Can My Indoor Cat Get Worms?

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What to know about worms and indoor cats.

Some cats are natural-born roamers, but many spend most or all of their time indoors. If your cat isn’t an outdoor explorer who enjoys catching mice or interacting with other animals, you might wonder if you still need to worry about worms.

Can Indoor Cats Get Worms?

The answer is yes. Unfortunately, even cats that never venture outside are still at risk for intestinal parasites like tapeworms and roundworms. That’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the types of worms your indoor cat could get, as well as the treatment options.

Which Worms Can Infect Your 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, on other pets or even on other visitors to your home. Cats will unknowingly eat fleas in their coat when they groom, potentially infecting themselves with a tapeworm in the process. 

Indoor cats can also pick up tapeworms if they eat infected rodents that find their way into your home, such as mice.


Roundworm is another hard-to-avoid parasite that can affect indoor cats. Roundworms are large, white, spaghetti-like parasites that live in the small intestine and lay thousands of eggs at a time.

A gray European shorthair cat sleeping peacefully on couch.

Roundworm eggs can be brought indoors on shoes or clothes, and if they’re accidentally eaten by your cat, your cat may become infected. Roundworms can also be passed to kittens through their mother’s milk, so a young cat might already have worms before they arrive at your home.

Roundworms can also be transmitted to cats when they hunt — so if your indoor cat catches a rodent that finds its way into your house, your cat could be at risk for roundworms.

How to Treat Worms in Your Cat

If your cat gets worms, there are several simple and effective solutions to choose from; consult your veterinarian to find the best product for your cat.

As cats are at risk of reinfection, keeping up with a regular worming routine at least once every three months will help keep your indoor cat healthy and free of intestinal parasites — even if they spend their days indoors, asleep on your sofa.

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Advantage Multi® for Cats (imidacloprid + moxidectin)

Advantage Multi® for Cats is a once-a-month topical solution for the prevention of heartworm disease, killing adult fleas, the treatment of flea infestations, the treatment and control of ear mite infestations and hookworm, and roundworm infections in cats and kittens 9 weeks of age and older.

Important Safety Information:
CAUTION: Federal law restricts Advantage Multi® for cats to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. WARNINGS: Do not use on sick or debilitated cats or ferrets. Do not use on underweight cats (see ADVERSE REACTIONS). Do not use on cats less than 9 weeks of age or less than 2 lbs. body weight. Do not use on ferrets less than 2 lbs. body weight. PRECAUTIONS: Avoid oral ingestion. HUMAN WARNINGS: Children should not come in contact with the application site for 30 minutes after application.

Profender® Topical Solution (emodepside/praziquantel) 

PROFENDER Topical Solution is indicated for the treatment and control of hookworm infections caused by Ancylostoma (adults, immature adults, and fourth stage larvae), roundworm infections caused by Toxocara cati (adults and fourth stage larvae), and tapeworm infections caused by Dipylidium caninum (adults) and Taenia taeniaeformis (adults) in cats that are at least 8 weeks of age and weigh at least 2.2 lbs.

Important Safety Information:
CAUTION: Federal (U.S.A.) law restricts Profender® to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian. HUMAN WARNING: Children should not contact application site for twenty-four (24) hours while the product is being absorbed. PRECAUTIONS: The effectiveness of this product when used before bathing has not been evaluated. Use with caution in sick or debilitated cats. Oral ingestion or exposure should be avoided.

Tapeworm Dewormer (praziquantel tablets) for Cats 

TAPEWORM DEWORMER (praziquantel tablets) FOR CATS will remove the common tapeworms, Dipylidium caninum and Taenia taeniaeformis, from cats and kittens.

Important Safety Information:
WARNING: Keep out of reach of children. Not for human use. 

Not intended for use in kittens less than six (6) weeks of age. For complete directions for use and safety information see product label