helping a kitten with tapeworm parasite

Tapeworm in Cats and Kittens

Tapeworm is an intestinal parasite. The worms have long flattened bodies look like a tape or a ribbon. They are often transmitted by flea larvae.

What Are Tapeworms?

Dear Simba, my 4-month-old male kitty has just been diagnosed with Tapeworm.
he is being treated by the vet. What is tapeworm? His 2 sisters and mom do not have it-is there anything we can do to avoid them getting it? thank you! Jane

Dear Jane,
Tapeworm is an intestinal parasite. They have long flattened bodies look like a tape or a ribbon. The body is made up of a small head connected to a series of segments filled with eggs. You can identify it by looking for small rice like particles in stools. Tapeworms can be transmitted in several ways. One way is through flea larvae. Fleas eat the tapeworm and cats may ingest the flea while grooming. Therefore, often fleas = tapeworms. The other way of getting worms is through infected rodents (this affects outdoor cats). So what to do?
  • Segregate the infected kitty until he is worm-free.

  • Check your cats for fleas

  • Replace all the kitty litter and be thorough in cleaning it
tapeworm parasite in cats

  • Talk to your vet about preventive worming treatment

  • If your cats go outside, consider keeping them in
I hope this helps. Your Pal, Simba

Are Tapeworms Contagious?

Dear Simba, My kitten has what appears to be small rice particles on his stools. My vet will not be here for 5 days, I have other pets and I am worried they will get infected also. Please help! Mindy

Hi Mindy,
Tapeworms are transmitted through the ingestion of infected fleas or feces. I recommend that you keep your kitten isolated for now. Simba

Dear Simba,
I have found some tiny, white, hard, rice-shaped things on the chair where the kitten sleeps. I have checked his poop and have not found worms. What could these be? He is a high-energy kitty and has a good appetite. Any advice you could give would be appreciated. - Thanks! Amy

Dear Amy,
It is entirely possible that Kitty has tapeworm. This condition is fairly common in kittens and those little grains of rice-like matter are egg cases that hold and release tapeworm eggs. FYI, watch out for fleas. Because your kitten is too young to hunt it is possible that he acquired tapeworms by eating flea larvae (flea larvae often eat tapeworm eggs). Best thing to do is to go to your vet and treat your kitten. In the meantime check him for fleas. Again, this is a common condition so do not worry, he will be fine. Your Pal, Simba

Dear Simba
We discovered worms that look like small white rice that moves in our cat's stool. Please advise what we need to do to rid the cat of worms, protect our other cat from getting worms too and whether or not worms can be transmitted to humans. Thank you for your assistance concerning this matter. Scooter

Dear Scooter,
It appears as though your cat has tapeworm. Tapeworms are very common and easily treated. They transmitted through the ingestion of flea larvae or infected rodents. Most indoor cats get tapeworm from fleas. So there is a risk that your other cat may already be infected.

The risk to human adults is minimal so long as you wash your hands after interacting with your cat (be sure to keep any young children away until your cat completes treatment). Your best bet is to isolate the cat that has the worms and begin treatment with a wormer. You may also want to begin a preventive treatment for your other cat, in addition to taking them both for a check up and possible flea treatment. Tapeworms are an easy one to cure. Keep me posted. Simba

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