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Worms in cats

Grey cat lying on the floor advice

Cats need regular worm treatments.

© Shutterstock

Are worms in cats easy to get rid of? Can humans catch those worms? Here you'll find all the help that you need to stay on top of this problem.

By Dr. Stephanie Holmes BVetMed BSAVA PGCertSAECC MRCVS

Worms in cats are internal parasites. They are always unwelcome visitors and can cause a range of symptoms and illness. Most commonly, cats get infected with roundworms or tapeworms in the stomach and intestines.

What are the symptoms of a cat with worms?

There are various symptoms that may raise the suspicion of your cat having worms. These would include weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, coughing, bloated tummy and an itchy bottom. You may also see worms at your cat's bottom or in the poop (faeces), or your cat may exhibit no symptoms at all.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

How do I get rid of my cat's worms?

You should regularly give your cat a worming treatment prescribed by a vet. Prevention is better than cure, so it is important to regularly worm your cat with a regime recommended by the vet. It is also important to practise good hygiene. Regularly wash and disinfect food bowls, water bowls and litter trays. Make sure you're regularly washing your own hands too.

Can I catch worms from my cat?

Some worms are zoonotic, which means they can cause problems for human health. These can lead to serious consequences for human health. Therefore it is important to use preventative worming treatment and practise good hygiene.

Can cats die from worms?

Although it is rare, it is possible for cats to die from worms and their associated diseases. Kittens are more at risk than adult cats. It is more likely that your cat will show symptoms and be able to be treated before it gets very sick.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

What happens if worms go untreated in cats?

If untreated, worms can cause anaemia (low red blood cells), which if it's severe can be potentially life-threatening. If there is a large burden of worms, there's also a potential for stomach rupture and intestinal blockage, which again is very serious and could potentially be life-threatening.

How do you clean your house after a cat has roundworms?

The best way is to carry out routine hygiene measures: good, frequent hand washing; regularly clean and disinfect food bowls, water bowls and litter trays.

How long after deworming a cat are the worms gone?

The treatment will work on the day it's given, but it is important to note that some of the life cycle of the worm may not be killed off by one treatment, so a worming regime will be instituted by the vet.

Can I deworm my cat myself?

You can administer the treatment yourself at home. It is generally recommended that you have the worming treatment prescribed by a veterinary surgeon, as many over-the-counter drugs have either not been fully trailed as effective or do not cover a broad spectrum of worms.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

How did my indoor cat get worms?

It's possible that your cat’s mother passed worms on to your cat. Any time you introduce a new cat to the household, there's a risk of them bringing worms and other parasites or infectious diseases into the household.

Occasionally you can bring worms in on your shoes by standing in other cat’s faeces. If your pet eats raw food, worms can be caught this way too.

Can you buy cat dewormer over the counter?

There are many dewormers that you can buy over the counter, but it's always best to seek advice and a prescription from a vet, so that can give you the right medication for your pet. Never give a cat a treatment for a dog.

What do vets use to deworm cats?

There are many prescription-only medicines specifically for worms in cats that only a veterinary surgeon can prescribe. These can come in tablets, liquid, granules or pastes that you give orally, and spot-ons that you squirt on the skin on the back of your cat's neck.

Talk to a vet online. Visit myfamilyvets.co.uk

How can I deworm my cat at home?

If your cat is amenable, you may be able to give a tablet directly into its mouth. Some oral treatments are palatable and your cat may eat it. The spot-on treatments are easy to administer. What you have to do is part the fur on the back of the neck where the cat can't lick it and squirt it on. It's best to wear gloves and don't stroke the area until it's dry.

What is the best deworming medicine for cats?

The best deworming medication is the one that is right for your pet. Sometimes a vet will do faecal (poop) tests to treat with certain drugs for specific worms. Otherwise, a treatment and preventative regime will be prescribed.

When should I see a vet?

You will need to see a vet if your cat is unwell or showing any of the symptoms of worms. As wormers are prescription drugs, you will have to have routine check-ups at least every six months in order for the vet to give your animal a check-up and legally be able to prescribe the medication.