Deworming Cats and Kittens

Deworming cats is not the same as dogs. Cats won’t take meds just because you think they should, so we must be sure we get the medication in them. You've probably also noticed that there aren't as many dewormers labeled for cats. Even though there are fewer products with cat labels, several are effective and safe!

CLINICAL SIGNS

Cats commonly pick up parasites from hunting or eating bugs. The common problem seen in cats with parasites is a dull coat with shedding issues and an unthrifty appearance. In severe cases, cats will display weight loss, a grumpy attitude and GI upset.

TREATMENT

Cats will inevitably pick up parasites, so the best deworming program is to get the cat dewormed before the parasites cause medical issues. Generally that requires deworming a minimum of twice a year for the outside cat and once a year for the inside cat. The best way to determine what treatment to give is to decide how easy we can handle the cat!

DEWORMING QUEENS

Breeding colonies should be dewormed to prevent issues in kittens. We want mom clean before giving birth, so we deworm queens after day 50 gestation. If mom does not give the babies parasites, we have fewer to get out of baby.
  • Use Panacur or Safeguard and be sure to deworm mom three days in a row.
  • Panacur and Safeguard are labeled for pregnant moms in other species, so we are comfortable using it.

DEWORMING KITTENS

  • Deworm kittens at four weeks with Pyrantel if their mom was dewormed.
  • At six and eight weeks, use Fenbendazole (Panacur or Safeguard) orally for three days (Plumb). Liquid is commonly used and enables us to know the dose. We want to control giardia, and this usually does it.
  • You may need to takes steps to prevent Coccidia, as well. One dose of Marquis at six and eight weeks prevents Coccidia.
  • Kittens should always be dewormed at their next home, so be sure to put that in your kitten pack.

ADULTS

Inside cats have minimum exposure, except for bugs—especially the crickets that they seem to love to eat! If your cat is never outside, deworm once a year with a broad spectrum dewormer.

  • Profender is a topical, spot-on dewormer by Bayer that is absorbed into the bloodstream and covers the main parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms. It can be reapplied in 30 days, but this shouldn't be needed in house cats.
  • Panacur granule is dosed for three days orally at the same rate as dogs. Panacur/Safeguard comes in liquid or granules. Panacur does not carry a house cat label but does carry exotic cat label. It is good for the cat that will eat canned food. Top dress the granules on canned food three days in a row, and they will eat it up.
  • Pyrantel liquid has a pleasant taste for cats and is only a one-day dose. It comes in different concentrations and forms so dose per the label. It gets roundworms and hookworms only.
Outside cats or cats that are outside part of the time will have a higher exposure, especially to roundworms from rodents, birds and bugs. They also share territory with other cats, which will expose them to parasites, as well.
  • Panacur granule has the broadest spectrum and gets all parasites: roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and giardia, as well as some strange parasites that cats get from wildlife. Dose in canned food three days in a row.
  • Profender is not a broad spectrum but gets common parasites and is easy to use topically.
  • Pyrantel liquid has a pleasant taste for cats and is only a one-day dose! It comes in different concentrations and forms so dose per the label. It gets roundworms and hookworms only.
Feral cats are unique because we are trying to clear the common parasites and help them with external parasites. For more information on deworming feral cats, read Deworming Feral Cat Colonies.

Deworming a cat can be an easy task if you match the product up with the type of cat and the ease of handling. There is a product to get the job done. Call us and we will guide you.


If you need help, call us at 1-800-786-4751.

-Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health

The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of a qualified veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.

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