Tapeworms are a common issue in cats, especially those with access to the outdoors or those who hunt. Regular deworming is crucial, as highlighted by experts and key texts on the subject.

Dr. Ian Wright notes in his article that, "All tapeworms of veterinary significance are exquisitely sensitive to praziquantel and this remains the treatment of choice in cats and dogs."

But what is praziquantel and how can we use it at home to treat our cats for tapeworms? For that we need to look at holistic care of our feline friends. We also need to address common natural remedies and whether or not they are a good idea.

This underscores the effectiveness of targeted treatments in managing these parasites. Dr. Gary Conboy's insights also provide foundational knowledge on the biology and treatment of these parasites. But let’s first look at signs that your cat may have tapeworms in the first place.

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  1. Symptoms of Tapeworms in Cats
  2. How Do Indoor Cats Get Tapeworms
  3. How to Treat Tapeworms in Cats
  4. Home Remedies for Tapeworms in Cats
  5. Medication for Tapeworms in Cats
  6. FAQs
  7. Conclusion

Symptoms of Tapeworms in Cats

Identifying tapeworms early is crucial for effective treatment. Here are the symptoms you should watch for, each indicating a potential infestation:

Rice-Like Segments in Feces or Around Anus

One of the most noticeable signs of tapeworms in cats are the rice-like segments that may appear in their feces or around their anus. These segments are actually pieces of the tapeworm that break off as the parasite matures inside the intestines.

Weight Loss Despite Good Appetite

Cats infected with tapeworms may experience weight loss even though they maintain a normal or increased appetite. This is because tapeworms interfere with nutrient absorption in your cat’s digestive system.


While less common, vomiting can sometimes be a symptom of a severe tapeworm infection, especially if the tapeworms cause a significant blockage within the intestines.


Diarrhea, which may sometimes include visible pieces of tapeworm, can occur if the infestation is significant enough to irritate the cat's digestive tract.

Itching or Scooting

If your cat frequently licks or bites its anal area or scoots its bottom across the floor, it might be trying to relieve the irritation caused by tapeworm segments exiting the anus.

General Irritability or Discomfort

Cats with tapeworms may appear more irritable than usual due to the discomfort caused by the parasites.

For pet owners looking to monitor their cats for any signs of distress or unusual behavior, the Petcube Camera can be an invaluable tool. This device allows continuous observation of your pet, helping you catch any early signs of tapeworms or other health issues.

How Do Indoor Cats Get Tapeworms

While indoor cats are generally at a lower risk for tapeworms compared to their outdoor counterparts, they are not completely immune to these parasites. Understanding the common ways in which indoor cats can become infested is crucial for preventing tapeworm infections.


The most common way for indoor cats to contract tapeworms is through the ingestion of infected fleas. Fleas can carry the larval stage of the Dipylidium caninum tapeworm, which becomes infective once inside the flea. If a cat swallows an infected flea while grooming, the tapeworm larvae are released into the cat’s intestines, where they mature into adult tapeworms. Maintaining good flea control, even for indoor cats, is essential to prevent this cycle.

Contaminated Prey

Even indoor cats may occasionally catch and consume small rodents or insects that have found their way inside, such as mice or cockroaches. These creatures can also be carriers of tapeworm larvae, especially if they've come into contact with contaminated environments outside before entering the home.

Raw or Undercooked Meat

Feeding cats raw or undercooked meat can be another source of tapeworms. Meat from infected animals may contain tapeworm cysts that, once ingested, can develop into adult tapeworms in the cat’s intestines. This is why it’s crucial to ensure that any meat fed to your cat is thoroughly cooked.

Contact with Infected Animals

While less common, indoor cats can get tapeworms through contact with other infected animals that enter the home, such as other pets or even pests like rats. If these animals carry tapeworm segments or eggs, they could inadvertently spread them to your indoor cat.

Accidental Ingestion of Tapeworm Eggs

Indirect transmission can occur if tapeworm eggs are brought into the house through any medium, such as on the bottom of shoes, other pets that go outdoors, or even through small openings that allow dirt or feces to enter. If a cat comes into contact with these eggs and ingests them during grooming, they may develop a tapeworm infection.

