Understanding, Preventing, and Treating Cat Worms - Ultimate Guide

Understanding, Preventing, and Treating Cat Worms - Ultimate Guide - OutdoorBengal

As a cat owner, I always strive to do the best I can to keep my cat healthy and happy. There are so many things that we can't anticipate and worms are one of them.

One day, I noticed that my beloved feline friend, Mia, was not acting like herself. She was quite lethargic, had lost her appetite, and had diarrhea. I took her to the vet, and after a few tests, the vet gave me the (quite disgusting) news: Mia had intestinal worms.

I felt so sorry for her. How did this happen to my dear companion? I felt equally sad and worried. The vet explained that even the most well-cared-for cats can get worms, particularly outdoor cats. Most common intestinal worms cat infect cats via numerous transmission channels: from other infected cats, fleas, or contaminated soil. She reassured me that we could treat the worms and prevent further infestation with some medication and regular check-ups.

After going through this experience, I wanted to learn everything I could about cat worms and how to prevent and treat them. I read countless articles, talked to other cat owners, and consulted with different veterinarians. I realized that many cat owners, like me, might not know much about cat worms and their impact on feline health. That's why I decided to write this post, to share what I learned and my experience with others so that you can understand if your cat has worms, how to treat it, and how to avoid (at least) the mistakes I made.

Types of Cat Intestinal Worms

When it comes to cat worm infestation, several types of worms can affect your furry friend's health. It's essential to understand the different types of worms, their lifecycle, and how they can impact your cat's body. Here are some of the most common types of cat worms:

  • Roundworms: These are the most common type of worm found in cats. They are long and thin and can grow up to several inches in length.

  • Tapeworms: These are flat, segmented worms that can grow up to several inches in length. They are usually transmitted through fleas.

  • Hookworms: These are small, thin worms that attach themselves to the lining of the cat's intestine.

  • Heartworms: These worms are transmitted through mosquitoes and can cause serious damage to a cat's heart and lungs.

Let's look at them in more detail:


Roundworms, specifically Toxascaris leonina and Toxocara cati, are the prevalent intestinal worms found in cats, with an estimated prevalence rate of 25% to 75%, which is often higher in kittens. These adult roundworms are cream-colored, approximately 3 to 5 inches in length, and can be found living in the cat's intestine.

These adult roundworms are cream-colored, and approximately 3 to 5 inches in length. Roundworms live in the small intestine and can cause malnutrition, vomiting, diarrhea, and even intestinal obstruction if left untreated. They can be transmitted to kittens through their mother's milk or contaminated soil, water, or prey.


  • Vomiting or diarrhea

  • Weight loss or poor appetite

  • A swollen or distended belly

  • A dull or rough coat

  • A cough (in severe cases)


Tapeworms are flat, segmented worms that can grow up to several feet in length. They are usually transmitted to cats through fleas or by ingesting infected rodents, birds, or other prey. Tapeworms can cause weight loss, poor coat condition, and irritation around the anus. You may also see tiny, rice-like segments in your cat's stool or near your cat's anus. These indicate a tapeworm infection, as those are parasite eggs.


  • Itchy or irritated skin around the anus

  • Tiny, rice-like segments in the stool or near the anus

  • Weight loss or poor appetite

  • Lethargy or a decrease in activity


Hookworms are small, thread-like worms that attach to the intestinal wall and suck blood from their host. They can cause anemia, lethargy, and bloody diarrhea in cats. Hookworms are transmitted through contaminated soil or the mother's milk.


  • Anemia (pale gums or tongue)

  • A bloody or tarry stool

  • Diarrhea or vomiting

  • Weakness or lethargy

  • Poor coat condition


Heartworms are a potentially life-threatening type of worm that lives in the heart and lungs of infected cats. They are transmitted through mosquito bites and can cause respiratory distress, coughing, and heart failure. Heartworms are much less common in cats than in dogs, but they can still pose a significant health risk if left untreated.


  • Coughing or wheezing

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Weight loss or poor appetite

  • Lethargy or a decrease in activity

  • Fainting or collapse (in severe cases)

It's important to note that some cats with worm infestations may not show any symptoms at all, especially in the early stages. That's why it's crucial to have regular check-ups with your veterinarian and get your cat tested for worms. If you notice any of the symptoms above or suspect your cat may have worms, contact your vet right away. In the next section, we'll discuss how to prevent and treat cat worm infestations.

