internal parasites that pose a serious threat to cats, especially kittens; diarrhoea, pale gums and tarry stools are warning signs to look out for; unfortunately anaemia and death are possible outcomes
- Hookworms attach to the intestinal lining.
- Hookworm infection can be transmitted to humans.
- Tapeworms are transmitted through the ingestion of infected fleas or rodents
- Tapeworms can potentially infect children if they ingest infected fleas (not common)
- Infestation can cause abdominal pain, weight loss and nausea
- Tapeworms live in the small intestines.
- Cats can get lungworm by ingesting infected prey; this parasite can gradually damage lung tissue or the airway by causing an inflammatory reaction
Speak to your veterinarian about the best parasite protection for your pets.