Tapeworm In Cats
My Cat Has Tapeworms: What Do I Do?
Estimated Read Time: 4 minutes
Summary: In this blog, we learn all about tapeworm in cats. We’ll find out what the signs of tapeworm in cats are, what causes tapeworm in cats, whether humans can contract tapeworm from a cat and how to treat tapeworms in cats at home…
“My cat has tapeworms!” Well, don’t worry, pet parent! You’re not alone. Tapeworms are very common.
Tapeworm infections are usually found in the small intestine. Tapeworms are very small parasites - they’re one of the very few parasites that we can see with our naked human eyes! Tapeworms are very long and flat and have segmented bodies. Their head has a sucker and hooks, designed to help them hook onto the gut, which they feed from and thus rapidly grow and reproduce. Their eggs are secreted out in the host’s poop.
As they grow, segments of their body will separate from the rest too...
Sounds gross, huh? Well, fortunately, tapeworms are fairly easy to treat…
What Causes Tapeworm In Cats?
The most common cause of tapeworm in cats is fleas, as many varieties of tapeworm larvae can be found in fleas. If a cat happens to ingest fleas, the larvae will then begin to grow and form in their intestine.
Other ways a cat can contract tapeworm is as a kitten, passed from their mother’s milk, or if they eat infected poop (theirs or another animal’s), or an infected animal like a mouse or bird.
Cats of any age can get tapeworms.
What Are The Signs Of Tapeworm In Cats?
Sometimes a cat won’t show any signs of carrying a tapeworm at all, which is why they should always attend an annual check-up with their vet. But, signs a cat has tapeworm include:
- Biting, scratching, or licking their anus
- Dragging their hind legs across the floor (in dogs we call this “scooting”)
- Weight loss, despite a normal or increased appetite
- Lackluster coat
- Rice-like pieces in their poop, or around their anus/under their tail
- Consistent vomiting and diarrhea
Can Tapeworms Kill A Cat?
Parasitic infections like tapeworms in cats can be unsettling and worrying, but they’re only a threat to your cat if left untreated for a significant period of time.
How To Treat Tapeworms In Cats At Home
There are no home remedies for tapeworm in cats. If you suspect your cat has a tapeworm, or they’re presenting any of the signs listed above, get them assessed and diagnosed by their vet stat.
If a tapeworm is present, your vet will administer deworming medication. This may be prescribed orally, or be administered via a shot. The medication will mean the worm will die and dissolve, and be excreted in your cat’s poop (but it’s likely it won’t be visible).
Ensure you finish the course of medication prescribed so you can be certain the infection is gone.
Since tapeworm in cats is often caused by fleas, you will want to wash all of your pet’s bedding (including other pet’s that live in the house), thoroughly clean your carpets, cushion covers, throws, and human bedding they sleep on and flea check and treat any other pet’s in the house.
Prevention is key to stopping tapeworm infections. It is an essential part of owning a pet that you administer regular, de-worming, tick, and flea preventative treatments to them. This protects them, your home, your family, and your community from different types of worms, ticks, and flea infestations. Consult with your vet over which is the best course for your cat and any other pets you own, as there is a variety of prevention methods available from injection and tablet forms to spot-on treatments that you can regularly administer to them every few weeks.
Should I Quarantine My Cat With Tapeworms?
Your vet will advise you if your cat needs to be isolated due to a tapeworm infection.
Can I Get Tapeworms From My Cat?
It is unlikely, but not impossible. The most common variety of tapeworm is not transmissible to us humans, but there are certain types of tapeworm that can be and in particular to children. However, this is very rare.
Prevention and fast treatment of infection in a pet is key.
Can Dogs Get Tapeworms From Cats?
Yes, particularly if the infection was contracted from a flea and a cat and dog share a household or they groom themselves/each other. Dogs can also contract tapeworm from eating infected cat feces.