Why do kittens need to be dewormed?
Kittens may become infected with hookworms and roundworms via their mother when they are young kittens. Other issues, such as having fleas or eating prey that have fleas, may result in tapeworm infestations.
Worms are more than a nuisance; they can cause gastrointestinal obstruction, anemia, and malnutrition, especially in young kittens. Most parasites are also zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted to humans.
Kitten deworming schedule for kittens under 12 weeks old
- Kittens should be dewormed every 2-3 weeks, starting at 3 weeks of age, until 12 weeks.
- Consult your veterinarian to assess your kittens’ risks and to obtain an appropriate dewormer.
Kitten deworming schedule after 12 weeks
- Kittens should be dewormed every month from 12 weeks of age until 6 months of age.
- Deworming should continue on a schedule appropriate for the cat’s lifestyle after 6 months of age.
The above schedule is a guide, and each individual cat’s parasite risk will need to be discussed with their veterinarian.
Heartworm prevention is important in cats, both indoor and outdoor. Often, the first sign of heartworm disease in a cat is sudden death, and there is no treatment for cats. These preventatives are available by prescription only and should be administered monthly. I recommend a combination product such as Revolution to protect cats.
What happens if you miss the schedule? (and what to do)
- If your kitten or cat has missed some doses of their parasite prevention, it is essential to take them to their veterinarian. Depending on the situation, a fecal parasite test may be necessary. Following this, the veterinarian can advise you on appropriate steps to get the cat back on a parasite prevention schedule.
Deworming products safe for kittens
We have outlined some of the more popular deworming products on our quick guide to cat worming products page.
The majority of these medications are prescription only in the United States and will need to be obtained through your veterinarian.
What kitten owners need to know about worming (tips)
- It is important for owners to know that all kittens are at risk of parasites, even indoor kittens. Parasites can be transmitted from a mother to her kittens during pregnancy and nursing, even if the mother appears completely healthy. Working with your veterinarian to create a comprehensive deworming plan will ensure the health of both the kittens and the humans in their lives.
Are there any deworming medication side effects?
- If an appropriate deworming medication is chosen and it is also dosed correctly, there should be few observable side effects. If a cat is infested with parasites, deworming may cause transient loose stool or vomiting.
Deworming your cat: why it’s important
- Deworming your cat is essential, not only for their health but also to protect the health of the human in their lives. Parasites from cats can easily be transmitted to humans, causing severe disease and even permanent blindness.
Deworming newly acquired animals
- Any new cat should be dewormed before being introduced into a new household. Depending on the environment the cat is coming from, there may be other testing and treatment that needs to be performed to ensure the health of all. A plan for adequate deworming, as well as ongoing protection from parasites, should be discussed thoroughly with your veterinarian any time you consider adding a new cat to your family