There are many parasites that can give cats problems. Feline tapeworms are some of the most common. These white worms are capable of growing approximately eight inches long if they live long enough. Thanks to the suckers and hooks that Mother Nature equipped them with, they're capable of attaching themselves to the walls of the small intestine of your cat.
Cats typically don't experience many problems if they're infested with just a few of them. However, tapeworms in cats can cause serious problems as their numbers increase. They will keep your feline from getting the proper nutrition from their food, eventually causing them to shed pounds. Their fur will also undergo changes, becoming rough and dull.
To understand how feline tapeworms infect cats, you first need to understand a bit about their life cycle. As you know, fleas can easily infect your cat. Sometimes, fleas will harbor cysticercoids, which are formed when flea larvae eat tapeworm eggs. If your cat bites at an area infested with infected fleas, he may end up swallowing one.
After eating an infected flea, the small intestine will break it down and leave the cysticercoids to develop into adult cat tapeworms. This is when they will attach themselves to the small intestine walls and sustain themselves with the nutrients that your cat is supposed to get from his food.
Feline tapeworms are segmented. As they grow, segments will break off and pass out of the body through the feces. Owners who inspect their cat's feces will likely notice them. They look like small grains of rice that are moving around. Some of these segments may also appear around the anus.
Your vet can determine if your cat has tapeworms quite easily. He will simply have to take a look at a sample of your cat's feces under a microscope. They aren't always easy to see via the naked eye.
Fortunately, tapeworms in cats are usually easy to deal with. You will need to give your cat dewormer medication in order to get rid of them. One cycle of this medication may not be enough to get rid of the infestation entirely though.
Parasites such as fleas and lice play a vital role in the transmission of feline tapeworms. Therefore, owners need to do their best to control these parasites so that their cat doesn't get infested with worms. Limiting the amount of time that your cat spends outside roaming around will help. Giving him dewormer medication on a regular basis will also be useful.