How Often Should You Deworm Your Indoor Cat?

Written by: Karuna Subbiah



Time to read 6 min

Even the most pampered indoor cats are not immune to the pesky problem of intestinal worms. While these parasites might not be visible to the naked eye, their presence can have a bad impact on your cat's health and well-being. 

That's why regular deworming is an essential part of responsible cat parenting, ensuring your furry companion thrives in a worm-free environment.

Intestinal worms come in various forms, each posing unique threats to your cat's health. Roundworms, for instance, can cause weight loss, diarrhea, and even intestinal blockages. Tapeworms, on the other hand, can lead to malnutrition and anemia. 

Whether your adult cat spends most of their time indoors or occasionally ventures out, regular deworming is essential for maintaining their health. 

By understanding the signs of worm infestation, choosing the best deworming medication, and following a recommended deworming schedule, you can keep your cat worm-free and happy.

In this blog, we'll delve into the world of cat worms, exploring the different types, their potential impact on your cat's health, and the recommended deworming frequency for both indoor and outdoor cats. 

So, let's embark on this journey together to ensure your cat remains worm-free and thrives in a parasite-free environment.

Why is Deworming Necessary for Indoor Cats?

Deworming Medicine being given to a cat

Many pet parents assume that their indoor cats are safe from intestinal worms, thinking that only outdoor cats are at risk. However, this is a common misconception. Indoor cats can still contract worms, even if they never go outside.

Debunking the Misconception

Cats can be infected with worms through various routes, even if they live indoors. Here are some ways indoor cats can contract worms:

  • Flea Ingestion: Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs, and if your cat ingests an infected flea, they can become infected with tapeworms.

  • Accidental Ingestion: Indoor cats can accidentally ingest worm eggs or larvae from contaminated surfaces, such as their paws or toys, if they lick them.

  • Shared Household Items: If you have multiple pets, worms can spread from one animal to another through shared food bowlswater bowls, or litter boxes.

Regular deworming is crucial for maintaining overall health and preventing parasites in catsDeworming medication effectively eliminates intestinal worms, protecting your cat from potential health complications.

Common Types of Intestinal Worms in Cats

Worms in a cat’s stomach being demonstrated

As a responsible pet parent, you want to ensure your furry feline companion stays healthy and free from pesky parasites. Intestinal worms are a common problem in cats, both indoor and outdoor, and can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms. Let's delve into the types of worms that can infect cats and the signs to watch out for.

1. Being Roundworms

Roundworms are the most common type of intestinal worm in cats. They are typically transmitted through infected feces, soil, or rodents. 

Symptoms of roundworm infection include:

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Potbelly appearance

2. Hookworms

Hookworms attach to the intestinal lining and feed on the cat's blood, leading to anaemia. 

Signs of hookworm infection include:

  • Pale gums
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Bloody stools

3. Tapeworms

Tapeworms are flat, ribbon-like worms that can grow up to several feet long. They are usually transmitted through fleas, which cats ingest while grooming themselves. 

Symptoms of tapeworm infection include:

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhoea
  • Visible worm segments in the stool

Frequency of Deworming Your Indoor Cat

As responsible pet parents, we want to ensure our furry companions enjoy optimal health and well-being. Regular deworming is an essential part of maintaining their health, and understanding the appropriate deworming schedule is crucial. While indoor cats face a lower risk of intestinal parasites compared to their outdoor counterparts, deworming them is still necessary.

Varying Opinions and Guidelines

Veterinarians hold varying opinions on the frequency of deworming indoor cats. Some recommend quarterly deworming, while others suggest annual or biannual treatments. Most vets recommend deworming indoor cats at least once a year, but acknowledge that more frequent deworming may be necessary for cats at higher risk of infection.

Factors Influencing Cat Deworming Frequency

An indoor cat being petted by its parent

Several factors influence the frequency of deworming for indoor cats:

  • Age: Kittens are more susceptible to intestinal parasites and require more frequent deworming, typically every 2-4 weeks until they reach six months of age.

  • Lifestyle: Cats with access to the outdoors, even for short periods, are at higher risk of contracting parasites and may require more frequent deworming.

  • Travel History: Cats that travel or have been exposed to other animals, such as boarding facilities, may require more frequent deworming.

  • Presence of Fleas: Fleas can transmit tapeworms, so regular flea control is essential to reduce the risk of parasitic infection.

  • Symptoms: If your cat exhibits signs of intestinal parasites, such as weight lossdiarrhoea, or vomitingconsult a vet promptly.

Veterinary Recommendations

Veterinarians recommend that indoor cats be dewormed at least once every three months. This frequency is crucial for preventing and eliminating intestinal parasites, which can cause various health problems in cats. However, it's essential to remember that every cat is different, and their deworming schedule may vary depending on their lifestyle and risk factors.

  • Kittens: Kittens should be dewormed every two weeks from two to eight weeks of age, then monthly until they reach six months old.

  • Pregnant and nursing cats: Pregnant and nursing cats should be dewormed every two months to protect their kittens from worm infections.

  • Cats with access to the outdoors: Cats that have access to the outdoors, even occasionally, should be dewormed more frequently, ideally every month.

While these general guidelines provide a starting point, it's crucial to consult your cat's veterinarian to determine the most appropriate deworming schedule based on their individual needs and risk factors. 

Your veterinarian will consider your cat's age, lifestyle, and any potential exposure to parasites to tailor a deworming plan that is both effective and safe.

Signs Your Indoor Cat Might Need Deworming

A sick cat lying in its crate in a vet’s clinic

While indoor cats are less likely to contract worms than their outdoor counterparts, there are still signs that may indicate a worm infestation. Be vigilant and watch for these common symptoms:

  • Weight loss: Unexplained weight loss, even with a healthy appetite, can be a sign of worms.

  • Diarrhoea: Vomiting and diarrhoea are common symptoms of worm infestation.

  • Lethargy: A sudden decrease in energy levels and lethargy can be a sign of worms.

  • Scooting: Scooting or dragging their rear end on the ground is a sign of anal irritation, often caused by worms.

  • Visible worms in stool: In some cases, you may see visible worms or worm segments in your cat's stool.

Early detection and treatment of worm infestations are crucial for your cat's overall health. If you notice any of these signs, consult your vet immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent serious health complications and ensure your cat's well-being.

Behavioural Changes in Cats with Worms

Intestinal parasites can not only cause physical symptoms but also lead to behavioural changes in cats. These changes can be subtle or more pronounced, depending on the severity of the infestation.

  • Changes in appetite: Some cats with worms may experience a loss of appetite, while others may develop an insatiable hunger.

  • Changes in energy levels: Cats with worms may become lethargic and less playful than usual.

  • Changes in litter box habits: Cats with worms may have accidents outside the litter box or experience changes in their litter box habits.

The Silver Lining

For cat parents, deworming their feline companions is an essential part of responsible pet care. Whether your feline friend is an adventurous outdoor explorer or a cozy indoor cat, deworming regularly helps safeguard their health and well-being.

Remember, even indoor cats are not immune to intestinal parasites. They can pick up worm eggs from infected fleas, shoes, or even from their own paws. Regular deworming helps eliminate these parasites and prevent them from causing harm.

As a vigilant cat parent, keep an eye out for signs of worms, such as weight loss, diarrhea, or vomiting. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian promptly.

Regular deworming, coupled with attentive observation and professional guidance from your veterinarian, ensures your beloved cat lives a healthy, parasite-free life. So, don't let worms dampen your cat's playful spirit. Deworm regularly and keep them purring with joy!

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