Administering deworming medication to a cat.
Treating and deworming in is inexpensive and cats seem to like it. If a cat has never had milk replacer given to them in the past, it can take a little time for them to warm up to the idea. Most cats have a built-in trust "issue" that helps them to be such good survivors. It takes about three days of tasting something new for a cat to trust it. Start the process with unmedicated milk replacer to establish trust (most will drink it after three days of sniffing, testing, and looking at it).
If you think your pet has tapeworms, buy a deworming medication that contains praziquantel, epsiprantel, or fenbendazole and is labeled to work against tapeworms. Many products are available over-the-counter. Because the dosing instructions for tapeworms are sometimes different than for other intestinal parasites, make sure you read the label carefully and follow the instructions that are specifically aimed at getting rid of tapeworms.
Several have added ingredients that make them effective against intestinal worms as well as heartworms. Deworming medications are available as tablets, capsules, granules, chewables, liquids, and topicals.Puppies and kittens started on heartworm medications that contain intestinal wormers do not need to be dewormed every 2 weeks. No heartworm medications are effective against tapeworms, which puppies and kittens get from fleas. Either protect them with flea medications or deworm for tapeworms every 3 months.Pregnant pets can be dewormed through pregnancy and during whelping. This decreases the number of worms that can be passed to the young. Unfortunately, deworming medication does not kill hookworms and roundworms that remain hiding (encysted) within the mother's muscle tissues.The preventative medications listed above are effective in removing and preventing roundworms in most cases. Other medications may be employed in deworming protocols. These include pyrantel pamoate (Drontal, Strongid) and fenbendazole (Panacur).The Companion Animal Parasite Council developed the concept of strategic deworming, which requires deworming pets before the worms mature and produce eggs that contaminate soil. Strategic worming reduces the possibility of environmental contamination and recommends adult pets receive deworming medications every 3 months.Ok, now back to your cats. Here’s the good news on the tapeworms: you can buy a tapeworm (doesn’t work for rounds and hookworms) dewormer called Praziquantal over the counter and circumvent a visit to the vet. The bad news is that it’s just as (or more) important to keep the flea count down on your ferals and there’s no easy way to do it. I have witnessed full grown cats die from severe anemia from heavy, chronic flea infestations. At this time, the best longer-acting flea preventatives are topical (there is a safe, long-acting, effective oral medication for dogs but only a short acting product for cats) and I don’t know how you could apply topical products on truly feral cats without confinement and/or sedation. So, go ahead and deworm them but if you noticed weight or hair loss you may need to trap and take them in for a good check up—under sedation of course!
Thanks so much for keeping an eye on these ferals. We, and many shelters have a TNR program (Trap-Neuter-Release) wherein we rely on the community and amazingly dedicated volunteers to identify feral colonies, let us know about them and spay and neuter the bunch. TNR is a critical component to reducing the number of homeless cats and keeping new generations of kittens out of shelters. Bravo to you and everyone who has a hand in TNR. Learn more about our and how you can get involved.