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Can My Indoor Cat Get Worms?

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What to know about worms and indoor cats.
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A tabby cat and a golden retriever cuddling together on a rug.

Some cats are natural-born roamers, but many spend most or all of their time indoors. If your cat isn’t an outdoor explorer who enjoys catching mice or interacting with other animals, you might wonder if you still need to worry about worms.

Advantage Multi® for Cats (imidacloprid + moxidectin)
Advantage Multi® for Cats (imidacloprid + moxidectin)

Can Indoor Cats Get Worms?

The answer is yes. Unfortunately, even cats that never venture outside are still at risk for intestinal parasites like tapeworms and roundworms. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the types of worms your indoor cat could get, as well as the treatment options.

Profender® (emodepside/praziquantel) Topical Solution
Profender® (emodepside/praziquantel) Topical Solution

Which Worms Can Infect Your Indoor Cat?

Tapeworms

Tapeworms are long, flat, segmented worms that live inside the small intestine of infected animals. Indoor cats can become infected with tapeworm in a few different ways, but the most common is by eating infected fleas.

Even though your cat may never set a paw outdoors, fleas can hitch a ride into your home on your clothes, on other pets or even on other visitors to your home. Cats will unknowingly eat fleas in their coat when they groom, potentially infecting themselves with a tapeworm in the process. 

Indoor cats can also pick up tapeworms if they eat infected rodents that find their way into your home, such as mice.

Roundworms

Roundworm is another hard-to-avoid parasite that can affect indoor cats. Roundworms are large, white, spaghetti-like parasites that live in the small intestine and lay thousands of eggs at a time.

Tapeworm Dewormer for Cats
Tapeworm Dewormer (praziquantel tablets) for Cats
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A gray European shorthair cat sleeping peacefully on couch.

Roundworm eggs can be brought indoors on shoes or clothes, and if they’re accidentally eaten by your cat, your cat may become infected. Roundworms can also be passed to kittens through their mother’s milk, so a young cat might already have worms before they arrive at your home.

Roundworms can also be transmitted to cats when they hunt — so if your indoor cat catches a rodent that finds its way into your house, your cat could be at risk for roundworms.

How to Treat Worms in Your Cat

If your cat gets worms, there are several simple and effective solutions to choose from; consult your veterinarian to find the best product for your cat.

As cats are at risk of reinfection, keeping up with a regular worming routine at least once every three months will help keep your indoor cat healthy and free of intestinal parasites — even if they spend their days indoors, asleep on your sofa.

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