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Ask Dr. Vicky Lamb Your Own Question
Dr. Vicky Lamb
Dr. Vicky Lamb, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 892
Experience:  15 years small animal veterinarian
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Can cats get maggots I have been finding maggots and the ...

Customer Question

Can cats get maggots? I have been finding maggots and the eggs in the litter. My can shows not signs of feeling ill and she just had kittens 4 days ago. I never had this problem until buying tidy cat cat litter recently. I change her cat litter every 5 days and still have this problem. And its like infested, like if it was coming out of her she should be dead... i think. Please help...thank you
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Vicky Lamb replied 11 years ago.

Do you have a lot of flies around the litter box? Maggots would only be present if the flies are laying eggs on your cat's fresh stool.

Maggots can infest the skin of cats/dogs also. If there is a wound in the skin, or feces on the fur, the flies will lay eggs there, and the maggots can then start eating through the skin. It is very gross, and can kill an animal if not treated right away. If there is any afterbirth mess still on her fur, this can attract flies.

One thing that some people confuse with maggots are tapeworms. Tapeworms are small, white worms that you can see on fresh feces, and sometimes crawling around the fur around the anus. The tapeworms are smooth, while maggots have a more rough appearance. Tapeworms move slow, while maggots tend to move very fast. Tapeworms can be caught from the cat eating fleas, or also if they eat rodents or rabbits, which carry the tapeworms. The tapeworms will dry up, and then they look like small sesame seeds, and you can find these on the cats fur or on their bedding.

This website has a picture of the tapeworms in stool and the dried segments on the fur. They have a dog in the pictures, but they look the same in cats. Scroll down to the last section.

Do you think that it might be tapeworms you are seeing vs. maggots? Please reply to discuss further!

Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Dr. Vicky Lamb's Post: By the pictures they do not look like tapeworms, but the shell does look like sesame seeds a little dark though. She also had fleas back in july, because she left the house. I bought her a flea comb to take them out. she was pregnant and i didnt want to danger the kittens. So everyday i combed her until there was no sign of fleas. Looking at the pictures i would of been able to see the shell or worm on the comb. Do tapeworms grow to that size if not treated? There were like 2 or 3 flys and then there was an army when she gave birth.
Expert:  Dr. Vicky Lamb replied 11 years ago.

If you are seeing sesame seed type things, then I would have to suspect tapeworms. Fly eggs are small, white, and about the size of this apostrophe: ' . So, if you are seeing larger things you suspect are eggs, and they look like dark sesame seeds, these are probably dried up tapeworms.

However, if your cat and kittens are not clean, you can certainly get a maggot problem if there are flies around!!! THis is very dangerous to the kittens! Are you just finding these in the litter box?

One thing you can do is collect some of these things you suspect to be maggots in a baggie, and some of the eggs, and take them to a vet office. They can tell you if you have a tapeworm problem or a maggot/fly problem. We do this for free, but some vets do charge for an ID of a parasite. If there are tapeworms, your vet can dispense a medication to kill the worms. It will pass into the milk, but should not harm the kittens.

If you have a maggot problem, you need to examine all the kittens and your cat, and make sure they are all very clean. Give momma cat a good bath if needed to remove any afterbirth. Rinse her well so no soap is on her nipples. Change bedding once or twice daily. Keep the litter box scooped immediately. If you notice any maggots in the skin of your cat or kittens, this requires immediate vet attention.

Please reply if you have further questions.