tapeworm cat

Tapeworms in Cats – Symptoms & Treatment

Table of Contents


Tapeworm in Cats: What are Tapeworms?

Tapeworms are a parasite that are found in the small intestine of cats. The most common tapeworm found in cats is the Dipylidium Caninum. They are flat and segmented, white in colour and can grow up to 20cm long.

How does a cat or kitten get tapeworms?

  • The tapeworm cycle begins with the flea larvae eating fecal matter that contains tapeworm eggs.
  • The eggs hatch inside the flea and become cysticercoids.
  • A cat may then swallow or eat a flea that contains these cysticercoids while chewing or biting at a flea during grooming.
  • Once the flea passes into the cat’s intestine the flea is broken down and the cysticercoids develop into an adult tapeworm.
  • The tapeworm attaches itself to the lining of the intestine and feeds off the nutrients
  • As the tapeworm matures the tail segments drops off. These segments are mobile. Each segment contains the eggs of the tapeworm. The egg packets are passed in the faeces of the cat into the environment.
  • The eggs are then ingested by the flea larvae.

The most common areas that tapeworm eggs are found are in the cat’s bedding and in your carpet.

Cats can also acquire tapeworms by eating infected rodents or lizards.

How do I know my cat or kitten has tapeworms?

  • You can often see the dried sections of tapeworm around the cats anus. They resemble rice grains.
  • You may see the moving segments of tapeworm in the cat’s feces.
  • Your vet may examine a smear from your cats anus under a microscope.

How to treat tapeworms in my cat or kitten?

Drontal kills mature and immature development stages of tapeworms in the intestine after a single treatment. A single tablet can usually be purchased over the counter from your vet without paying for a consultation. It can also be bought from online pet supply stores with a prescription.
Drontal is a broad-spectrum de-wormer used in cats and kittens to treat tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms.

How can I prevent tapeworms in my cat?

You should regularly de-worm your cat or kitten with a product such as Drontal. Flea control is also important. Read our How to get rid of Fleas article.

Can Humans Catch Tapeworms from Cats or Kittens?

Humans can become infected with the tapeworm Dipylidium Caninum but it is quite rare.

Read this article for more information Can humans catch worms & other diseases from cats?

This article is for information purposes only and is in no way intended to replace veterinary advice.

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