The Ultimate Guide on Cat Worms: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Cats are such adorable pets to keep, and they make great company. As much as they are amazing, they are also susceptible to various health issues, including worm infestation. Worms are known to be parasitic and can easily infest cats by accessing their gastrointestinal tract. As a responsible pet owner, it is crucial to know about cat worms – their causes, symptoms, and treatment. This article will go in-depth about cat worms and what to do if you notice your kitty is infested.

What Are Cat Worms?

cat with roundworms

  • Roundworms:
  • Roundworms are one of the most common types of worms found in cats, particularly in kittens. The worms grow up to 4 inches long and live in the intestine. They are easily transferred from mother to kittens or from one infested cat to another.

  • Hookworms:
  • Hookworms are less common but are more dangerous. They are smaller than roundworms and typically feed on the blood of their host. The worms attach to the small intestine lining and start feeding, resulting in blood loss that can lead to anemia.

  • Tapeworms:
  • Tapeworms are long and flat and grow to up to 2 feet long. Their head attaches itself to the intestinal wall while their body grows and matures with time. Tapeworms are usually acquired through ingestion of fleas containing tapeworm larvae.

  • Heartworms:
  • Heartworms are very rare in cats, and they are typically found in outdoor cats. Heartworms live in the cat’s heart and lungs, causing heart and respiratory issues.

What Causes Cat Worms?

  • Fleas:
  • Fleas are known to be carriers of tapeworms, and when cats ingest them during grooming, they infest them with tapeworms.

  • Eating Infected Meat:
  • Cats that hunt and eat infected prey, such as rodents, can easily get infected with roundworms and hookworms.

  • Contaminated Litter Boxes:
  • Cats can ingest worm larvae in contaminated litter boxes. The larvae that are excreted with the feces can contaminate the litter box and infect another cat that uses the same litter box.

What Are the Symptoms of Cat Worms?

  • Vomiting:
  • Infested cats may vomit due to intestinal blockage that the worms cause.

  • Weight Loss:
  • The worms feed on the food the cat ingests, denying them the necessary nutrients, making them lose weight.

  • Diarrhea:
  • Worms can cause irritation and inflammation, resulting in diarrhea. The diarrhea can, in turn, lead to dehydration if left untreated.

  • Bloated Tummy:
  • Infested cats may have a round and swollen tummy. This is because the worms cause blockage in the intestines, making food and gas to accumulate.

  • Scratching:
  • Hookworms can cause skin irritation and make a cat scratch in an attempt to relieve themselves.

How to Diagnose Cat Worms

If you notice any of the above symptoms, it is essential to take your cat to the vet for diagnosis. The vet will check for eggs or larvae in the cat’s stool sample. A blood test may also be necessary to check for heartworms

How to Treat Cat Worms

Mild worm infestation can be treated using over-the-counter medication. However, it is vital to consult with the vet, who will advise the best course of action. Severe infestation is treated with prescription medication that destroys the worms. The vet will also recommend flea control measures to prevent further infestation.

Can Cat Worms Be Prevented?

  • Cleanliness:
  • Keeping the litter box clean helps to prevent worms infestation.

  • Control Fleas:
  • Preventing fleas infestation helps to prevent tapeworm infestation.

  • Proper Nutrition:
  • Feeding your cat with a well-balanced diet helps to keep them healthy, promoting a robust immune system that can fight worms infestation more efficiently.

What is the Prognosis for Cat Worm Infestation?

If diagnosed early, cat worm infestation can be treated quickly, and the cat can recover fully. However, severe infestation can cause severe damage and could be fatal, especially for kittens or older cats.


How Often Should You Deworm Your Cat?

Cats should be dewormed every three to four months to prevent infestation. However, if your cat has been diagnosed with worm infestation, the vet may recommend extra treatment depending on the severity of the infestation.

Can Cat Worms Be Transmitted to Humans?

Yes, some cat worms, such as roundworms, can be transmitted to humans, especially children. Children that play or eat contaminated soil or sand infected with worm eggs can get infested.

Can I Prevent My Cat from Getting Worms by Keeping Them Indoors?

Keeping your cat indoors reduces the chances of infestation but is not a guarantee that they will not get infested. It is still essential to clean the litter box, monitor their diet, and take preventive measures, such as flea control measures, to reduce infestation chances.

Can Cats Die from Worm Infestation?

Severe infestation can cause cats to die, especially for older or weaker cats. Worms cause obstructions and internal injuries that can be fatal.


Cat worms can cause severe damage to your cat’s health if not treated early. They are also transmittable to humans, especially children. Therefore, it is crucial to deworm your cat regularly and take preventive measures such as flea control measures, maintaining cleanliness, feeding them a well-balanced diet, and taking them for regular check-ups to catch any infestations early. If you suspect your cat has worms, take them to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.