Kittens and worms: what's the deal? | AniCura Netherlands (2024)

Worms in kittens

Many people wonder whether worms in kittens are dangerous. Worms in kittens can lead to various symptoms and complications. Worm infections in kittens are a serious threat to their health. That is why deworming is very important, even if they do not show any symptoms of worms.

Did you also know that kittens are born with fleas? Also read:deflea cat

Deworming a kitten: schedule

Because worms can cause serious problems, we deworm kittens as standard, even if they show no symptoms. A standard deworming schedule for a kitten looks like this: The worm treatment is given at the age of:

  • 3 weeks
  • 5 weeks
  • 7 weeks
  • monthly until they are 6 months old

Always deworm the mother cat of kittens: otherwise she will transmit the worms to the kittens through the mother's milk or through environmental contamination from the feces.

Read more at:deworming cat

Types of worms in kittens

Kittens can become infected with different types of worms. You can see some of them below.

  • roundworms
  • tapeworms
  • haakwormen

There are also other types of worms, such aslongwormen, but they are a lot less common. The roundworm is by far the most common.

The danger of worms in kittens

Most kittens are born with worms. This is not immediately dangerous. In very young kittens, worms can, in the worst case, lead to intestinal blockage. A kitten can die from this.


This worm is also called thetoxocara cati- the worm is a problem for young kittens.


Roundworms almost always arrive via the eggs. Your kitten can get these eggs through

  • the mother cat, by drinking mother's milk that is contaminated with roundworm larvae
  • playing in contaminated environments
  • direct contact with contaminated feces
  • playing outside (contaminated soil - eggs can survive outside for a long time)
  • eating infected prey


Roundworm infections can cause a variety of symptoms in kittens, including abdominal distension, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, dull coat and overall poor condition. In severe cases, roundworms can also lead to intestinal obstruction, which can be life-threatening.


Tapeworms are long worms that use the nutrients from the kitten's intestines to survive.


If your kitten has tapeworms, they are often transmitted by fleas, which are the intermediate hosts for the tapeworm larvae.

The symptoms

You can recognize tapeworms in kittens by various symptoms, including weight loss of your kitten while your kitten continues to eat well. Your kitten may also vomit, which may contain pieces of tapeworm in the vomit. Other symptoms include abdominal pain and itching around the anus, evidenced by 'riding' on the carpet and a lot of licking and biting around the anus.

Not all kittens with tapeworms show symptoms. Your kitten could be infected without you knowing it.


Hookworms feed on blood from the kitten's intestinal wall. Hookworms are parasitic worms of the genusancylostoma. With their hook-shaped mouth organs they attach themselves to the intestinal wall of the host animal, in this case a kitten, where they feed on blood. Hookworms can occur in cats, other animals and even humans.


Hookworms can be acquired through contact with contaminated soil, by drinking contaminated water, or by drinking contaminated breast milk and in rare cases even through skin contact.


  • Anemia, recognizable by weakness, lethargy, fatigue, pale mucous membranes and possibly faster breathing and heart rate.
  • Diarrhea: this may be bloody.
  • Weight loss: The kitten may look thin and emaciated.
  • Bloody stools: only with severe hookworm infections. This indicates internal damage and irritation caused by the hookworms.
  • Reduced growth.

The danger of worms in kittens

The (parasitic) worms live in the kitten's gastrointestinal tract and feed on nutrients that the worms encounter there. This means that the kitten no longer ingests those substances. This can cause a deficiency of these nutrients (nutritional deficiency), which can lead to retarded growth, weakness and reduced resistance to other diseases.

Worm infections in kittens also threaten our own health. Some worms, such as roundworms, can be transmitted from cats to humans. This happens when people come into contact with the eggs of the worms found in the feces of infected cats. The eggs develop into larvae in the human body. Children in particular are at increased risk, for example because of the sandbox. By treating worm infections in kittens in time and taking good hygiene measures, the risks to human health can be reduced.

Worm infections can also cause complications, such as intestinal obstruction or bleeding, which often appears in the form of blood from the anus. This is especially the case with serious infections. It is therefore important to tackle worms in kittens in time and then prevent reinfection.

Worm infestation: what now?

If you suspect that your kitten is infected with worms, it is important to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment. The vet canstool examinationto determine the severity of the infection.

Worms in kittens are almost always treated with dewormers. The vet will prescribe the appropriate dewormer, taking into account the age and weight of the kitten.

The steps

Follow your vet's instructions, which will best help your kitten for your specific situation.

  1. Disinfection with dewormers as described above. Also read:deworming cat
  2. Hygiene to prevent re-contamination from the environment.
  3. Prevent re-infestation by carefully following the deworming schedule.
  4. Preventing reinfection by deworming other animals in the area (including certainly the mother cat).

Prevention and treatment

Prevention and treatment of worm infections are essential for the health of kittens.

Also read:deworming cat and kitten

It is important to deworm kittens regularly as recommended by the vet, even if they show no symptoms. Dewormers are effective at killing worms and preventing reinfection. In addition, good hygiene is very important, such as regularly changing the litter box, avoiding contact with feces and washing hands after handling kittens. Paying attention to prevention and timely treatment can reduce the dangers of worms in kittens and protect their health and well-being.

Kittens and worms: what's the deal? | AniCura Netherlands (2024)


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