All animals, at one time or another in their lives, can be plagued by various parasites. The cat like the others. Let’s talk about preventing parasitic infections in cats for everyone’s health.
The cat, like any other animal species, is a potential host for certain intestinal parasites which very often, but not always, cause it very few apparent problems, particularly if it is an adult and in good health.
In general, parasites that live in the intestines are either worms or tiny single-celled organisms. However, all of them lay microscopic eggs which are evacuated in the droppings and spread in the environment where they continue their life cycles and eventually end up infecting another cat or, in some cases, a human. We then speak of zoonoses, diseases that can be transmitted from an animal to a human.
Humans can therefore catch some of the parasites from cats by neglecting certain hygienic measures.
Children are more at risk since they put everything into their mouths at a young age. People with weakened immune systems and pregnant women are also more vulnerable. Although the majority of infections are asymptomatic, minor or easily treatable, in rare cases they can be problematic so prevention is better than cure.
How to do ? Here are some great tips:
► Avoid letting your cat go outside if possible. This drastically decreases the possibilities of parasitic infections.
► Consult your veterinarian if your cat goes outside so that he is dewormed adequately and regularly throughout the year, and especially during the summer season, since he can become infected by eating grass or insects and even by hunting!
► Cover the children’s sandbox when not in use. Don’t forget that it can become a giant litter box for cats!
► Garden with gloves and wash your hands when you finish, always for the same reason: cats use loose soil as litter.
► Thoroughly wash garden produce (vegetables, fruit) before consumption.
► Wash hands with soap and water after outdoor activities, handling animals or their excrement, and also before meals. It is a matter of basic hygiene recommended by all specialists in human and animal health.
► Immediately pick up animal excrement outside and empty the litter box at least once a day since the majority of parasites will not yet be infectious in 24 hours.
► Avoid feeding your pet raw meat, as some parasites can be transmitted to it this way.
► Consult your veterinarian if your cat is less than 6 months old, because he should be dewormed against certain parasites with zoonotic potential, according to the indications of the Canadian Panel of Parasitology Experts (CPEP), i.e. every 2 weeks between ages of 2 and 8 weeks then monthly until the age of 6 months, regardless of the time of year. Indeed, some parasites can be transmitted by the mother (via milk or in utero).
► Follow the instructions of the CPEP and have your animal’s stools analyzed by your veterinarian once or twice a year to check for the presence of parasites.