Last updated 14/11/2023
Eugh, worms…definitely not something we want to associate with our fur-babies. But unfortunately, they are surprisingly common and easy for our cats to pick up in their everyday lives. Which is why it’s important for you to read on and learn all you need to know about treating your cat’s worms! We have more about which creepy critters can affect your cat in ‘What worms can my cat get’.
This is an easy one – YES! Some cats may show symptoms of having worms such as tummy upsets, or you may even see worm segments crawling around your cat’s fur and bedding (the stuff of nightmares, we know!). More often than not though, you won’t even know that your cat has worms – this is why regular worming treatments are so important.
Regular worming doesn’t just protect your cat’s health but also your family’s, as some worms your cat may pick up can also affect people. You can read more about this in ‘Can I Catch Worms from my Pets?’.
Knowing that your cat does need worming is one thing, but how do you go about it? Well, there are a few things you need to consider – what worms do you need to treat your cat for? How often should you treat them? And, what should you use?
Luckily, we cover most of that in this blog, and you can find out which worms you need to treat for here.
It’s worth mentioning now though, if you don’t find the information you need here, or have any further questions about how to worm your cat, your vet should always be your first port of call.
The frequency of worming varies depending on your cat’s lifestyle – so this one is a bit tricky to answer!
All our recommendations are based on ESCCAP (European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites) guidelines. These guidelines are made using the latest scientific research by parasitology experts from across Europe and are reviewed regularly – in other words, they are based on science and written by people who really know what they are talking about. Most vets and vet practices also follow these guidelines, so yes, they are seen as being pretty darn good!
The European Scientific Counsel Companion Animal Parasites (ESCCAP) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, made up of parasitology and public health experts from across Europe. ESCCAP provides free, independent and scientifically-robust advice on the control of parasites in pets to veterinary professionals. You can find out more about ESCCAP on their website.
So, let’s get to these guidelines…ESCCAP recommends that cats (and dogs, but that is covered in ‘Dog worms – all you need to know about treating them!’) should be wormed according to their lifestyle and individual risk.
In general, they recommend:
However, if your cat lives with children under five, the elderly, or immunocompromised individuals (who are at greater risk of the nasty effects of worms in people), is a known hunter or eats a raw meat/offal diet, then it’s sensible to worm them monthly.
Kittens, and pregnant and lactating cats will also have different worming requirements which your vet can advise on. We have some more information specifically for kittens here.
We’d always recommend choosing an authorised veterinary medicinal product It’s also important to check which worms are covered to ensure you’re getting complete cover for your pet. Some products, such as Prazitel tablets for cats, are a tasty grilled-meat flavour, and kill both roundworms and tapeworms (the two major culprits when it comes to intestinal worms in UK cats). They can be given with or without food and are suitable for kittens as young as 6 weeks of age.
This can be a daunting task, but with a few top tips you’ll soon be a pro and worming your cat will be easy-peasy:
If you or your cat isn’t a fan of tablets, spot-on products are also available, although some are only available from your vet.
Thankfully, most wormers get to work pretty quickly to rid your feline friend of their unwanted beasties. You may occasionally see worms in your cat’s poop – don’t worry, this is normal and may mean your cat had lots of worms, but rest assured that the treatment is working and clearing those blighters out! Sometimes they may come out twitching – again don’t worry, this is them just waving their final goodbyes. Equally, if you don’t see worms in your cat’s poop after treatment, it doesn’t mean they didn’t have any worms, it just means they’ve been digested (yum!).
It’s important to remember that no wormer prevents intestinal worms, it just treats the worms that are already there. This means reinfection is possible and why regular worming is so important for your cat.