Worms are a common concern for cats that spend time outside, have fleas, eat live animals, or come in contact with other cats carrying worms.
In short; any cat can carry parasites.
When I brought Oscar and Joey home from the bait shop on the side of the highway, they both had worms. Poor little guys. However, it sounds worse than it is and luckily you can treat your cat for parasites at home with an over-the-counter dewormer.
Let’s take a look at a few contenders for the best cat dewormer available today.
Our Top Picks.
How Can I Tell What Kind of Worms My Cat Has?
If left untreated, even minor worm infestations can lead to severe health problems for cats. Choosing the correct dewormer is the key. It’s best if you take your cat to a veterinarian for an evaluation of his or her worm problem.
The vet can tell you exactly what type of worms your pet has as well as provide you with prescription medication if the infestation is severe.
They can also recommend the best over-the-counter medicine to treat the specific parasite that your poor cat has become infected with. You can treat kitty yourself if you are familiar with the worms he has. There are also dewormers that treat multiple types of parasites, but they also have more side effects. It’s best to let the vet diagnose your pet.
Common Types of Internal Parasites
The most common intestinal worms in the United States are:
Roundworms pass through infested animal feces, and they can live for years. Worse yet, animals can transmit roundworms to people.
Cats become infected when they consume an animal that has parasites or if they eat the eggs directly. They can also get these worms from their mother through her milk. So, many people recommend that you assume all kittens have worms.
It’s critical to diagnose and treat roundworms as early as possible. Symptoms of a roundworm infestation are loss of appetite, general weakness, and a bloated stomach.
If you think the term tapeworm sounds horrible, these worms look a little scary. Named because of their body shape, tapeworms are usually 4-28 inches long. Your cat contracts tapeworms when they eat a flea carrying their eggs.
Tapeworms consist of segments called proglottids. Each proglottid has eggs in it and looks like a grain of white rice. The shape and size of these segments vary.
When your cat has tapeworms, they rob your pet of nutrients. Many times, your kitty won’t show any symptoms, and usually, you discover that your cat has an infestation when you see the worm’s segments. You’ll see them in their litter box, on their tail, or the fur near their tail.
Eventually, your cat will become sickly and lose weight. Your pet may lose his or her appetite or have diarrhea.
These worms are much smaller than tapeworms and roundworms; less than 1 inch in length. Hookworms are parasites that attach to your cat’s intestinal wall lining and feed on their blood. These worms are probably the scariest that can use your pet as a host. Early treatment is vital because hookworms can kill your pet.
Since they feed off of your cat’s blood, a severe infestation can lead to death as a worst-case scenario or anemia. At the beginning of a hookworm invasion, you’re kitty may get lesions on the bottom of his paws. He may also have a loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, or a cough.
Cats contract hookworms by ingesting their eggs or walking on soil with hookworms in it. It’s transmitted mostly through feces so it can spread easily from cat to cat, especially if you have multiple cats that share a litter box.
The larvae can also burrow through cats’ fur and into their skin. Since you can’t see hookworms, a veterinarian must diagnose them.
Treatment for Intestinal Parasites
Mostly, there are two types of treatment for deworming your cat; natural or chemical. There are over-the-counter solutions that are as effective at treating internal parasites as prescription medication. Here are the common chemical treatments:
This medicine paralyzes roundworms, and then they pass through your cat’s body. They’re still alive but no longer attached to their host. Piperazine rarely has side effects, but if your cat overdoses they may have muscle tremors, nausea, and vomiting.
Used to treat hookworms and roundworms, Pyrantel pamoate paralyzes the worms causing them to lose their grip on your cat’s intestines. Then they leave your pet’s body through their feces. The liquid form of this medicine is easy to administer because many cats like the taste. This medication has minimal side effects. Sometimes vomiting happens but rarely.
Praziquantel treats tapeworms by preventing them from feeding off of your cat’s nutrients. Essentially, it starves them, and they disintegrate. Afterward, your pet absorbs them into their body. This medication also rarely has side effects. Sometimes your pet may salivate or have diarrhea after taking this medicine.
If you’d rather treat your pet with a natural medicine, Diatomaceous earth is commonly used to treat worms by dehydrating them. It also treats fleas. Diatomaceous earth is a fine, natural powder that some people even use as an organic pesticide. This treatment has its supporters, but some say that it’s less effective than chemical treatments.
There are other natural treatments available that are a mixture of natural ingredients and herbs such as clove, wormwood, and black walnut. Cucurbitin is another natural dewormer. It is an amino acid in pumpkin seeds. It works by paralyzing the worms and helping them to pass through your pet’s body in their waste.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck with natural dewormers working on my cat. I’ve found that its best to use one of the chemical treatments because they have such few side effects.
Best Cat Dewormers Reviewed
Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer
For Cats 6 weeks and older
Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer is a very popular dewormer that eliminates tapeworms effectively. It’s one of the best products available for deworming cats today. Unfortunately, your kitty’s grooming behavior puts them at a higher risk of ingesting fleas infected with immature tapeworms.
It comes in a non-coated tablet that you can crumble up and mix in your cat’s food. You can give it to cats straight, but it may go down easier if its mixed in with kitty’s favorite dinner. It has fewer adverse effects than broad-spectrum medicines. The only negative problems your cat may experience are diarrhea or salivation, but they are rare.
One negative is that it doesn’t come in liquid form so if your cat hates taking pills, you’ll have to hide it in their food. Some people crushed it and sprinkled it over their cat’s food, added a little water, and then mixed it up. Kitty didn’t even notice it or smell it!
It’s for use in cats 6 weeks and older and available over-the-counter without a prescription. It’s a cost-effective solution to help rid your pet of tapeworms. This medication is a little pricier than some, but it still provides excellent value. It also treats the worms with a single dose making the treatment process easy and comfortable for your kitty. This medicine works quickly.
The active ingredient is praziquantel. Each pill contains 23mg of this ingredient. Praziquantel is very effective at killing tapeworms. If for some reason you misdiagnose tapeworm, this medicine is safe for cats that don’t have this parasite so no worries!
This treatment is excellent because you don’t have to wait for a vet appointment. If you know your pet has tapeworms, purchase Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer as soon as possible.
Healex Cat Dewormer Tablets
For Tapeworm and Roundworm
This treatment is excellent for roundworms and tapeworms in your pet. You must follow the steps, or you risk your cat getting infested again. For this reason, Healex includes 10 tablets in every box. The company also suggests treating your cat for fleas since they are a common source of worms. It’s not for use in cats under the age of 6 weeks. You also shouldn’t give it cats that are pregnant or nursing.
Healex suggests that if you have several cats and one has worms that you should treat the others as well. You can take care of multiple cats with the 10 tablets in the bottle or give one cat several doses.
These pills are smaller and easy to break up making it comfortable for your cat to ingest. They are small enough to give your cat whole or break the tablet in half.
What’s really nice about this treatment is it comes with a free, helpful e-book that provides step-by-step instructions for dosing your cat with the medication. Healex carefully picked every ingredient with your cat’s health in mind.
Bayer Drontal Broad Spectrum Dewormer
Broad Spectrum Dewormer
This medicine may be a very expensive, premium product, but keep in mind that its 50 tablets and works very well. One pill lasts for a long time and can treat multiple cats. It’s considered a broad-spectrum treatment because it treats tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms. Dosing is one tablet per 4 to 8 lbs. of weight.
It contains praziquantel and a base consisting of pyrantel pamoate. Each pill contains 72.6mg of Pyrantel pamoate and 18.2 mg of praziquantel. These pills break easily for simple dosing.
Be careful that you don’t administer this drug with other medications, specifically flea meds because it may cause toxicity. It’s best to ask your vet if your pet takes other medicine. They can advise the best dosing and help answer any questions that you may have.
Some people called it the “Cadillac of animal dewormers,” because it’s very effective. It may be the most efficient broad-spectrum on the market. Its also quickly expels those worms with few cats experiencing side effects.
Animal rescue groups love this medicine for treating many cats. Some said that they rarely had to do multiple treatments and that there were no adverse effects. Many vets also recommend this product; it’s even more expensive if you purchase through them, though. While it may be pricey, it will save you money on vet bills in the long run. This dewormer may be the only one that treats all three common parasites effectively.
CatNDog Dewormer for Round and Tapeworms
Money Back Guarantee
This medication is in tablet form. Dosing is 1 pill for every 8.8 lbs. CatNDog recommends that you treat your outdoor cat every month and indoor cats every 3 months with this dewormer. The small tablets make administering medicine easy. The active ingredient is Pyrantel pamoate. There are no adverse side effects which is a huge bonus for your poor cat who is already suffering from worms as it is.
This product is for cats 6 weeks and older. It comes in a 3 or 5 tablet pack, which is very handy. It provides great value for the price. Often you don’t need to re-administer the medicine as one tablet typically takes care of the problem. It works swiftly which is great for kitty.
The tablets are small enough for you to give your cat whole or you can crush them up and mix them in your pet’s food. They’ll never notice it’s there. You can also try the tablet in pill pocket treats if your cat eats treats. Unfortunately, this was not an option for me as my kitty will have nothing to do with cat treats.
Also, the price is excellent. It doesn’t hit your wallet too hard. These tablets are an excellent value for the price.
The company stands behind their product. If you aren’t happy, notify them within 30 days, and they’ll refund the first box; no questions asked. They make the refund process easy.
Pro-Sense Liquid Dewormer Solutions for Cats
This liquid medicine is specifically for roundworms. It’s a very economical price. Use this medicine for cats 6 weeks and older that have roundworms. You can dose your cat directly or mix it in their food. Dosing is a quarter teaspoon for every 2.5 lbs. After the first dose, wait 14 days before administering another. Pro-Sense also has an appealing flavor and smell. You can avoid crushing pills altogether with this medicine.
There is 250mg of piperazine citrate in every teaspoon of this medication. If you give your cat too much, they may be at risk for an overdose and experience symptoms such as muscle tremors, nausea, and vomiting.
Some pets tolerate this medicine well, but others have side effects such as vomiting. Don’t by a large bottle until you’re sure you can treat your pet safely with it.
Pro-Sense is a well-known brand that provides solutions for pet wellness and healthcare needs. What’s nice about this medicine is that it’s safe and easy to give to kittens, but not those under 6 weeks old. It also comes with a useful dosing spoon which is a bonus.
It rids your cats of parasites quickly. Some people said it eliminated worms within 24 hours. However, it’s critical that you know exactly what type of worm your cat has since this only treat’s roundworms.
All of these dewormers eliminate the worms that they were created for. These are safe and quick solutions if you know what type of parasites that your cat has.
Our number 1 choice was also the primary choice for many people; Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer for Cats 6 Weeks and Older. This non-coated tablet is available at an economical price without a prescription. While we still advise that you take your cat to the vet so they can diagnose what type of worm your cat has, if you know they have a tapeworm, this medicine is the best choice.
Tapeworms are common parasites found in cats because of their grooming habits and the live prey they hunt. Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer eliminates this parasite quickly without your pet experiencing adverse side effects, unlike some broad-spectrum medicines that treat multiple types of worms.
We also chose this medicine because it crushes up easy so that you can give it to your pet in their food. It doesn’t come in liquid form, but most people had no problems dosing their cats. Another excellent benefit is that if you accidentally diagnose your cat with tapeworm and they don’t have any, this medicine won’t harm your pet.
The active ingredient in this medication is praziquantel which is one of the most common chemicals used to treat worms in animals. It’s a great overall solution for your pet if he or she has become infected with tapeworm. By treating your pet quickly, they’ll be healthy and back to their old personalities in no time.