By understanding the different types of cat worms, their symptoms, and how they are transmitted, you can better protect your feline friend from worm infestation and help them live a healthy and happy life. In the next section, we'll discuss the symptoms of cat worm infestation to help you detect the signs early on.

Treatment of Worms in Infected Cats

If your cat has been diagnosed with a worm infestation, don't worry. There there are several options available to treat worms. Your veterinarian can help you choose the best course of action based on the type and severity of the infestation.

Prescription Medications

There are several prescription medications available for treating intestinal worms. These medications are generally more effective than over-the-counter options and can target specific types of worms. Common medications include:

  • Fenbendazole (Panacur)

  • Praziquantel (Droncit)

  • Pyrantel pamoate (Strongid)

It's important to follow your veterinarian's instructions for the dosing and administration of these medications. In some cases, multiple rounds of treatment may be necessary.

Natural Remedies

Some cat owners prefer to use natural remedies to treat infected cats. While these remedies may be less effective than prescription medications, they can be a good option for mild infestations or as a preventative measure. Some natural remedies include:

  • Diatomaceous earth: a fine powder that can be sprinkled on food to kill worms

  • Pumpkin seeds: a natural dewormer that can be ground and mixed with food

  • Apple cider vinegar: can be added to your cat's water to make their digestive tract less hospitable to worms

Over-the-Counter Products

There are several over-the-counter (OTC) products available for treating worms in cats. While these products may be convenient, they are generally less effective than prescription medications and may not target specific types of worms. Common OTC products include:

  • Deworming tablets: such as Bayer Expert Care Tapeworm Dewormer

  • Deworming pastes: such as Excel Roundworm Liquid Cat De-Wormer

It's important to read the label carefully and follow the instructions for the dosing and administration of these products. If your cat's symptoms persist or worsen after treatment, contact your veterinarian.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to most common intestinal parasites. Regular veterinary check-ups, keeping your cat's environment clean, and practicing good hygiene can all help prevent worm infestations from occurring.

Prevention of Worms in Cats

Preventing worm infestations in your cat is key to keeping them healthy. Here are some steps you can take to prevent worm infestations:

  • Regular veterinary check-ups: Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help identify any potential health issues, including worm infestations. Your veterinarian can also recommend a deworming schedule based on your cat's lifestyle and risk factors.

  • Keep your cat's environment clean: Keeping your cat's litter box clean and disposing of infected feces promptly can help prevent worm eggs from spreading. Regular cleaning of your cat's bedding and toys can also help prevent the spread of worms.

  • Practice good hygiene: Good hygiene practices, such as washing your hands after handling your cat or their litter box, can help prevent infecting humans.

  • Control fleas: Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs, so it's important to keep your cat flea-free. Talk to your veterinarian about flea prevention options for your cat.

  • Avoid feeding your cat raw meat: Feeding your cat raw meat, such as uncooked chicken or beef, can increase their risk of contracting worms. Stick to commercially prepared cat food or cooked meat.

By following these prevention tips, you can help keep your cat healthy and free of worm infestations.

Are Cat Worms Contagious to Humans?

Certain types of worms that affect cats, such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms, can be contagious to humans. These worms are known as zoonotic parasites. It's important to note that not all cat worms are contagious to humans, but some can pose a risk, especially if proper hygiene practices are not followed.

To prevent the transmission of worms in cats to humans, it's essential to maintain good personal hygiene. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling your cat, especially after cleaning their litter box or coming into contact with the cat's feces.

  2. Avoid direct contact with the cat's poop or soil that may be contaminated with cat feces.

  3. Keep your cat's living environment clean by regularly cleaning and sanitizing their litter box.

  4. Prevent your cat from hunting and consuming rodents or other animals that may carry worms.

  5. Regularly deworm your cat as recommended by your veterinarian.

If you suspect that you or a family member may have been exposed to intestinal worms or are experiencing symptoms such as unexplained loss of weight, abdominal discomfort, or changes in bowel habits, it's important to consult a healthcare professional. They can evaluate the situation and provide appropriate medical advice and treatment if necessary.

Remember, maintaining good hygiene practices and regular veterinary care for your cat is key to reducing the risk of transmitting worms from cats to humans and keeping both you and your furry friend healthy.


Stay wild, stay safe, and we'll see you outdoors!

Albert & Mia

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.