Deworming Felines

Cats commonly pick up parasites from hunting or eating bugs, but deworming cats is not the same as dogs. Cats don’t take meds because you think they should, we must be sure we can get in them and we have fewer products with cat labels though several are effective and safe!


The common problem seen in cats with parasites is a dull coat with shedding issues and an unthrifty appearance. In severe cases, weight loss happens as well as a grumpy attitude and GI upset.


Since cats will pick up parasites, the best deworming program is to get the cat dewormed before the parasites cause medical issues. Generally that requires 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!


Breeding colonies are dewormed to prevent issues in kittens! We want mom clean before giving birth so we deworm queens to do that 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 in other species so we are comfortable using.


  • Deworm kittens of moms that were dewormed with Pyrantel at four weeks.
  • At six and eight weeks use Panacur or Safeguard orally for three days. 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 treat for coccidia prevention as well. One dose of Marquis at six and eight weeks prevents coccidia.
  • Kittens should always be dewormed at next home so put that in your kitten pack.


Inside cats have minimum exposure except for bugs especially crickets they seem to love to eat! If your cat is never outside, deworm once a year is 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 not needed in house cat.
  • 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 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 both out and inside 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 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 in we are trying to clear the common parasites and help them with external parasites. We want to especially help ear mites and mange. The easiest treatment is in the food as catching them to treat is stressful and difficult. We need to treat all in the area to gain any population control over the ear mites.
  • Ivomec 1% injectable used orally is a good start.
    • Feed milk replacer for a few days in multiple bowls and see how many come up to drink.
    • The average feral cat weighs eight pounds. Count the number of cats and multiply by eight to get total weight.
    • Use 1% Ivomec injectable 1 cc per 40 lbs. of body weight in the milk for three days in a row to be sure you get everyone at least once.
    • If this is the first time for this colony, repeat in one week to remove the external parasites totally eggs and all.
  • Repeat every six months to keep the parasite population at a low level.
  • Safeguard, Pyrantel and Profender can be used if you can catch all the cats in the colony. It's not cost effective and not often used here as they do not get ear mites or mange common to feral cats in outside colony.

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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