“I was cleaning my room and found this particular caterpillar (I think) on my cat’s food bowl”, writes this reader about the yellow creature below. Our reader asks that we tell him if his cat has worms or if it is possible that the organism came in from the outdoors.
The cat is an outdoor cat, and our reader reports that so far he has noticed nothing wrong with it. Despite that, he is still scared that his cat may have worms, and understandably so. Now, while we are not sure exactly what species this caterpillar is, we think our reader is correct in identifying this as a caterpillar.
We base this solely on its plump, segmented body, as well as its bright coloration and markings. If this is the case, then all our reader needs to do is move the caterpillar outside. Nonetheless, we always advise caution when handling unfamiliar creatures. Some caterpillars can secrete toxins which may cause irritation and/or stinging upon skin-to-skin contact, so our reader may want to use a dustpan and/or gardening gloves when moving the organism outside.
That said, if our reader has reasonable cause to believe that his cat has worms, for example if it starts developing symptoms, then he should of course take it to the vet. It might be worth doing that in any case if he is really concerned.
Likewise, if our reader starts worrying for himself and his health, then we recommend that our reader do one or more of the following:
1) Search for a medical parasitologist in his area using this directory of medical parasitology consultants: https://www.astmh.org/for-astmh-members/clinical-consultants-directory.
2) Search for a local parasitologist by doing a Google search for “medical parasitologist (name of the closest big city)” or “tropical medicine specialist (name of the closest big city)”.
3) Get in touch with Dr. Omar Amin at the Parasitology Center at https://www.parasitetesting.com.
4) Contact Dr. Vipul Savaliya of Infectious Disease Care (“IDCare”) at idcarepa.com.
To conclude, the creature that our reader found is indeed a caterpillar, though what species exactly, we’re not sure. We do not think our reader has anything to worry about here, and as long as he does not find any more creatures similar to this caterpillar, then moving it outside should solve this issue. That said, if he finds more of these caterpillars, he may be experiencing an infestation. In that case, he is welcome to contact us again if he wants advice on dealing with bug infestations. Similarly, if it turns out that our reader’s cat starts experiencing symptoms, or something else makes our reader convinced that his cat has worms, then he should disregard our identification and take his cat to a vet for a professional’s opinion. We wish our reader and his cat the best!