When your new cat arrives home with you, your first task and mission will be to remove any parasites. You will be calmer knowing that they are not suffering the presence of these annoying guests, which can have a negative effect on their health. And, what’s more, that there is no risk of them being transferred to anyone in the family or in the house, especially children and elderly people.
There are several modes of contagion or transmission of parasites in cats. One of these is through the mother’s milk, when kittens can ingest the larvae of parasites whilst nursing. Another means of contagion is contaminated foods, and this usually arises when cats hunt and eat mice or birds. The penetration of larvae through their skin is also common.
External parasites are transmitted, on the other hand, by contact. This is the case with fleas, whose larvae and eggs can be found everywhere.
Never use parasite removal or other products formulated for dogs on a cat.
Internal parasites usually take up residence in the intestine, where they feed and reproduce. Worms, tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms… they are fought using drops, syrups or tablets prescribed by a vet.
A very common symptom in kittens is that their abdomen is too bloated compared to the rest of their body. In adults it is exaggerated thinness without any obvious cause, even though the cat is eating normally. Parasites make your cat feel listless and even make them look ill.
You will know that your cat has fleas if they are constantly and insistently scratching themselves, and you will be able to see a black residue on the surface of their skin – this is the fleas’ faeces.
With ticks, the best thing will be to visit your vet. However, if you are not able to take them, apply oil or alcohol to the tick, then wait a few seconds for it to be debilitated and remove it with tweezers, pulling gently so as to take out the whole body and not leave the head and feet under the skin.
As a general rule, cats should be cleansed of their parasites from the second or third week of life. From then onwards, it is advisable to remove any parasites from them every 3 or 4 months, throughout their whole life.
There are collars on the market that prevent contagion with fleas in the animal that wears one, but they should not be used for cats under 4 months of age. Under no circumstances should collars or products designed for dogs be used on cats.