How to Treat Tapeworms in Cats

Got a case of the tapeworms in your kitty? Don’t worry, it’s treatable! Here’s your go-to guide for getting rid of those pesky parasites and keeping them from coming back.

Spotting the Signs

First up, make sure your cat actually has tapeworms. Look out for little rice-like bits in their poop or clinging to the fur around their behind—that’s a dead giveaway. Also, if your cat is cleaning their rear more than usual or dropping weight even though they’re chowing down plenty, tapeworms might be the culprits. See these signs? Time to call the vet and get that confirmed.

Get the Right Treatment For Tapeworms In Cats

The top pick for kicking tapeworms in cats to the curb is praziquantel. You can give it to your cat either as a pill or a spot-on treatment right on their skin.
The usual dose is around 5 mg per kg (about 2.2 mg per pound) of your cat’s weight if you’re going the oral route, or about 8 mg per kg (roughly 3.6 mg per pound) if you’re using the spot-on solution. You can grab praziquantel under names like Droncit® or Drontal® at most pet stores or vet offices.

If you’re dealing with a different type of tapeworm, fenbendazole might be the way to go. It’s good against Taenia spp. and does a decent job on Dipylidium caninum too, clearing up about 60-70% of those infections. For this one, you’d give about 50 mg per kg (around 23 mg per pound) orally for three days straight. It’s sold under names like Panacur® or Safe-Guard®.

Keep Everything Clean

While treating your cat, it’s super important to keep their living area clean. Scoop the litter box daily to remove any infected feces—this helps stop the spread of tapeworm eggs. Also, wash your hands thoroughly after handling the litter.

Prevent Reinfestation

Don’t stop at just treating your cat—make sure their environment doesn’t invite tapeworms back for a round two. Keep up with flea control because fleas can carry tapeworm eggs. And, if your cat’s a hunter, try to keep them from eating their prey, which can be a major source of tapeworms.

Treat the Whole Crew

If you’ve got more than one pet, treat them all—not just the one showing symptoms. And while tapeworms from cats aren’t a huge risk to humans, it’s a good idea to keep the whole home clean to avoid any chance of cross-contamination.

For extra peace of mind, check out the Petcube Emergency Fund. It gives you 24/7 access to online vets and covers up to $3000 in emergency vet bills. Plus, blog readers get a 27% discount on subscriptions through this special link.

Home Remedies for Tapeworms in Cats

When it comes to dealing with tapeworms in cats, the internet is full of suggestions for home remedies. However, it’s crucial to know that there are no scientifically proven home remedies for effectively and safely treating tapeworms in cats. Moreover, some of the "natural" treatments floating around online can actually be harmful to your pet. Let's clear up some common misconceptions and provide safer alternatives.

Debunking Common Home Remedies for Tapeworms in Cats

While natural remedies are often touted online as effective treatments for various ailments, including tapeworms in cats, the reality is that they typically do not work and can sometimes be harmful. Here's a closer look at some popular home remedies and why they aren't advisable for treating tapeworms in cats.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Many believe that adding apple cider vinegar to a cat's water can help kill parasites because of its acidic properties. However, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Moreover, the acidity can upset your cat’s stomach and lead to other health issues.


Garlic is another remedy often suggested for its supposed anti-parasitic properties. Not only is there no evidence that garlic can kill tapeworms, but it is also known to be toxic to cats in larger quantities. Garlic can cause damage to a cat's red blood cells leading to anemia, making it a dangerous choice.

Pumpkin Seeds

Some suggest that ground pumpkin seeds can naturally remove tapeworms from a cat's intestines due to their supposed anthelmintic properties. While pumpkin seeds are not harmful to cats in small quantities and can be a good source of nutrients, there is no conclusive evidence that they can eliminate tapeworms.

Herbal Extracts

Various herbal extracts, such as wormwood and black walnut, are sometimes recommended for tapeworm treatment. These herbs are not only ineffective at treating tapeworms but can also be incredibly toxic to cats and they are on the list of plants that can poison felines. The risk of poisoning from these substances is high, and they should be avoided entirely for cats.

