Cat worms

cat looking out a window
Written by: Sam Webster (BVetMed MRCVS) Head Vet at Joii

Finding out your cat has worms can be an unpleasant experience for both you and your cat. It’s an experience best avoided and can be easily prevented with regular worming treatment.

Your vet will be able to tell you when your cat needs worming and what kind of treatment they need.

What do cat worms look like?


There are a number of different worms that are commonly found in cats, including:


  • Roundworms – these are the most common intestinal parasites that are found in cats and are fairly visible to the naked eye. They can be anywhere between 3-5 inches long and look like a strand of spaghetti. They steal nutrients from the food your cat ingests and then produce eggs which are eliminated through the faeces.
  • Tapeworms – these are flat and resemble small grains of rice or sesame seeds. Your cat may contract tapeworms by ingesting a flea that is infested with tapeworm eggs. 
  • Hookworms – these get their name from the hook-like teeth that they use to attach themselves to the lining of your cat’s intestines where they feed off their blood. Hookworms are caught either by eating them directly or from larvae that burrow into their skin, and are known to be the most harmful of all the worms and parasites as they can cause intestinal bleeding. Thankfully they’re not as common in cats compared to other worms.
  • Heartworms – these are potentially deadly parasites that infest the heart, blood vessels and lungs and are usually caught through the bite of infected mosquitos. Unfortunately, there is no cure for heartworm in cats so regular preventative treatment is the only form of protection.
  • Lungworm – cats can get lungworms when they drink contaminated water or hunt and consume birds or rodents that are infested with lungworm larvae. Once these larvae make their way through your cat’s intestines, they migrate into the lungs where they develop into adult worms and lay eggs.

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your cat, it’s essential you get them checked at the vets as early as possible.

How do I treat and deworm my cat?


Always check with your vet to find out what worm treatments your cat needs and how often. It’s always best to do this when you get a new kitten, or if you’re adopting an adult cat, find out what treatment they’ve been on from the previous owner or shelter.  


Preventing tapeworms can also mean treating for fleas, as fleas can carry their eggs. Having regular flea and worm treatment is the best approach for avoiding infestations and keeping your cat happy and healthy.  



Asda Pet Insurance gives you access to a 24-hour Vet Advice Line so you can always reach some expert advice if you need it, as well as feeling confident your cat is covered against unexpected illness.

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