If your cat has ever suffered from fleas or worms, you will know how irritating these parasites can be and how difficult infections can be to treat. However, preventing fleas and worms is easy if you keep up to date with your cat’s routine flea and worm treatments. You could always consider signing up for a preventative flea and worm subscription plan to ensure that your cat is always protected.

Why should I be concerned about fleas and worms?

Flea and worm infections are common in untreated cats, so why should you be worried about your cat becoming infected? 

  • Infection can make your cat unwell and can require veterinary treatment. 
  • Other pets in your house can potentially become infected by certain parasites, especially fleas.
  • Fleas and worms can be difficult to treat, as reinfections can occur. 
  • Some parasites are zoonotic and can potentially cause you and your family to be unwell, especially if a member of your family is immunocompromised. 

All cats can get fleas and worms, but those who go outdoors and hunt are at a greater risk of becoming infected, so speak to your vet about the ideal frequency for treating your cat to keep them protected. 

How do fleas affect my cat?

Fleas are small skin parasites that only jump onto your cat to feed. They spend most of the time in the environment, often inside your house. This means that you may not see fleas on your cat, but instead, you will commonly see flea dirt left behind on your cat’s coat. Your cat may also show signs of being itchy, and some cats can develop severe skin lesions that will require treatment from your vets. 

In severe infestations, fleas can cause your cat to become anaemic and seriously unwell. For these cats, fleas can sometimes be fatal, especially if the cat is young or already unwell. 

What is the treatment for fleas?

Fleas can be difficult to treat because not only do you need to treat your cat with a suitable flea product, but you also need to treat any fleas living in your house. To treat your house you will need to use an insecticide spray in every room your cat has access to. All bedding and soft furnishings where your cat sleeps will also need to be hot washed regularly. 

All other pets in your household will also need to be treated with an appropriate flea product to prevent them from becoming infected. You must make sure that the flea treatment you use is suitable for each pet – ask your vets or SQP prescriber if you are unsure.

If you think that your cat has an established flea infestation, your vets can give you further advice on the best way to treat your pet. 

How do worms affect my cat?

Cats are commonly infected with worms if they hunt and eat infected prey. Though, every cat can get worms if they accidentally ingest a worm egg or larvae found in the environment. Kittens can also get worms through their mother’s milk, so they require worming treatments from a young age to prevent illness. 

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There are several types of worms that can infect cats; 

  • Roundworm – Common 
  • Tapeworm- Common 
  • Hookworms – more common in certain countries 
  • Lungworm – Becoming increasingly common in the UK 
  • Heartworm – Rare in the UK 

Some worms can infect your cat without you realising, while others will make your cat unwell. Sometimes the only way you know your cat has worms is if they pass a worm in their faeces or vomit. 

Signs of worms are often vague but can include; 

  • Weight loss
  • Change in appetite
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Kittens can have a ‘pot-bellied’ rounded tummy appearance 

If you are concerned that your cat is showing signs of worms, contact your vet for more advice. 

How are worms treated?

If your cat has worms, your vet or an SQP will give your pet an appropriate worming treatment. This might be a tablet or a spot-on skin treatment.  

Fleas can potentially infect your cat with tapeworm if your cat accidentally ingests an infected flea. So, if your cat has tapeworm, your vet might also recommend using a regular flea treatment to prevent reinfection. 

Your vet will also check the health of your pet, as your cat might need additional treatment if they are showing signs of being unwell. 

Can worms infect people?

It is uncommon for the worms that infect your cat to also infect people, but young children and immunocompromised people are the most vulnerable to this type of infection.  

Roundworm infection is rare but most frequently affects children. If children become infected, the roundworms can potentially migrate around the body and cause blindness if the eyes are affected. 

For peace of mind, it is safest to keep your cat up to date with their worming treatments, especially if you have children.

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How can I prevent my cat from getting fleas and worms?

Parasite treatments come in various formulations, making it easy to keep your cat protected against fleas and worms.

Treatment options include;

  • Tablets
  • Spot on skin treatments 
  • Medicated collars 

Your vets or an SQP prescriber will help you decide on the best preventative flea and worm treatments for your cat, as some treatments protect against a combination of parasites. All treatments will also have a varied length of protection before they need to be reapplied.

What are the benefits of a flea and worm subscription plan? 

There are many different flea and worm treatment options that are suitable for cats, so choosing the best preventative treatments for your cat can be confusing. To make parasite treatments simple, you should consider signing up for a flea and worm subscription plan.

The benefits of a flea and worm subscription plan;

  • The handy reminders mean you will never miss another flea or worm treatment.
  • Save money compared to buying each treatment individually. Veterinary plans will also include other perks to help you save money on your cat’s healthcare, such as money off vets services, or discounted video consults. 
  • Have peace of mind that your cat is fully protected against all common parasites. 
  • For convenience, they will even post each treatment to your door. 

What are the downsides of subscription plans?

Online services tend to be generic. You save money, but your cat is getting the same treatments as all the other cats, and it might not be the best for them as an individual. Your own vet, on the other hand, can tailor your treatments for your individual pet to ensure each treatment is easy for you to apply. 

So which is best?

Well, the subscription plans are usually the cheapest. But if you want a personalised plan, or a proper risk-based discussion of what parasites are most important to cover for your cat – talk to your vet!

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