Tapeworms can cause gastrointestinal problems for a cat and, if left untreated, can be life-threatening. If your cat has a tapeworm infection, should you quarantine them away from other household members? Can tapeworms spread to other pets and humans?
A cat with tapeworms should be quarantined until wholly dewormed. Tapeworm infections can spread to other household members through contaminated feces and fleas. To prevent the spread of tapeworms, deworm the cat and sanitize the house to eliminate fleas and tapeworm larvae.
Below, we will explain why a cat with tapeworms needs to be quarantined and what you can do to stop the parasite from spreading. We will also talk about how to prevent tapeworms from infecting your kitty.
Table of Contents
- Should I Quarantine My Cat With Tapeworms?
- Preventing Tapeworm Infections
- Final Words
There are various species of tapeworms that specifically target humans, dogs, and cats, respectively. However, after the initial infection, mixed infections can still happen from host to host.
If your cat has tapeworms, you should arrange to quarantine it in a separate room away from other pets. Dogs and other cats commonly contract tapeworms through fleas that carry tapeworm larvae. Similarly, a human who swallows an infected flea can also get tapeworms.
Let’s look at the facts you need to know to quarantine your cat safely.
There are several ways a cat can catch a tapeworm infection. These include:
- Eating a rodent or small animal that has tapeworms.
- Ingesting an infected flea when licking themselves.
- Contact with contaminated fecal matter.
The main transmission route for tapeworms is through an infected flea. Not all fleas have tapeworms — fleas only become intermediate hosts when they carry egg packets found in cat or dog feces.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the pet-to-human transmission of tapeworms is possible but very rare. Young children have a higher risk of contracting tapeworms from accidentally ingesting fleas while playing with their pets.
However, this doesn’t mean that there is zero risk of transmission. Keep the infected cat away from all household members and other pets. You never know when a flea might jump onto a plate of food.
Before quarantining your cat, make an appointment with the vet to confirm if it is a tapeworm infection and not something more sinister. The vet can also advise you on the proper deworming process.
Since tapeworms do not usually cause severe disease in cats, any vomiting or loose stools need to be reported to the vet for diagnosis.
Cat With Tapeworms Symptoms
Look out for these signs that signal your cat has tapeworms:
- Egg packets that resemble white, grain-like segments around the cat’s anus
- Increased appetite but no weight gain
- Weight loss
- Fur becomes coarse and dry
Your cat might not display all the above symptoms at once. Generally, healthy adults exhibit fewer symptoms than kittens, older cats, or immunocompromised cats.
The vet might conduct a fecal examination to determine if your cat has tapeworms. If you notice any egg segments or whole tapeworms in the litter box, bring them to the vet for a more accurate diagnosis.
After treating your cat, you will need to eliminate any remaining tapeworms in your home.
This parasite can survive on several surfaces outside a host body. You can target these areas for disinfection:
- Carpeted floors and carpets
- Beddings (pet and human)
- Litter boxes
“Tapeworm eggs require a host to hatch, but the eggs themselves can survive outside a host for some time.” To eliminate tapeworm larvae, you can use:
- Hot water
- A bleach solution
- Laundry detergent
- A vacuum cleaner
Additionally, you can choose to de-flea and deworm the other dogs or cats in your household. The other pets may have contracted tapeworms without showing any symptoms since fleas can jump from one cat to another. Living in the same environment also increases the risk of infection.
Parasites are not viruses or bacteria, meaning your cat’s body will not build up immunity toward tapeworms. ‘Reinfection is possible if the cat reencounters tapeworm hosts.’
However, good hygiene and sanitation practices can mitigate the risks of tapeworm reinfection.
Keeping the house and your cat flea-free is a good starting point to prevent reinfection. Ask your vet to provide you with anti-flea treatment for your cats. If you have other pets in the house, buy some flea medication for them too.
Clean your cat’s legs when they return from being outdoors, especially if they have stepped on soil with fecal matter. Maintain personal hygiene for the kitty and family members to prevent contamination.
Taking preventive measures against tapeworms helps your cat avoid being infected in the first place. There are several ways to do this:
- Deworm your cat every one to two years. Deworming regularly ensures that you rid the kitty’s intestines of unwanted visitors. Consult the vet for a personalized treatment plan for your cat.
- Limit the cat’s outdoor exposure. Feral cats have a high chance of having tapeworms due to unregulated diets and lack of medical care. Allowing your pet to mix with outdoor cats often increases their risk of contracting parasites.
- Monitor your cat’s diet. Be wary of raw food a cat might pick up from the streets or at home. Uncooked meats can house microorganisms and parasitic larvae.
- Use anti-flea treatment. Treat your cat for fleas if you see them scratching or grooming more than usual. Cats will lick themselves when they feel irritation on their skin.
A cat with tapeworms will need to be quarantined away from other pets and family members. Tapeworms typically spread through fleas and contaminated fecal matter. If your cat has a tapeworm infection, seek veterinary advice to deworm your cat.
While the cat is undergoing treatment, disinfect your house to eliminate fleas and tapeworm larvae. Protect your kitty from reinfection through regular deworming, anti-flea therapies, and good hygiene practices.
Thanks for reading!
If you enjoyed learning about what to do with a cat with tapeworms, you may want to checkout How To Tell if a Cat Still Has Kittens Inside (7 Signs), and Cats Vomiting Foam: Causes, Treatment and Prevention Tips.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Parasites – Dipylidium Infection (also known as Dog and Cat Flea Tapeworm)
- Delmar Animal Hospital: Frequently Asked Questions
- Kansas State University Veterinary Health Center: Common Intestinal Parasites in Cats and Dogs
- National Library of Medicine: Analysis of Dipylidium caninum Tapeworms From Dogs and Cats, or Their Respective Fleas
- Pets & Parasites: Cat Owners
- Prestige Animal Hospital: Cat Deworming
- Statesman Journal: Tapeworms in Cats Are Treatable; See Your Vet
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Tapeworm Infection in Cats
About The Author
M.D Mark D. is a Health and Wellness professional writer. Mark has authored many health articles around the following topics: Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Fitness, Nutrition, Pets Health, Mental Health, Medicine, and Supplements.