cat attending an in clinic checkup

Roundworm in cats: why and how to protect your cat from roundworm

A good worming routine is all part of being a responsible cat owner – and it’s vital to protect your cat or kitten from the dangers of these pesky parasites. By far the most common type of worms in cats is roundworm.

We take a look at the symptoms of roundworm in cats, and the best way to protect your cat from roundworm.

Does my cat have roundworm? Identifying roundworm in cats

It’s not uncommon for cats with worms to show no signs or symptoms, so it’s possible for even the most healthy-looking cat or kitten to have roundworm without you even knowing. By contrast, roundworm can cause a long list of symptoms. No wonder it can be hard to identify!

Cats that spend much of their time outdoors, hunting birds and rodents are particularly at risk of developing roundworm. And with the risk of complications being high, regular worming prevention is vital for your cat or kitten. As always, your vet should be the first port of call when it comes to diagnosis and treatment.

“Even the healthiest-looking cat or kitten can have roundworm without you even knowing.”

The technical bit…

Roundworms (toxocara cati and toxascaris leonina) are the most common variety of worms in cats in the UK. They look like cooked spaghetti, and can grow up to several inches long.

Signs and symptoms of roundworm in cats include:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased appetite
  • Itchy bottom
  • Weakness
  • Dull, dry coat
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Enlarged abdomen, especially in kittens
  • Constipation

How often should I treat my cat against roundworm?

Your cat or kitten needs regular worming – at least every few months – to keep her in tip-top health and protect her against roundworm. Kittens are particularly at risk of contracting roundworm, due to their immature immune systems.

The benefits of most roundworm treatments are short-term, so it’s vital to get into a regular worming routine for your cat. Your local vet will advise you on the best roundworm prevention treatment for your cat or kitten.
Most worming treatments are an effective way of keeping your cat worm free, as well as killing any worms your cat has already picked up. 

Expert advice on preventing roundworm in your cat

For expert advice on roundworm prevention or treatment for your cat or kitten, contact your local vet. To find your nearest recommended vet or pet clinic, use our Find a Vet page.