Can I Get Worms From My Cat Licking Me? It’s not unusual for cat owners to report their cats licking them. While this behavior is usually harmless, some people worry about the possibility of getting worms from their cat’s tongue.
While it is possible for cats to transmit worms to humans, it is unlikely that you will get worms from your cat licking you. Some of the parasites cats can carry in their mouths include roundworms, tapeworms, and fleas. There is some evidence that cats may also be carriers of Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.
Can I Get Worms From My Cat Licking Me?
If you’ve ever been licked by your cat, chances are good that you were infected with roundworm. The parasite is often picked up from a contaminated environment and then transmitted to humans through direct contact or ingestion.
If you’re wondering whether you can get worms from your cat licking you, the answer is yes, but it’s very rare. In fact, only about 25% of cats worldwide are infected with roundworm (Toxocara cati), making them unlikely to pass on their infection to humans.
Roundworm infection is most common in children less than 5 years old. The condition is treatable with medication and can be easily cured. The main symptom of roundworm infection is abdominal pain, which is often mistaken for appendicitis. If you have concerns about whether you have been infected with roundworm, a simple stool test will tell you for sure.
Tapeworms are very common in cats. This type of pet nematode can infect both people and animals. As a parasite, tapeworms rely on their host’s intestinal lining to grow and reproduce. Cats are the definitive hosts of T. cati, meaning that they are the ones that get infected and pass on the tapeworm to another host (humans). There are two types of tapeworms that infect cats: Dipylidium caninum and Hymenolepis diminuta. The only way to tell the difference between these two species is by performing a chemical test, which your vet may be able to perform if you have symptoms.
What Are The Risks of Not Treating my Cat For Worms?
Although it is possible to get worms from your cat, the chances are low. The main risk of not treating your cat for worms is that they will become immune to the medication and stop taking it.
It’s also possible that your cat could become infected with a different parasite while on medication, making the condition worse. Finally, not treating your cat for worms can lead to your cat losing interest in eating, which can cause them to lose weight and put them at greater risk for health problems.
How Worms Are Transmitted to Cat
Worms are parasites that infect and damage the body of their host. They can be found throughout the world, but some are parasitic on cats, infecting them through direct contact with the mouth, nose, or paws.
Once inside the body, the worms move about and damage organs. They can cause anemia, weight loss, and damage to the kidneys, liver, and intestines. You can get worms from your cat licking you, but only if it has been infected with roundworm or hookworm, which is rare.
Roundworm eggs are passed in the feces of infected cats and can contaminate soil, where they hatch into larvae called roundworms. These tiny worms will crawl into the tissue of an uninfected person or animal, where they will grow into adult roundworms.
Should I Avoid All Physical Contact With My Cat if it Has Worms?
No, you shouldn’t avoid all physical contact with your cat. As previously mentioned, both roundworm and hookworm eggs are passed in the feces of infected cats.
Washing your hands after handling cat feces will reduce the chance of spreading worms to you and other people and animals. Although it is possible to get worms from a licking cat, this is very rare.
Is There a Test for Worms?
Yes, your vet can perform a simple stool test to see if your cat has roundworm or hookworm. These parasites can be identified using a microscope. A positive test will require treatment to kill the worms, but it can still be done with most parasites once you know about them.
A more in-depth exam using a fluorescent dye and a special camera may be required to determine the species of parasite and stage of the infection.
What Can I Do to Protect my Cat and Myself?
The most important thing you can do to protect your cat and yourself is to wash your hands after handling cat feces. This applies to everyone in your household, including both human children and pets. Talk to your vet about deworming your cat if you have concerns.
If you do not know how your cat became infected with worms, wear gloves when feeding it. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward. Wipe up any spills on the floor where your cat has been eating, as well as your own countertops.
FAQ: Can I Get Worms From My Cat Licking Me?
Why are there roundworms in my cat’s stool?
Roundworms can look like grains of rice or tiny peas. They typically appear as a single, continuous segment in the stool. The eggs that produce these segments are very small and can remain viable outside the body for extended periods of time. How long they remain infectious depends on the type of worm.
Is it normal for my cat to have blood in its stool?
Yes, this is a common finding in cats with intestinal blockages. It is important to note that this can be a normal finding in healthy cats as well. The amount of blood in the stool is not an accurate measure of the health of your cat’s intestine.
Can I catch roundworms from my cat?
Cats cannot catch worms from one another. You can, however, become infected with roundworm and hookworm if your hands come in contact with your cat’s feces. Washing your hands immediately after handling feces will help to reduce the risk of spreading these parasites to other people and animals.
Conclusion: Can I Get Worms From My Cat Licking Me?
Although it is possible to get worms from your cat licking you, the chance is extremely low. Cats rarely carry roundworm or hookworm and if they do, you won’t be able to tell just by looking at them. You should always wash your hands after handling cat feces, but this will reduce the chance of infection more than not having direct contact with your cat.
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