It’s every pet parent’s worst nightmare. Your poor baby has worms! These annoying little parasites can cause a whole host of problems for your darling fur babies. Cats infected with worms could suffer from diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss. If you’ve noticed that maybe your kitty is not eating as well as they should, then it might be a good idea to check for worms as your first culprit! Some worms can even be passed on to humans, so this is an issue you want to take care of immediately.
How do cats get worms?
Your kitty cat can get worms in some surprising ways! Knowing good prevention tactics is just as important as the treatment, but the first step is identifying the type of worms that you have. The main types of worms that cats normally get are roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms. Even indoor kitties can get worms from other animals, pests that enter your home or they can even be brought in by people sometimes!
How do I know if my cat has worms?
When trying to ascertain if your cat does in fact have a worm infestation there will be a number of tell tale signs. However, these signs will vary depending on what type of worms you have. Below we’ve provided some profiles on the various types of worms that cats can get. Using this information you should be able to figure out what kind of pest you’re dealing with, and then choose a treatment.
Can I get worms from my cat?
Yes, it is possible. There are several varieties of worms that can be transferred to humans. However, the method by which this transfer needs to occur is fortunately not likely, as typically it would require you to ingest the eggs in order to do so. Hookworms are a notable exception however as they can be transferred through skin contact!
Does your cat have a tapeworm?
If there are white worms in your cat’s poop that look like grains of rice, then this means your cat likely has a tapeworm. What you’re looking at are the eggs passing through your cat’s system. Fortunately, this is the easiest type of internal parasite to diagnose.
Cats can get these parasites from uncooked meat or prey animals like mice, but did you know that fleas cause worms too? If your cat eats some of their fleas while trying to get them off, then they can acquire a nasty tapeworm. That’s why proper flea prevention is important!
Can humans get tapeworms from cats?
It’s possible but unlikely. In order to get a tapeworm from your cat you’d need to ingest the eggs.
How to get rid of tapeworms
Fortunately, tapeworms are actually pretty easy to get rid of, and Bayer makes the best over the counter cat dewormer! If you’ve verified that your cat does have tapeworms, then this is a great product to get rid of them. Each box has three pills, but my cat only needed only one treatment. I saved the rest for in case he ever gets infested again.
Crush up the pill in some wet cat food or tuna, but if your cat is picky with their food make sure to hide it very well or they may try to eat around it! Make sure that they eat all of it, and within a couple of days you should not see any more signs of tapeworms in their litter box.
How do cats get tapeworms?
If you have used the medication but your worm problem is not going away, then it’s likely that your animal is somehow getting re-infested. Have you got another type of pest problem? Even if you have an indoor kitty, it’s possible that they have eaten some type of insect that has gotten into your home. As a preventative measure, you should probably treat your home to protect against other pests. If you find yourself wondering ‘how do indoor cats get worms’? Then this is likely the answer. People can bring in pests with them as they come and go. In the case of tapeworms the most likely culprit is fleas.
Even if your cat does not currently have fleas or ticks it’d be a good idea to take some preventative measures. However, indoor kitties can still get fleas from their people accidentally bringing them in the house! Check out this article for flea treatment and prevention recommendations.
Does your cat have hookworms?
Hookworms can be harder to identify unfortunately, because they don’t usually have a visual cue like tapeworms do. In some cases, your cat may have blood in their stool if they are harboring hookworms. Make sure to inspect the litter box for signs of this to help you identify whether this is the culprit. You won’t see any actual worms though, they are too small.
If one cat has worms, then you should treat all of your animals, otherwise it could be very hard to get rid of them. This worm can be passed on through many ways, including through feces, skin penetration or ingestion. It’s also likely the most dangerous kind of parasite for both you and your pets. Humans can get hookworms from animals easier than others, because they can be transmitted through skin!
How do you get rid of hookworms?
Bayer offers another excellent product called Drontal, this is actually a cat wormer which will treat all three of the worms most common to cats. However, it is more expensive. Similar to Bayer’s tapeworm formula, you’ll need to trick your cat into eating the tablet. This is best achieved with something your pet will greedily gobble up, like some tuna.
Keep in mind that sometimes hookworms can make your cat sick, and they may vomit up the pill. If this happens you will obviously need to treat them again. Each box contains 50 pills, plenty to treat all of your pets, and have some leftover in case your pests return.
While the first round of treatment will kill the adult worms, there will likely be eggs still hanging around waiting to hatch. You will need to give your cats another treatment to kill these new worms as well until the life cycle is broken.
How to prevent re-infestation of hookworms
If you have a hookworm problem, then the pests were likely brought in doors somehow by an animal or even a person! Once they are there though, you will need to make sure to keep your litter box environment very clean to make sure no eggs are hanging around. If you live in an area that is known for hook worms, then you may need to have your animals regularly tested to preserve their health and yours. This is not something that you want taking up residence in your home.
Does your cat have round worms?
If your cat has round worms it can be hard to tell. The outward signs will not be as apparent as they are with tapeworms, but if your pet seems to be losing weight, feeling sick or not eating as well as they should be, these guys may be to blame. Sometimes your cat can get these from roaches.
If your cat is throwing up worms as shown above, then you can be pretty certain of a roundworm infestation. If your cat has been sick lately, make sure to inspect the remnants for any unwelcome guests. This can be a good sign as to what type of otc cat dewormer to pursue.
Can humans get roundworms from cats?
Much like tapeworms, it’s unlikely that you will get these from your cat. It would require ingesting the eggs. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling your animals.
How to get rid of round worms
The best roundworm treatment for cats is again, the Drontal. This is one of the most effective products, and if you don’t want to waste your time messing around with cheaper versions that are not as effective then this is the way to go. It’s also a good bet if you’re not totally sure what kind of worms you have, because it can kill all of them.
Crush up the pill in some type of food for your cat. Make sure that they eat it all, and monitor them to be sure that they do not throw up the medication. Roundworms are persistent, and it may take more than one treatment for them to be gone from your life for good.
How do cats get round worms?
In order to prevent re-infestation of round worms, you’ll likely need to start with the litter box. Make sure to scoop your litter box as soon as possible. Clean the pans regularly with hot water and soap to keep eggs from being able to survive. You may even consider getting a new box entirely toward the end of your treatment cycle to make sure that they are gone! Continue administering treatment for the entire life cycle of the worms as one treatment likely won’t cut it here.
I’m still not sure what kind of worms I have?!
If you suspect that your cat may be infested but you’re still not sure, then you have a few options.
- Use a broad spectrum worm treatment
If you’re fairly certain that you know your cat has worms, but you’re not sure exactly which kind, then you can use Bayer’s broad spectrum dewormer. It treats all of the common types of worms your cat will likely contract.
- Go to the vet for testing
You can go to the vet and have your animal’s stool sample tested. The vet will be able to tell you exactly what kind of worms you’re dealing with and recommend the correct treatment.
- Use an at home testing kit
You can actually purchase an at home testing kit for this. Take your sample, mail it to the lab, and they will report back within 24 hours of receipt with your information. They can identify pretty much any type of worm in almost any animal, not just cats!
Worms are not fun for you or your kitty. They can cause many complications for your pet, and you should immediately seek out a treatment that can eradicate them. This article is meant to act as a guide for over the counter treatments and preventative measures. However, if you believe your cat has been sick for some time, then they may still need to go to the vet. Especially if they are infected with hookworms, which could actually be fatal if not treated. You should consult with them if you’re not totally sure about which flea and worm treatment for cats you need.