If you regularly give your feline friend preventative parasite medication that protects against heartworms, you're probably not too worried, and you've certainly lowered her risk of becoming infested.
But even the best prevention routine doesn't guarantee that your pet is 100% safe from worms—especially because there are so many different kinds lurking out there in the world!
That's right: unfortunately, there are more bothersome buggers than just heartworms.
In this review, Best Cat Dewormer, we get into an in-depth discussion about common types of worms to look out for, how cat dewormers work, how treatment works and how to know if you're selecting the right deworming medicine for your cat if he/she ends up infested.
Choosing the Best Dewormers:
A Simple and Thorough Guide for Buyers
The best cat dewormer will offer several features:
- Effectiveness: will it thoroughly kill the worms which have infested your animal? Also, how quickly will the medication work? Some cat dewormers take weeks to take full effect, and in other cases pet owners have seen results within a matter of hours.
- Safety: are there minimal to no side effects for your pet? Common side effects to look out for include excessive drooling, lethargy, lack of appetite, and diarrhea or vomiting.
- Ease of Administration: is it easy to give to your pet? (This may be particularly animal-specific, if your pet is finnicky about pills and doesn't fall for tricks like treat-covered or food-covered pills!)
Top 5 Best Cat Dewormers
Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer
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Bayer Drontal Broad Spectrum Dewormer
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ProSense Liquid Dewormer Solutions for Cats
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Excel Liquid Roundworm Dewormer for Cats
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NaturPet D Wormer
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Best Cat Dewormers As Per Reviews
- Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer
- Bayer Drontal Broad Spectrum Dewormer
- ProSense Liquid Dewormer Solutions for Cats
- Excel Liquid Roundworm Dewormer for Cats
- NaturPet D Wormer
There are many choices out there when it comes to best cat dewormers. Some of them require a prescription from your veterinarian—but even if your pet insurance covers it, you still have to pay for the vet visit, too!
And if worm infestations occur frequently in your animal, this could add up to a lot of money in vet bills over the years! We've done some research to find some of the best over the counter dewormers for your feline so you can opt to purchase without having to visit the vet first.
1. Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer
This cat dewormer contains the medication praziquantel which is known to be highly effective for killing tapeworms. Many users note that it's cheaper than other over the counter cat dewormers and appears to work just as effectively. This is particularly appealing to many cat parents because tapeworms are super common following flea infestations!
Pet parents who've used it also report that they notice little to no side effects. Simply mash up the tablet and mix it into their food.
- Minimal to no side effects
- Available without a prescription
- Easy to administer to felines who aren't overly picky with their food
- Not safe to use in cats less than 6 weeks old
- Only treats tapeworm infestations
2. Bayer Drontal Broad Spectrum Dewormer
This cat dewormer is a bit on the pricier side, but it does come with 50 tablets so you should have what you need with the purchase of one bottle. Because it contains a broad spectrum chemical deworming profile (including praziquantel and pyrantel pamoate), you can use it for multiple species of worms.
The brand boasts a good track record for safe and effective treatment of worms. Plus the expiration date is 2 years, so you can hold on to it for a long time and use as necessary.
A few users have noted that their vets actually recommend this brand, although many have found that their furry friend don't like the taste so it may be harder to get your them to eat it.
- Can be used to treat roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms
- Safe to use in kittens as young as 1 month old
- Minimal to no side effects
- On the expensive side
- Cats may be put off by the taste, making it difficult to administer
3. ProSense Liquid Dewormer Solutions for Cats
Does your kitty resist taking pills? This cat dewormer comes in a liquid form and is super easy to mix into food. You can also give it to your pet via an oral syringe or dropper, although some users note that giving the exact right dosage can be a little tricky this way…especially if your cat tries to spit it out of their mouths!
Many reviewers have also noted that you can expect to see results fast: certainly within the first 24 hours. Some owners even noticed their animals passing worms within just a few hours after receiving the medication!
The main chemical for this cat dewormer is piperazine, and used to treat roundworms exclusively.
- Easy to administer right into food or directly via a syringe
- Cats seem to like or at least not notice the taste
- Doesn't treat tapeworms (only roundworms)
- Can't give to cats less than 6 weeks old
4. Excel Liquid Roundworm Dewormer for Cats
This cat dewormer is another liquid option that's noted to be safe and effective for the treatment of roundworms. It comes in a 4 fluid ounce bottle and contains the deworming agent piperazine. While it may not be appropriate for all cats, it does seem to work quickly for those who do respond to the medication.
