Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Should I not pet/cuddle my outdoor cats? (worms/parasites human safety question)

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Patsu, Sep 4, 2020.


  1. Patsu

    Patsu PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2020
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    3
    I've been taking care of an outdoor cats for about 5 years now, and in recent months also of a mother cat and her 6 months old kitten. they mainly live in my yard.

    I've been petting and cuddling the first cat for years, and I also do the kitten because she's friendly, they like to sleep on my lap/chest etc.

    now I wasn't too much knowledgeable about worms and parasites (only that they exist) but recently I noticed the mother cat (I don't touch her since she's not friendly) has what I think are tapeworms ( I saw a little white worm moving on her anus)

    it made me dive deeper into the subject and research a lot about it online, I understand humans can get infected by worms from cats as well, and some type of worms/parasites can actually have severe health effects on us, which all scared me quite a bit.

    I don't really cuddle the first cat anymore, the mother I don't touch at all, and the kitten (which I do cuddle) I give anti-flea spot ons, but ultimately they are still outdoor cats.

    I understand humans can get infected by having contact with contaminated feces or soil, and then have hand to mouth contact, while I do always make sure to never touch my face when I'm outside with them, and to always wash my hands throughly when I go back inside, I do not know what kind of invisible traces of soil/feces they may have on their fur, and since the kitten and the other cat sometimes sleep on my lap/chest and touch my clothes, it makes me very worried about my safety, because I'm undoubtedly unawarely touch my clothes and then my face/mouth throughout the day.

    So my question is can I be infected that way? from their fur to my clothes contact and then hand to clothes to face/mouth contact?

    If so how big of a risk is this? should I stop petting them/let them sit on my lap entirely? or am I overthinking this?

    I'd greatly appreciate help on the matter.
     
  2. Mistys Mum

    Mistys Mum PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2020
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    211
    Can't you get a worming tablet like drontal or panacur for the cats? Cats and especially kittens can die from a heavy worm burden. Are they both neutered?
    I think you would have to somehow ingest the worms I.e. get in your mouth to be infected but I'm not an expert. I've had a lot of foster kittens with worms and I've had no issues myself.
    Best answer would be to regularly work and flea product them.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    29,782
    Likes Received:
    26,490
    Hello @Patsu and welcome :)

    The most compassionate thing you could do for these cats so to give them regular worming tablets of the type that treat all kinds of worms. As I believe you are not in the UK I can't advise you what makes of treatment to buy, but any good pet store in your country will advise you. You should also always wash your hands after touching the cats.

    Roundworms can cause disease in humans if a person unknowingly ingests the eggs that infected dogs and cats shed in their faeces.  Following ingestion of the eggs, the larvae hatch, and migrate around the body causing organ damage, such as blindness and respiratory failure. 

    Roundworm eggs can survive in soil for years. Humans can come into contact with them during gardening.

    Humans can also be infected with the tapeworm that uses the flea as an intermediate host, if they accidentally consumed an infected flea.

    Hookworm can also affect people. If you walk across a contaminated area in bare feet, the larvae can burrow into your skin and cause irritation and itching. Wear shoes outside wherever to reduce the risk of a hookworm infection. Ingestion of larvae is also possible.

    It is probably very unlikely you would catch any of these worms as the cats do not live in your house or sit on your furniture or your bed. But best to be on the safe side and worm the cats, and as said, it will be a kindness to the cats.
     
    #3 chillminx, Sep 5, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
    Mistys Mum and Lurcherlad like this.
  4. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    4,504
    Likes Received:
    7,836
    The chance of you getting infected by worms from these cats by stroking or them touching your clothing is very slim. The usual route of infection is when you swallow soil or sand that infected animals have pooped in so it has worm eggs in it. Using gloves when gardening and washing your hands thoroughly will all help prevent infection.

    If you are able to worm the cat's then so much the better, but good hand hygiene is the most important thing when dealing with any animal.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  5. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    26,293
    Likes Received:
    41,669
    If they live in your yard I’d suggest giving them parasite medicine routinely.

