Do you really need to worry about worming an indoor cat?
Many cats are natural-born roamers, but others spend all of their time indoors. If your cat isn’t an outdoor explorer that enjoys catching mice or interacting with other animals, you might wonder if you still need to worry about worms.
The answer is yes. Unfortunately, even cats that never venture outside are still at risk from parasites like tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, lungworm and heartworm.
Worms that can infect an indoor cat
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, other pets or visitors to your home. Cats will unknowingly eat fleas in their coat when they are grooming, potentially infecting themselves with a tapeworm in the process.
Roundworms are also hard-to-avoid parasites that can afflict indoor cats. Roundworms are large, white spaghetti-like parasites that live in the small intestine of the gut, laying thousands of eggs a day.
Roundworm eggs can be brought indoors on shoes or clothes, and if your cat accidentally eats these, they may become infected. Roundworms can also be passed to kittens through an infected mother’s milk, so a young cat might already have worms before they even arrive at your home.
Roundworms can also be transmitted to cats when they hunt – so if your indoor cat catches a lizard or rodent that finds its way into your house, they could be at risk for roundworms.
Hookworms are small, blood-sucking worms that live in your cat's intestines and in large numbers can make your cat very sick. Lizards and rodents are a source of hookworm infection for indoor cats.
Small animals such as lizards and rodents, as well as snails or slugs that might find their way indoors on plants, can also be a source of lungworms, small worms that live within, and damage your cat's lungs.
Heartworms are large worms that live within your cat's heart and major vessels. It takes just one bite from an infected mosquito to transmit this potentially deadly parasite to a cat.
How to treat worms in your cat
If your cat gets worms, there are several simple and effective solutions to choose from.
Advocate is an easy way to protect your cat from most intestinal worms, as well as heartworm, lungworms and fleas, with a spot-on treatment. Advocate not only kills worms, but with regular monthly use is able to prevent your cat from becoming infected.
Find out more about Advocate for cats.