You’re petting your cat. She’s sitting on your lap, occasionally stretching up to nose your face with affection. It’s a major love fest with lots of squirming, pawing, head-butting, purring, drooling, and a sprinkling of love nips. She turns a couple of times and settles in on your lap while you watch Bates Motel.
You’re getting to a good part in the show. Someone is about to be killed, and just as that knife is about to plunge hard and deep into flesh, your cat rolls over, spreads her legs and starts snarfing and snorting at her butthole. The knife slices and stabs. Cue Psycho theme music. Your sweet kitty lifts her face towards you for a kiss, but what’s that? Those little white things in the fur around her cat hole?
It looks like rice. You go in for closer inspection, wondering what nimwit fed her rice. But rice doesn’t move. Maggots!!
You scream and shove her off your lap, holding your mouth as you run to the toilet to hork.
Calm down, girl… calm. Calm. You go reinvestigate with a giant wad of disinfectant wipes.
You ask Siri why your cat is rotting internally and has maggots falling out of her behind. Siri tells you you’re an idiot. Those aren’t maggots. They’re tapeworms. And if you have any other animals that hang out with Wormcat, they probably have them, too.
Oh, holy crap. Seriously!? Why this nasty wormfest??
Okay, so this is how it happens. Flea larvae ingests tapeworm eggs. Flea matures, now containing immature tapeworm. Flea infests your pet. Your pet ingests the flea. Adult tapeworms (thanks, flea!) develop in your pet’s small intestine. Adult tapeworms are segmented. They become hellishly long, and the segments furthest from the head (or scolex… the bitey part that attaches to the intestinal lining) mature and break off. Each segment hosts an egg packet, which contains around 30 tapeworm eggs. Flea larvae and your pet ingest these. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Are you thoroughly horrified yet? Think about it. If fleas and pets are ingesting those tiny tapeworm eggs, it’s entirely possible that… yes… you may be ingesting them as well. You may have tapeworms. There ya go. Check your TP. Check your party pants. Nothing? Whew! Same here. So far, so good.
You’ve probably guessed by now that my cats have tapeworms, as you are no dummy. You’ve probably also guessed that I currently find my cats repulsive.
Up until a few days ago, I thought the only way to treat them for tapeworms was to spend hundreds of dollars at the animal clinic, filling my felines full of poison. I don’t have hundreds of dollars, nor do I want them injected with iffy pharmaceuticals. I refuse to have tapeworm infested cats in the house, and though they’re feeling the lack of love, I shall not allow them to roam the house spreading tapeworm segments like confetti. They’re garage-bound at the mo’. So we temporarily suffer.
So what did I learn a few days ago? After my zillionth Google search on how to eradicate tapeworms naturally, or at least without hundreds of dollars I don’t have, I finally discovered the magic cure: food grade diatomaceous earth.
It’s not the same as pool grade diatomaceous earth, as pool grade is heat-treated and dangerous to inhale or ingest. Food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) is what we’re talking about here. You still don’t want to inhale it, as it’s drying, and who needs that in their lungs. Getting it in one’s eyes is surely uncomfortable as well.
I thoroughly read up on it, and have spoken with several people, including a feed shop employee (I bought mine at a feed shop, but you can order it online if you don’t have a feed shop nearby), and a friend who works at the L.A. Zoo, who all assure me food grade DE is safe for both animals and humans to ingest. It’s used to battle parasites in many types of animals. In fact, it may even have benefits other than destroying tapeworms, such as heavy metal detox, increased collagen production, and lowering of blood pressure. What?? Sounding pretty good.
So, how to give it to the cats, you ask? I found this YouTube video that explains how. (As an aside, people have been quite rude to this lovely woman in the comments section for her video, so if you feel comfortable doing so, please leave her a nice comment and a thumbs-up.)
So that’s it. You mix it with their food, they ingest it, the microscopic edges scratch the bodies of the worms, dry them up, and do the same with the eggs. More grossness ensues as the cats expel dead tapeworms (you may want to tape tiny buckets to their butts, or maybe that’s just me). Do this long enough (a couple of weeks, I believe), and the cats will be worm-free.
But that’s not the end of it, but don’t get too frustrated, as you are about to annihilate those assholes wherever they hide, and you’re going to destroy their flea cohorts, too. You need to treat your living area, wherever the cats have been. Everywhere, you say? Guess what? Put food grade DE everywhere.
Add it to the litter box. Sprinkle it into your couch, your chairs, your carpets, your beds, your cat bedding. Wear a dust mask for safety. As I said, this stuff is drying, and you don’t want it in your lungs. You don’t need a lot. You just need to be thorough in reaching as much real estate as you can. Rub it in. Leave it for a couple of days, thoroughly vacuum it up, and wash the bedding. Voila. Wait a month and do this again to make sure you destroy any hatchlings you may have missed the first time around.
I’m considering using food grade DE as a health supplement. I’m cautious about ingesting things I haven’t yet tried. Case in point: I got a prescription for Xanax three weeks ago, and have yet to try a dose even though I’ve been a nervous, anxious wreck several times since then (I experienced identity theft, and have also been dealing with a never-ending case of tinnitus, both crazy-making, and both belong in other posts). Vin says he’ll try it first, because he apparently enjoys being a guinea pig. I may ovary-up and try it before he does. If there are any worms in my guts, I want them OUT, and I could use some extra collagen.