Yes, Your Indoor Cat Can Still Get A Parasite!
Yes, Your Indoor Cat Can Still Get A Parasite!
Contrary to popular belief, indoor cats are at risk of contracting a parasitic worm, just like animals that go outside! Even though your cat may seem safe inside the comfort of your own home, there are potential dangers that can still enter your humble abode from the outdoors. Yes, that means that your cat could still become infected despite your best efforts of keeping them inside! Bugs, including fleas and mosquitoes, can make their way indoors, rodents can find holes to sneak through, and dogs that go outside can bring in parasites from the outdoors back into the home.
Have you ever had a fly buzzing around your house and despite your best efforts, that fly was almost impossible to catch? Fleas and mosquitoes can just as easily make their way into your home through open windows, doors, and holes in screens.
Once inside, fleas are never exposed to freezing temperatures or scorching hot weather, making it very easy for them to survive indefinitely. This poses a potential problem for your pet as fleas carry parasitic worms such as tapeworms. Your cat can contract a worm if he or she swallows an infected flea while grooming, or by accidentally swallowing a flea whole. In addition to fleas, just one bite from an infected mosquito can transfer infected heartworm larvae into an indoor pet.
How do you prevent bugs from spreading diseases to your cat?
1. Use screen doors. If you plan to leave doors open during the spring and summer, installing a screen door can help keep the bugs out while still allowing fresh air into your home.
2. Use bug repellents. You can find bug repellents in many forms, including bug sprays, candles, and clip-ons. If you have a back patio or deck, you can set up decorative insect traps and repellents as well. If you’re interested in getting a pet-safe bug repellant for your feline friend, you can check some out here!
3. Administer preventative heartworm and regular flea medication to your pet. Prevention is always the best practice, and ensuring that your pet is already guarded against disease will give you peace of mind! In addition to heartworm and flea medications, flea and tick collars are also really helpful. They are great alternatives if you don’t want to medicate your cat and can also serve as extra protection when the medications wear off.
4. Take your cat to the veterinarian on a regular basis. At the vet, your cat will be examined and tested for parasites regularly, as well as check for other signs of disease.
Just like bugs, rodents can easily find ways into your home. Mice can enter your house or garage through tiny openings, some as small as the size of a quarter! Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to have rodents, even in a clean, well-maintained home. Once a rodent is inside, cats typically hunt these animals thanks to their instincts from the wild, even when well-fed. Watch out for these animals, as they can carry many diseases including roundworm.
How do you prevent rodents from spreading diseases to your cat?
1. Administer preventative medications. Again, prevention is the best practice! Talk to your veterinarian about the right medication for your cat.
2. Seal cracks and holes on the outside of your home. You can do this yourself if you are experienced, or you can hire a professional to do the job. A professional will inspect the perimeter of your home and will use different materials to ensure that the spaces are sealed.
3. Store food in air-tight containers and dispose of garbage on a regular basis. Rodents are scavengers and will try to steal your leftover food. Make sure that you take the garbage out regularly and don’t leave food out unattended!
4. Keep attics, basements, and crawl spaces dry and well-ventilated. Attics, basements, and crawl spaces are often home to rats, mice, and other critters if the conditions are right. Make sure that the conditions are NOT homey, and keep them dry and well-ventilated. You can also hire a professional inspector to take a look at your spaces and make sure that your home is rodent-free.
5. Take your cat to the veterinarian on a regular basis. Have your cat examined and vaccinated at least once a year! This will help with your cat’s overall health and prevent illness.
If you have an indoor cat in addition to an animal that goes outside such as a dog, your outdoor animal has the opportunity to bring in parasitic worms from the environment back into your home. Parasitic worms and other diseases can live in the environment for months up to several years. Make sure that your dog is vaccinated and that you disinfect any items such as food bowls that may have been contaminated.