Is it necessary to deworm an indoor cat?

How often do you need to worm your indoor cat? Or can indoor cats get worms at all? It’s a very popular myth that indoor cats are never exposed to parasites and, therefore, there is  no need to worm them. This assumption is incorrect, and here is a list of four most probable ways your indoor cat can get worms.

Do you need to worm an indoor cat?

How can your indoor cat get worms?

Your indoor cat might come in contact with worms in several ways. Here are four of the most popular ones:

  1. Fleas. They are one of the most common carriers of worms. Your cat can get worms by eating a flea or if a flea bites him. Fleas are often brought indoors by us. We may not notice a single flea we may have brought inside, but that one flea will probably find your cat once it gets inside.
  2. Worm eggs. They are usually brought indoors on our shoes or clothes. Is your cat sniffing around your street-wear to check where you’ve been? Most cats do, as they are curious animals. Unfortunately, this is where they may come in contact with worm eggs. Keep your house clean and store outdoor wear out of your cat’s reach.
  3. Other pets. Do you have any other pet that is allowed both indoors and outdoors, such as a dog? Whether that pet is a friend or an enemy of your cat, it will come in contact with your cat, and your cat is highly likely to get worms if that other pet is infected. For this reason, you should worm all your pets simultaneously. And probably yourself, too.
  4. Food. Are you feeding your cat a raw diet? We feed our cats raw, and, despite it being one of the best things that has happened to our cats (read about benefits of raw diet here), it’s also a way for indoor cats to get worms. The good thing is, it’s easily avoidable if you select sources of ingredients carefully and comply with hygiene guidelines during the preparation process.

Do you need to deworm an indoor cat?

The possibility of getting worms is a lot smaller in indoor cats compared to that of outdoor cats. However, most veterinarians suggest that indoor cats should be wormed almost as frequently as outdoor cats. Why?

The reason is that it’s not possible to tell when your cat will be exposed to worm eggs or larvae again. It could happen the minute after dewormer has stopped working; therefore, you must give preventive medicine on a regular basis.

How often should you worm a cat? It depends on several factors, such as where you live, what medicine is used, and whether your cat has been infected for quite some time. You may need to give your cat worming medicine as frequently as every three months (except in winter) or only once a year (administering drugs twice within two weeks) when the ground freezes. Talk to your veterinarian.

Remember, keeping your cat indoors does not eliminate his risk of getting parasites. We have listed the four most common ways that indoor cats get worms, but there may be more depending on your situation. Worming your indoor cat regularly is the only sure way that you can make sure your pet stays parasite free.

Photo by Eirik Newth