Cats are very hygienic by themselves that you do not need to bathe them as regularly if they are not staying indoors. However, parasites still find ways to infect them, and you need to be able to identify these parasites and find out how to get rid of them.
Parasites are organisms that thrive on another organism, and they feed on their host’s blood and other body nutrients. These parasites are either external that live on the skin to suck out blood, or internal and live inside the organs taking the nutrients that are supposed to be used by the body. Most internal parasites are found in the intestines.
To find out whether your feline pets are hosts to external or internal parasites, take these into consideration:
- Take note of the cats’ environment. If your cats are outdoors most times and can mingle with strays, then there is a higher possibility that they are already infected with external and internal parasites. If the environment is more controlled, like inside the house and only a cat litter box, then there is a less likely chance of having parasites, unless they have access to your dirty shoes or the garbage bin, and you have carpeted floors. Plus you will be more concerned about your own health that you would surely bathe your cats regularly if they share your bed.
- Observe the behavior of your cats. Most cats that have external parasites have itchy skin, so they scratch their ears and their bodies a lot. They also shake their heads more often even without anything touching them (most cats react when they are patted on the head). When you see these behaviors, then it is time to take a closer look at them.
- Take a close look at their skin. Flaky skin may indicate the presence of insects such as fleas. Ticks stay in one place once they have anchored on the cat’s skin, so you will easily see these. If they have had the parasites longer, their fur would more likely fall off as well.
- Also take a close look at their fur, especially around their bottom. Internal parasites like roundworm and tapeworm lay eggs in the intestines and when the cats poop, some of the eggs are visible to the naked eye. These may cling to the fur on the cat’s butt. The eggs usually appear as white granules that have similar shapes and sizes.
- Start treatment right away. Once you see the signs of existing parasite infection, the first thing to do is clean up the cats, and clean up the house. For insects on the cat’s skin and fur, take them out with tweezers, and place them in a bowl of gas or alcohol to make sure they do not fly off and find a new place. For internal parasite infection, bathe the cats, and wash all the things they are in contact with, such as the cover of the sofa, the carpets and the beddings. After you have cleaned up the cats and your place, then take the cats to the veterinarian for treatment. You may also do the treatments at home, but always seek the advice of an expert, and always follow the instructions on treatment products.
The last tip is to maintain a clean environment. Once treatment is done, you may still need regular treatments especially for internal parasites, but a very clean environment will give you and your feline friends a more relaxed and safe place to live.