Worming your cat: what you need to know

One of the less pleasant parts of being a cat owner is administering regular worming treatments. Although de-worming might not be much fun for you or your cat, it’s a really important job.

How often should I worm my cat?

Adult cats need to be wormed at least every three months to keep common parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms at bay. For cats who are keen hunters, or who live largely outdoors or in a big group, monthly worming is recommended. Kittens need worming every fortnight from the age of three weeks until they are four months old.

Why do I need to worm my cat?

Kittens often pick up worms from their mother’s milk, while adult cats tend to catch them from other pets, infected prey, contaminated water or ingesting fleas while grooming. Even cats who live indoors can be affected by what comes in on their owners’ shoes. Roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms reside in the cat’s intestinal tract and can cause discomfort, illness and, in rare cases, even death.

Symptoms of worms in cats include diarrhoea, lethargy, coarse or dull fur, an itchy bottom, constant hunger combined with weight loss, or a distended tummy – although animals that appear healthy can carry worms, too. Left untreated, worms in a cat’s gut can lead to anaemia, dehydration and intestinal blockages. Some worm-related diseases can be passed on to humans and pose a particular health risk to children so it’s important to teach children to properly wash their hands after playing with animals.

What sort of cat worming treatment should I use?

Whenever possible, use a worming treatment prescribed by your vet. They’ll be able to recommend an effective medication tailored to your cat’s weight and lifestyle and the parasites prevalent in your area.

Never use a worming treatment designed for dogs on your cat as this could be dangerous for them. You should also avoid natural treatments and home remedies for worms, as these tend not to be effective.

How do I de-worm my cat?

Most cat worming treatments come in tablet form, although there are also deworming pastes and syrups, as well as granules to sprinkle on the cat’s food and spot-on worming treatments applied to the skin on the back of the cat’s neck.

Giving a cat any type of oral medication can be challenging, or comical, depending on your outlook! Follow our step-by-step guide to get your cat to take their worming medicine efficiently yet gently, with minimal trauma to both of you.

What if my cat hates being wormed?

If taking oral worming treatment is causing your cat stress and anxiety, ask your vet about alternative options. A spot-on cat worming treatment or granules mixed with food could be a better option for your picky puss.

Another option is a combined treatment for worms and fleas. A single dose prevents multiple parasite problems in your pet, reducing the number of medications you need to give them.

However much you or your cat may dislike worming, don’t neglect it. This quick and simple job will help keep your kitty and your whole household safe.

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