    If they can be caught and neutered (especially the females), even better :)
     
    chillminx and Mistys Mum like this.
  6. Mistys Mum

    Mistys Mum PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2020
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    211
    Yes local charities can help with neutering as well.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  7. Patsu

    Patsu PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2020
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    3
    Yes I am not from the uk.
    And well, the kitten is on anti-flea spot on, the mother I can't give her spot ons because I can't touch her, she's not friendly, I will give them both anti-worm medication although I am not sure how often I can give it, I'll have to ask my vet, from what I've checked anti-worm pills don't have a long lasting effects and if they the cats are not on anti-flea products and especially live outside then they will just get re-infected soon after treatment.

    you said to give them regular worming tablets, what tablet can you give regulary? isn't that dangerous to give often?

    @Tigermoon yep I always make sure to wash my hands, only thing that scares me is their fur touching my clothes and then me touching those clothes throughout the day and have a contact with my mouth etc. I don't know the size of the worms eggs they could be microscopic.

    @Lurcherlad Hi, all of them are neutered. although I'm not sure how that helps against worms and such?
     
    Mistys Mum and Lurcherlad like this.
  8. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2013
    Messages:
    26,293
    Likes Received:
    41,669
    Great that they have been neutered :)

    Has no impact on worms though, you’re right, just regular dosing with parasite meds.
     
  9. Tigermoon

    Tigermoon PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2013
    Messages:
    4,504
    Likes Received:
    7,836
    So most wormers will continue to target worms for a specific length of time. This length of this depends on the wormer, some last one month others three months. It really depends on what is available in your country and how easy it will be to get the cats to take them.

    Honestly the chances of being infected by eggs sticking to your clothes is vanishingly small. If it was an easy way of getting worms from your cat, owners would be constantly getting infected and I'm pretty sure cats and dogs would rapidly fall out of favour as popular pets.
    The usual way of picking up worms from pets is by failing to wash your hands after handling their faeces, or not washing hands properly after gardening, or for kids playing in sand or soil; and not thoroughly washing vegetables that you eat raw and eating raw or not properly through meat.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  10. Mistys Mum

    Mistys Mum PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2020
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    211
    I used to have a very feral cat. I had flea medicine call Program which I put in her food once a month as I couldn't do spot on. It doesn't kill the flea but kills the larvae so breaks the cycle.
    For wormer she had milbamax or drontal in food but they could just be brand names in the UK.. very safe for regular use. Panacur is gentler and tends to be used here for younger kittens.
     
    Lurcherlad likes this.
  11. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    13,669
    Likes Received:
    9,160
    It doesn't but it makes sure you don't get a population explosion!
     
    chillminx and SusieRainbow like this.
  12. Patsu

    Patsu PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2020
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    3
    @chillminx @Tigermoon @Mistys Mum Need your help guys, so I tried giving the mother car medication against worms, it was a pill since I can't touch her the only option I have is through food, the problem is that she sensed the pill instantly even tho I mixed it up with wet food, and she didn't touch any of it I had to throw it away, the vet did mention that the pill is bitter, my guess is that the wet food started to dissolve the pill and she smelled it and stayed away from it.

    the problem is how do I do this? if not mixing with food she won't touch the pill anyway, it's not flavored or anything.
     
    Mistys Mum likes this.
  13. OrientalSlave

    OrientalSlave Shunra Oriental Cats

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Messages:
    13,669
    Likes Received:
    9,160
    Mine happily eat wet food with panacur granules mixed in.
     
  14. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    29,782
    Likes Received:
    26,490
    Yes, I agree with OS - try Panacur granules. :)
     
  15. Mistys Mum

    Mistys Mum PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2020
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    211
    So annoying isn't it!! Did you crush the pill if it's a big one? I would put in a strongly smelling food such as sardines (just a tin with tomato sauce) or tuna. You might need to get her a bit hungrier than usual.
    Sometime we had to resort to one feed per day to get the ferals to eat their food with the meds in it. Good luck!!
    @Patsu
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice