Roundworms in Cats: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment


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Roundworms in Cats

Is your cat losing weight despite eating normally? Well, one of the major reasons behind your cat losing weight unexpectedly is because of a harmful parasite. Roundworms are the most dangerous parasitic worms usually witnessed in cats, dogs, and other animals.

Roundworms may cause potential illness in some cats and sometimes, it may even cause death in felines. Generally, cats may get attacked by this parasitic worm, especially during their kitten stage. 

Roundworms in Cats
Roundworms in Cats

Roundworms in cats are a very common health issue your cat may likely encounter at some point in its lifetime. Although roundworms aren’t a worrisome disease in cats still, you need to have some idea about the cause, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from roundworm infection in cats. Have a look!

What Are Roundworms In Cats And How Do They Look?

Roundworm in cats is one of the most commonly seen intestinal parasites that pilfers the nutrients from the cat’s food. Roundworms are large having a length ranging between 3 to 6 inches [8 to 15 cm]. Roundworms appear cylindrical with a lengthy body. They can be spotted easily with the naked eye.

Unlike other intestinal parasites, roundworms don’t stick to the intestinal walls of the cat instead, they move freely within the intestine. Roundworms are cream-colored and usually look like spaghetti noodles when they come out on the pet’s stool. 


When adult roundworms swim inside the intestines, they start producing eggs. Those eggs come out of the cat’s body through its poop, especially in the infected cats. Sometimes, the infected cats may infect other animals in their surroundings.

When roundworms steal the ingested nutrients, they start making the cat weak and diminish its physical strength. As a result, your cat’s immunity power will get weakened. 

This makes your cat easily susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. Sometimes, the cats attacked by roundworms have a risk of spreading to their pet owners and family members.

Types of Roundworms

Two different species of roundworms usually infect cats. It includes Toxocara Cati and Toxascara Leonina. Mostly, roundworm infection is usually caused in kittens through various ways. The two types of roundworms that affect the felines include the following:

Toxocara Cati

Toxocara Cati is one of the common types of roundworm that appears in kittens. This type of roundworm larvae usually gets ingested into the kittens through their mother’s milk. Young kittens attacked by roundworms may have Toxocara Cati as it is transmitted by the mother cat’s breastmilk.

Cats or kittens that ingest eggs by eating rodents or specific parasitic carriers may get attacked by this roundworm infection. If the cats ingest those eggs, they enter into the digestive system and open up as larvae.

Toxascara Leonina

Toxascaris leonina is usually transferred into the cat’s intestines through the ingestion of the worm’s eggs or larva. Toxascara Leonina is very rarely seen in older cats. 

The lifecycle of this type of roundworm is very much simple compared to Toxocara Cati wherein the worm’s eggs are defecated in the feces. If in case, the eggs are ingested into the intestines of the cat, they eventually develop into adult roundworms.

How Do Cats Get Roundworms?

How Do Cats Get Roundworms? There are different ways cats get roundworms into their body. Mostly, cats may contract roundworms through the environment, from the mother cat to the kitten, etc. Here are the most common ways cats tend to catch roundworms.

From Mother to Kitten

One of the major ways your cat may catch roundworms is from a mother cat to a kitten. When the mother cat is infected by the roundworm infection, it can get easily passed to the kittens through breastmilk while nursing. 

The immature roundworm larvae present in the mammary glands of the mother cat are passed to the kittens. The transmission of roundworm infection from mother to kitten is referred to as Trans-mammary infection. 

It is sometimes known as Milk-Borne infection. If one newborn kitten is infected by the roundworms, the remaining kittens may likely get infected easily. 

Environmental Issues

Round Worm in Cats may be because by various environmental conditions. Your cat may get roundworm infection from plants, grass, soil, and other things from the surroundings. 

Whenever your cat eats plants or grass, the roundworm eggs may get ingested into the body of the feline. After entering the body, the eggs will deposit in the digestive system and open up into larvae causing the roundworm infection.

Through Infected Feces

Your cat may get a roundworm infection through the feces shed by an infected animal. If your cat eats the meat of an infected animal like a rat, mouse, etc., may get affected by the roundworm infection.

Eating Rodents

Sometimes, consuming rodents that have ingested the larva can also infect the felines.

Through Infected Pregnant Cat

Your little kitten may get infected by the roundworm infection through the infected pregnant cat’s placenta. This infection is transmitted from the pregnant cat to the unborn kitten.

Symptoms of Roundworms in Cats

Wondering what are the Symptoms of Roundworms in Cats? Well, most of the time, roundworm infections in felines are asymptomatic. However, some cats may experience specific signs or symptoms of roundworm infection regardless of age. 

Otherwise, the owner of the cat may witness a worm appearing in the form of spaghetti in the stool of the cat. In general, young kittens and cats that don’t have immunity power tend to develop Cat Roundworm Symptoms.

The symptoms in the cats affected by roundworms may cause long-term and severe infections. We’ve compiled a list of the major symptoms of roundworms in cats. Check it out!

1. Weight Loss

Is your cat losing its weight lately? Cats having roundworms in their intestines may lead to severe weight loss. Though the cat eats foods like a normal healthy cat, they still lose weight. 

Whenever you witness that your feline is losing weight for an unknown reason, it’s time to take your cat to the vet. If the cat’s abdomen appears bloated it indicates that your cat is suffering from roundworm infection.

2. Fur becomes Rough

The cat’s fur becomes rough in texture. One of the symptoms of roundworms in cats is a change in the fur of the cat. The cat’s fur loses its natural smoothness and softness and becomes coarse. If your cat is suffering from a bloated stomach alongside coarse fur then, it is a symptom of Round Worm in Cats.

3. Diarrhea

Cats having roundworms in their intestines may suffer from diarrhea alongside mucus. Sometimes, cats may suffer from constipation or abnormal poop. If you find your cat pooping several times, it could be due to diarrhea. Immediately, take your cat to the vet and diagnose the problem.

4. Abnormal Bowel Habits

The cat owners may witness significant changes in the bowel habits of the felines. The cat may strive hard to defecate due to the ingestion of roundworms in the stomach. If the stool is extremely hard, it indicates constipation issues in your cat.

5. Lethargy

Cats with roundworms often appear lethargic. Due to lack of energy, they don’t show enthusiasm for certain things. Such cats don’t indulge in active playtime and often stay in one place. 

As the roundworms present in the cat’s stomach steal all the nutrients from the food they intake, your feline companion doesn’t get enough energy it needs daily.

6. Worms traced in stool & vomit

If you don’t witness the aforementioned symptoms of roundworms in your cat, you may witness traces of worms in the cat’s feces or vomit. Otherwise, you can also see roundworms around the anus of the cat. 

Usually, the size of roundworms will be 10 cm in length. They appear in creamy color and cylindrical shape. If you can’t find the entire body of the roundworm, you may even witness the sections of their body.

7. Coughing

Coughing is one of the Symptoms of Roundworms in Cats. When the roundworm larvae migrate to the lungs of the cat, it may cause severe cough in the feline.

8. Poor Growth Rate in Kittens

Lack of growth is another symptom of roundworms in cats. We can witness poor growth rates specifically in kittens. As the food or milk consumed by the kittens is taken by the roundworms present in the intestines, the kitten doesn’t get enough nutrients for healthy growth. This results in poor growth rates in the young kittens.

When to Take My Cat to the Vet?

Roundworms aren’t dangerous in adult cats. However, having roundworms in large numbers may lead to life-threatening issues in young kittens and very weak-aged cats. Kittens and old cats are highly prone to the risk of death due to roundworm infection. 

If you witness certain symptoms like lethargy, lack of appetite, bloated stomach, rapid weight loss, etc., it may indicate that your cat is suffering from roundworm infection in cats. If you observe any of the aforementioned conditions in your cat, take your cat to the vet immediately.

Diagnosing Roundworms

One way to diagnose roundworm in cats is by noticing a spaghetti-shaped roundworm in the stool or vomit of the cat. It’s quite difficult to figure out the signs of roundworm infection in kittens and adults if the roundworms are less in number. 

Though there aren’t any clinical symptoms of roundworm infection in cats, cat owners can trace out the roundworms in the cat’s feces or vomit. A fecal examination is performed on the cat to diagnose roundworm infection in cats. 

When you notice a few symptoms of roundworms in cats, you will take the cat to the vet. The veterinarian will scrutinize the feces or stool of your cat to trace out the roundworm eggs in it. Through this examination, the vet will try to determine the type or species of roundworm present in the intestines of the cat.

The vet will be able to detect the roundworm eggs present in the stool sample of the cat under a microscope. Fecal Flotation is the test used to detect roundworms in the feces of the cat. In rare cases, your veterinarian might ask you to get bloodwork for antigen and PCR testing for your feline companion.

Other possible medical examinations performed on the cat to diagnose roundworm infection include Abdominal X-ray and Sonogram. If the roundworms aren’t visible in the cat’s stool to the bare eyes of the vet, the vet will take the stool sample and mix it with a liquid solution. By doing so, roundworm eggs will start floating on the top of the liquid.

Treatment for Roundworm Infection in Cats

Want to give Roundworm Treatment for Cats? Once your vet has confirmed through diagnosis that your cat is suffering from roundworms, the vet will start the treatment. A variety of treatments and different medications are available to cats with roundworms. 

Depending on the type of roundworm infection, the vet will pick the right treatment for the cat. Also, the age of the cat and the current condition of the cat are the key factors that are considered by the vet before starting the treatment as the necessity of the number of treatments.

The treatment cost for roundworms in cats is pretty simple and cost-effective as well. There are a wide variety of treatment options used by most vets to treat roundworms in a cat. The first and foremost treatment is to provide deworming medications to the cat.

Deworming medications will help in treating roundworms in adult cats. Hence, they need to be given the deworming medications repetitively every 2 to 3-week intervals. By giving the necessary medications at regular intervals, it helps in killing the residual larvae. 

Once you give deworming medication to the cat orally, it starts killing the worms. The pet parent can witness dead worms present in the cat’s poop during the treatment stage. If your cat has more roundworms in the intestines, it requires several doses of medication to exterminate all the worms. 

Adult cats with roundworm infection will be recovered soon through the deworming medication. However, your vet will recommend giving deworming medications to the kittens if the condition is fatal. The most commonly prescribed medications to treat roundworms in cats include:

  • Pyrantel
  • Fenbendazole
  • Selamectin
  • Piperazine
  • Emodepside
  • Ivermectin
  • Moxidectin
  • Drontal
  • Profender
  • Milbemycin

Apart from the deworming oral medications, there are some other types of dewormers available for the cat. It includes liquid medication, pastes, and on-spot treatments. Considering the condition of the cat, the vet will pick the right medicine that befits your cat and treats roundworms quickly. 

Once the roundworm infection is cleared completely, your cat can return to its normal life. However, there is a high chance for your cat to get roundworm infection again when it is exposed to roundworm eggs or ingests infected rodents. If the roundworm infection in cats is not treated at the right time, it could sometimes lead to the death of the cat.

Recovering From Roundworm Infection

The time of diagnosis in cats with roundworms is highly important. Based on the infection stage, the recovery of roundworms in cats will depend. When you trace out that your cat is suffering from roundworm infection in the early stage, your cat will be able to recover within 2 to 6 weeks. 

The recovery time depends on the complexity of the disease. Make sure that you administer all the medications in the right doses to your cat on time as directed by the vet. By doing so, the cat requires a recovery period from the roundworm infection.

Preventing Roundworms in Cats

No vaccine is available for the cats to avoid the attack of roundworms. Hence, it is highly important to take necessary preventive measures. Roundworm infection in cats can be prevented easily if you take all the preventive measures properly. Mostly, roundworm infections are developed in cats during their kitten stage i.e., from their mother’s cat while nursing. 

  • Whether you witness Symptoms of Roundworms in Cats or not, it is important to take your cat to the vet for regular deworming treatments right from an early age. 
  • Make sure you keep an eye on the feces or stool of your cat regularly to notice roundworms. 
  • Regularly take fecal samples of your cat to the vet to trace out roundworms in cats.
  • Give monthly heartworm-preventative medications to your cat to protect it against harmful roundworms. 
  • Clean the feces of your cat from the litter box frequently to avoid the spread of infection.
  • Take your cat to the veterinarian clinic to give cat vaccinations on a frequent basis.
  • Cats are highly prone to get roundworms by consuming infected meat. Hence, it is recommended to keep cats indoors so that they will not indulge in hunting activities. This way, you can limit your cat from eating small animals that may carry the parasites.
  • Take your feline companion to the vet for regular health check-ups.
  • Make use of effective disinfectants to prevent roundworms in cats.
  • Don’t let your cat stay among overcrowded pets for a long time.
  • Maintaining your cat’s hygiene and keeping the surroundings and the environment clean is highly important.


Do you have any queries about the roundworms in cats? If so, go through the frequently asked questions furnished below in this post. We have mentioned the precise answers to the FAQs to clear your doubts about the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of roundworms in felines.

  1. Can Humans Get Roundworms From Cats?

    The answer is a ‘Yes’ but only in rare cases. Humans are prone to getting infected by placing their fingers into the mouth after playing with their little kitten for a long time. 
    If you eat raw vegetables infected by eggs or roundworm larvae may cause roundworms in humans. However, there is proof that infected felines don’t cause roundworm infection in humans directly.

  2. Can Cats Get Roundworms From Dogs?

    Yes, cats may get roundworms from dogs. It is quite easy to spread roundworms from dogs to cats when they come in contact with eggs and larvae.

  3. Can Roundworms Kill a Cat?

    Yes, roundworm infection may kill a cat when it is in the kitten stage. Death occurs in kittens if the number of roundworms is more in the intestines of the cat. 


Well, this is all you need to know about ‘Roundworms in Cats’. Roundworms in cats are quite a common problem mostly faced by kittens and adult cats. If you find severe symptoms of roundworms in your cats, make sure you contact the vet as early as possible. 

Be mindful of the places wherein your cat roams around in public parks. Maintain proper hygiene and clean the litterbox of the cat frequently. We hope this article has given adequate information about the symptoms of roundworms in cats, treatment options, recovery, preventive measures, and more. 

If you still have any queries about this article, let us know in the comments section. Visit our website frequently to learn more about cat diseases, cat foods, parasites in cats, behavioral issues in cats, and more.

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