Indoor cats can get worms. Although one of the main purposes of keeping cats indoors is to protect them from picking up parasites from the outside, sometimes these parasites make their way indoors. It is much less likely for a cat to get worms and this probability is reduced even further if humans in the household practice good hygiene. However, unpredictable things can happen, and no indoor cat is guaranteed to be completely safe from worms.
Do you need to de-worm indoor cats?
Worms pose a small but real risk to indoor cats. There are many types of worms that your cat can get. They come in different shapes and sizes but are all bad news for your cat. Left untreated, worms can eventually cause serious medical problems and even kill a cat. Most worms can be seen in your cat’s feces but unfortunately some are too small to be seen by the human eye. Although indoor cats are much less likely to get worms, the risks of not preventing worms are large. This is why most vets would recommend that you regularly de-worm your indoor cat. It is not normally a legal requirement but it is a relatively cheap and easy treatment for your cat. We strongly recommend that you de-worm your indoor cat regularly.
How did my indoor cat get worms?
Most types of worms can be seen as short white specs in your cat’s feces. Sometimes, they may also vomit up live worms which can be distressing. If your indoor cat has gotten worms you will want to know how they get them in the first place. This is especially important to stop them getting worms again in the future.
Worms commonly come from fleas and their eggs. As we’ve gone over in our previous article about fleas and indoor cats here, fleas can enter the house through you or other animals in the house. If your cat or another animal in the house had fleas recently there is a chance that the fleas were carrying tapeworms. Otherwise, worms can be transmitted by other pests in the house. If your cat has been hunting mice inside of the house, the mice have had a worm infestation of their own which has now jumped to your cat. Slugs can carry lung worm and some cats enjoy hunting and eating slugs which make their way into your home.
There is also a small chance that you have tracked in worms or worm eggs from outside of the house on your clothes, skin, or shoes which your cat has then accidentally eaten. Accidentally planting eggs onto water or food bowls will almost guarantee that your indoor cat will get worms. Some types of worm eggs can last up to three weeks in the right conditions, increasing the risk of worms spreading.
Can cats spread worms to humans?
It is uncomfortable to think about but the worms that your cat gets can be transmitted to you. This can happen with poor hygiene if parts of their feces enter your body. This can happen after they lick themselves clean and then brush their bodies on to you. If your cat has worms, treat them as quickly as possible and practice very good personal hygiene in your home and around your cat until they are clear. Wash your hands with soap and warm water after petting or picking them up. Wipe down surfaces, especially the areas around litter trays, with cleaning sprays regularly. If you think that you have worms you will need to speak to your doctor about treatment.
Indoor cats are always at risk of getting worms. They could be passed on by pests in the house or by you after accidentally picking up eggs from the outdoors. Although indoor cats are much less likely to get eggs than outdoor cats, the risk isn’t zero. Indoor cats should be regularly de-wormed. Parasite treatment normally isn’t covered by pet insurance but it often is covered by your vet’s cat care plan. Speak to your vet if they can offer an affordable way to provide regular de-worming. Otherwise, you can purchase de-worming treatments from most pet shops. Read the guidance on your de-worming treatment to see how often you should apply it for preventative treatment.