How to spot the symptoms of worms in cats

Wondering if the cat in your life has worms but not sure how to find out? Spotting the symptoms of intestinal worms such as roundworm and tapeworm is much easier when we know what to look for. That’s why our pet experts have shared the most common signs us pet parents need to be aware of. See if your cat has any of these and find out what to do next to help your cat get back on track.

One in four cats carries intestinal worms.1

What to look out for

  • Bloated tummy
    Cats and kittens with worms can have a ‘pot belly’ – a rounded abdomen caused by the worms living inside them.

  • Stomach upsets
    Worms can cause cats to have upset stomachs, and even vomit. There might even be some white worm segments in their vomit.

  • Diarrhoea
    This could be in addition to vomiting or might be seen on its own. Again, you could see worm segments in their diarrhoea.

  • Change in appetite
    A sudden change in how much a cat or kitten eats is another sign. Because worms can live off the food cat eats, cats with worms may become hungrier and start eating more – or asking for more food.


More signs to look out for

  • Weight loss
    Some worms eat the food that cats consume. This means cats can lose weight even if they’re eating more, because some of this extra food is feeding the worms instead.

  • Weakness or lack of energy
    When worms are living off the food your cat is eating, it’s helping the worms inside your cat to thrive instead of your cat. Some worms feed off our cats’ blood, which can again cause them to feel tired.

  • A rough or dull coat
    This is again down to worms taking the nutrients a cat needs to stay healthy.

  • Sledging or scooting
    Cats sometimes slide their bums along the ground because of the irritation worms are causing here.

  • Excessive licking around their bottom
    If worms are causing irritation there, cats will try to soothe the way they know best – by licking it.

  • Seeing bits of worms
    The above signs aren’t specific only to worm infections – they could be the result of other ailments instead. But one certain sign a cat has worms is if you can see white worms or worm segments in your cat’s fur, around their bum, in their bed or in their poo or vomit.

    These worms could be alive and wriggling or they could be dried out and look like little grains of rice, depending on how long they’ve been outside of the body. Roundworms are cylindrical – like spaghetti  whereas tapeworms are flatter – like ribbons – and segmented.

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Spotted these signs in a kitten?

If you think your kitten has worms, ask your vet for advice now. Heavy worm infestations can cause serious – sometimes even deadly – complications in kittens, so your vet will need to recommend a worm treatment that’s right for your kitten’s age and body weight.


Spotted these signs in an adult cat?

Take a look at our quick guide to treating worms in cats.

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Not seen these symptoms?

It’s good to remember that not all cats show these signs. A healthy-looking cat can mean the problem goes unnoticed, but worms could still be living off our cat’s food and blood and shedding worm eggs into the environment. That’s why regular worming is important – just because we can’t always see signs of worms, it doesn’t mean they’re not there. And any gap in treatment gives a worm problem the chance to build.

Worming cats can be simpler with tasty chewable tablets, such as FRONTLINE® WORMER. It can be given on its own or with food and it kills all UK intestinal worms, making it a convenient way to protect our feline fussy eaters from worms.

With the right treatment, our cats can overcome the problems worms can cause before they become a bigger issue.


Get answers from the experts

Got a question about fleas, ticks or worms? We can help! Take a look at our FAQs or send us a message.

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