Roundworms are very common intestinal worms that live in the small intestine of infected cats. Unlike many other intestinal worms, roundworms don’t attach to the wall of your cat’s intestine. Roundworms are long and round, as their name suggests, looking a bit like spaghetti, but with a pointed end. They have smooth, non-segmented bodies sometimes up to several inches long and are light brown or white in colour. They can be clearly seen in a cat’s faeces or vomit
Although their eggs are passed out in your cat’s faeces, roundworm eggs are so small that they’re not visible to the naked eye and you would never know they were there.
These unpleasant invaders can cause:
- Weight loss, despite a normal or increased appetite
- A dull coat
- Lack of energy or lethargy
- A swollen or distended belly (in severe cases and particularly in kittens)
- Slow growth
Cats can become infected with roundworms in the following ways:
- Roundworm eggs are passed in the faeces of infected cats and other wildlife and can lay dormant in soil, sandpits and litter boxes. The eggs can then spread to other cats if ingested while sniffing around in infected soil, plants or faeces.
- Roundworms can be picked up when cats catch and eat infected birds, rodents, and insects.
- Roundworm larvae can lay dormant in your cat’s tissues and revive themselves later. If a cat is pregnant, the revived larvae can travel to the mammary glands and infect kittens while they feed on their mother’s milk.