A reader recently reached out to us about her cats. She explained that she has two cats and she suspects they both have worms. She doesn’t have the financial resources right now to take her cats to the vet, so she is on the hunt for home remedies. She heard that raw sunflowers might help treat worms in cats and wants to know our views on the matter.
There are three different kinds of worms that domestic cats can become infected with: roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasites that afflict kitties. These worms are round, a few inches long, and pale brown or white colored. Pet owners sometimes realize their pet has roundworms when it vomits up live roundworms, which look a bit like spaghetti noodles. Roundworms live in the cat’s intestines and soak up nutrients from the food the cat consumes, and eggs are passed in the cat’s feces. According to Pet MD, symptoms of cats with roundworms include vomiting, abdominal swelling, lethargy, abnormal feces, coughing, colic, poor nursing in females, and anorexia.
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Like roundworms, tapeworms are also pretty common in cats. Tapeworms are flat, segmented, white worms that also live in the intestines. Segments of tapeworm, which look like grains of rice, are sometimes passed in the cat’s feces and seen around the cat’s anus and bedding, which is a clear sign that your cat is infected with tapeworm. Symptoms for tapeworms are often similar to the symptoms for roundworms.
Hookworms are also worms that can live in your cat’s intestines, but they are less common than roundworms and tapeworms. These thread-like worms are extremley tiny and aren’t usually visible in the feces of the infected cat. Cats can become infected when larvae penetrate their skin or are ingested. Early symptoms of hookworms are lesions on the bottom of the feet and between toes, where the worms might have entered the skin. Other possible symptoms include coughing, abnormal stool, unhealthy appearance, and poor appetite. Since hookworms aren’t visible to the naked human eye, a visit to the vet is necessary for diagnosis.
While there are home remedies, natural solutions, and over the counter medications available for treating cats with worms, nothing will be as safe or effective as going to a vet. We understand our reader is trying to avoid visiting the vet, but we are unable to weigh in on these other solutions since we aren’t medical professionals. There are some free pet clinics around the country, so we encourage our reader to look into visiting one of these centers rather than trying to treat her cats with home remedies.
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To sum up, one of our readers asked us about using sunflower seeds as a home remedy for treating her cats with worms. Since we aren’t medical professionals, we can’t give advice on this matter. We recommend that she bring her cats in to be treated by a vet at a free pet clinic.