The Truth About Home Remedies and Tapeworm Treatments

Many popular home remedies for tapeworms in cats are mentioned online, but it's important to approach these with caution. Here are some facts about common treatments:

  • Does Pyrantel kill tapeworms?
    No, pyrantel is effective against roundworms and hookworms, but it does not kill tapeworms.

  • Does Fenbendazole kill tapeworms?
    Fenbendazole can treat certain tapeworms like Taenia spp. to some extent, but it is not effective against all types of tapeworms that might infect your cat.

  • How long does it take Praziquantel to kill tapeworms in cats?
    Praziquantel works quite fast, usually killing tapeworms within 24 hours after administration.

  • Does Profender kill tapeworms?
    Yes, Profender is an effective treatment against several types of worms, including tapeworms, in cats.

  • Does Trifexis kill tapeworms?
    No, Trifexis is used for dogs, not cats, and it does not target tapeworms even in dogs.

  • Does Advantage Multi for cats kill tapeworms?
    No, while it does kill fleas, which can prevent tapeworms indirectly, it does not kill tapeworms directly.

What Should You Do Instead of Using Home Remedies

If you suspect your cat has tapeworms, the best course of action is to consult your veterinarian. They can prescribe effective, safe treatments like praziquantel or Profender that are designed to specifically target and eliminate tapeworms. These medications are proven to be effective and can ensure your cat's health is not compromised.

Medication for Tapeworms in Cats

Always use vet-prescribed medications. These are tailored to safely deal with tapeworm infections and are based on accurate dosages and formulations.

Monitor Your Cat's Health:

Keeping an eye on your cat's health and behavior is crucial. A device like the Petcube Camera can help you monitor your cat, ensuring they are behaving normally and not showing signs of distress or illness from anywhere at any time.

While the internet might offer a range of home remedies for tapeworms in cats, relying on vet-recommended treatments is the safest and most effective way to handle parasitic infections. Remember, when it comes to health, your cat deserves the best care based on scientific evidence and professional veterinary advice.


How to Treat Tapeworms in Cats at Home?

To effectively treat tapeworms at home, you should use veterinarian-prescribed medications such as praziquantel. These medications are specifically designed to safely eliminate tapeworms and are typically administered orally or as a spot-on treatment. It's important to follow the dosage and treatment plan recommended by your vet to ensure complete eradication of the parasites.

Can Tapeworms Kill a Cat?

While tapeworms themselves are unlikely to kill a cat, severe infestations can lead to significant health issues, such as malnutrition and intestinal blockages, which can be life-threatening if not treated. Regular deworming and veterinary check-ups are essential to prevent such severe outcomes.

Should I Quarantine My Cat with Tapeworms?

Quarantining a cat with tapeworms is not typically necessary. Tapeworms are not transmitted directly from cats to humans or other pets; they require an intermediate host (like a flea). However, maintaining good hygiene and controlling fleas in your home are crucial to prevent the spread of tapeworms to other pets.

How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Tapeworms in Cats?

The time it takes to rid a cat of tapeworms can vary, but most treatments, like praziquantel, are quite fast-acting, usually working within 24 to 48 hours. However, it is important to follow up with environmental control measures to prevent reinfestation.

How Long Do Tapeworms Live in Cats?

The lifespan of a tapeworm in a cat can vary, but tapeworms can live for several months if not treated. During their life, they continue to produce segments that contain eggs, which are passed with the cat’s feces into the environment.

If My Cat Has Tapeworms, Should I Treat Myself?

No, you do not need to treat yourself if your cat has tapeworms. Tapeworms specific to cats require an intermediate host and are not directly infectious to humans from cats. However, maintaining good personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness can help prevent any possibility of human infestation through accidental ingestion of intermediate hosts like fleas.


When it comes to treating tapeworms in cats, sticking to veterinarian-prescribed medications is crucial for safety and effectiveness. Home remedies not only fail to eradicate tapeworms but can also pose health risks to your pet. Always consult with a professional to choose the right treatment and ensure the best care for your feline friend.

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