I have been finding little white worms on my cat's fur near the rectum. I have seen some of them moving around on the fur. What are they and how can I get rid of them?
What you are seeing are tapeworm segments. These are actually pieces of a worm that is living in your cat's intestinal tract. The ribbon-like worm lives in the intestine and sheds pieces or segments periodically which are passed out of the rectum with the stool. Tapeworms of dogs and cats most commonly are either "flea tapeworms" or "rodent tapeworms". The segments that the animal shed in the stool are filled with eggs of the tapeworm. These segments containing the eggs are eaten by either fleas or rodents. The eggs develop into the next life-stage of the parasite called a larva inside the flea or rodent. The cat in turn swallows the rodent or flea and the larva develops into the adult tapeworm in the cat, thus completing the life cycle. Now that you now what the segments are and how the cat may have been infected, what can be done about it? If you are curious, the segments can be evaluated by your veterinarian to determine whether they are due to flea or rodent ingestion. Regardless of the cause, the worms can be eradicated by medication from your veterinarian. To keep your pet from becoming reinfected with worms, use appropriate flea control products (your veterinarian can suggest several choices) and/or keep your cat out of contact with rodents .