Parasite Prevention

See more content in:
Parasite Prevention for Your Cat
Click to view larger

Parasite control is an integral part of your cat’s wellness program and year-round preventive care is essential. Parasites affect your cat’s health and some, referred to as “zoonotic parasites,” are transmissible to people as well.

For example, flea infestation prevention for your cat can protect the entire family from “cat scratch disease,” caused by the Bartonella bacteria, which is carried by fleas. Another important zoonotic parasite to be aware of is roundworm, which can cause vision impairment and blindness in people. An annual control plan for both external and internal parasites not only protects your cat, but you and your family members as well.

Types of Parasites

Parasites fall into two general categories, internal and external. Some of the most common types of parasites are fleas, mites, ticks, roundworms, tapeworms, and heartworms.

What You Need to Know

  • The type of parasites that are most important to focus on for your cat will depend on your cat’s age, lifestyle, seasonality, and where you live.
  • It’s important to note that even indoor cats need parasite prevention since there are many ways parasites can enter your home, such as via insects.
  • All kittens require a schedule of parasite treatments since they are at increased risk.
  • Adult cats also require regular treatment based on individual risk factors.
  • Your veterinarian will work with you to determine the best approach for your cat based on lifestyle and geographic factors. In many areas, a year-round plan is the best approach for cats of all ages.

Prevention Treatments

Fortunately, there are a variety of safe and effective products on the market that are easy to apply to your cat and many will treat more than one type of parasite. Most parasite treatment and prevention products are applied topically through:

  • Collars
  • Sprays
  • Spot-on formulations

Why Does My Indoor-Only Cat Need Parasite Prevention?

  • Parasites are everywhere and reside quite happily inside and on our treasured cats.
  • The reality is that many cats have very fluid lifestyles—they might spend most of their time indoors, but occasionally sun themselves on the back porch, live with animal housemates who go outdoors, or they go outside when their caregivers vacation at the beach cottage. And while there are true indoor-only house cats, they frequently enjoy killing and consuming bugs. Insects can serve as transport or intermediate hosts for some of the more common intestinal parasites.
  • Anyone who’s been plagued by a buzzing mosquito or housefly knows how easily flying insects can gain access to even the most well-secured house.
  • Heated, humidified homes can also be terrific breeding grounds for fleas, as well as a place of refuge for flea-carrying rodents.
  • Exposure can happen when shoes and other clothing covered in contaminants fresh from the parasite reservoir are worn indoors.
  • All of these instances create an opportunity for parasite exposure in a typical house cat.

Kittens

  • There is tremendous opportunity to prevent harm to your kitten by getting her dewormed.
  • Kittens are frequently infected by intestinal parasites, and are prone to reinfection, which can occur during nursing and through her environment.
  • To compound matters, kittens often harbor immature forms of parasites, which can escape the effects of treatments and confound diagnostic tests.
  • Intestinal parasites, such as tapeworms, can also wreak havoc on your kitten’s organ systems.