Users have put this liquid cat dewormer into food and water, so if your pet is a picky eater she may not notice the taste very much. It really depends on the individual cat though, as some pet parents have had trouble getting their animals to consume the medication. Results have been seen in as little as a few hours.
- The main ingredient is known for being safe and effective
- Very affordable
- Easy to dose
- Contains parabens (a preservative deemed by many to be potentially harmful to humans and animals)
- Some users note that it didn't work effectively
- May not be strong enough for all cats
5. NaturPet D Wormer
This liquid dewormer is considered by many users to be the best over the counter cat worm treatment. As a 100% natural solution, it reportedly can both kill intestinal parasites and soothe inflamed and irritated intestines.
The 100 mL bottle contains enough for upwards of 7 deworming treatments, so depending on how much medication your pet needs (or how many cats you have requiring treatment), it may be a little on the expensive side.
That said, users have found this product to be well worth the price tag. It may help save money on vet bills since you can treat your pet at home with this medication—which is actually vet recommended in many cases.
There have been a few consumers who've reported that it didn't seem to work effectively for their cat, and have seen live worms excreted in their stool after five weeks of treatment.
- As an OTC cat dewormer, no prescription is required
- Can be used to treat multiple types of worms
- Safe for both dogs and cats
- Slightly more expensive
- Can be difficult to administer
- Many users note it has a strong foul odor
The Most Common Types of Worms in Cats
Many different types of worms can get into a cat's body. Worried your cat may have them? Check out some of the most common ones diagnosed and treated by veterinarians:
1. The Roundworms (Scientific name: Toxocara cati) aka Ascaris
Full grown roundworms reach about 3 to 6 inches in length and first infest a cat's intestines. As they grow, reproduce, and hatch, roundworms can spread to other organs via the bloodstream including the liver and lungs.
Roundworms can enter a cat's body while still in their larval stage (as eggs). These parasitic eggs are found in wildlife like rodents and birds, which outdoor cats like to hunt and kill, as well as the soil and the feces of infected animals. Even indoor felines can get roundworm however, especially kittens who can become infested by drinking the milk of an infected mother.
Humans can get roundworms from their infected pets, too! Early diagnosis and treatment is essential for protecting the entire family.
Symptoms of roundworms may include:
- Severe constipation
- Decreased appetite
- A dull coat
- The appearance of worms (small spaghetti-like strings) in kitty stool or vomit
- In kittens, their bellies can become enlarged and hard, but the rest of their bodies look thin due to malnourishment from the worms invading their intestinal tract
2. The Tapeworms (Scientific name: Dipylidium caninum) aka Flatworms
These intestinal parasites get their name because unlike roundworms, tapeworms are flat and segmented. As they mature, some of these segments break off the tapeworms and are passed in the stool. They can get into your cat's system if your kitty drinks water or consumes animal feces that's been infested with tapeworm eggs, or if a cat eats tapeworm infested fleas (the most common method of infestation), rodents, and birds.
Tapeworms primarily affect the intestines and can lead to a medical condition known as cestodiasis. Symptoms of tapeworms may include:
- The appearance of little white tapeworm segments in the feces or on the hair around your pet's anus (they resemble little grains of rice or sesame seeds)
- Excessive licking and biting of the anus
- Dragging of the bottom across the floor (itchy, itchy, itchy!)
3. The Hookworms (Scientific name: Ancylostoma tubaeforme)
Hookworms also love to live in the intestines of felines and other host animals. These parasites will bite and suck blood from the intestinal walls, causing inflammation, intestinal bleeding, and anemia.
Kittens can get hookworms through their infested mother's milk, and cats can also become infected by coming in contact with hookworm larvae (found in soil, sand, litter, or water contaminated via exposure to feces from an infected animal).
These parasites are particularly harmful and potentially fatal in kittens, so early detection is key. Symptoms of hookworms in cats include:
- Lesions and sores on the paw pads (where their feet come in contact with infected soil, etc.)
- Stool that looks dark and tarry
- Poor appetite
- A generally unwell appearance, with paleness in its nostrils, lips, and ears
If hookworms get into the lungs via the bloodstream, persistent coughing can occur. Sudden death can occur if left untreated, we cannot emphasize more in seeking treatment for your pet!
4. The Lungworms (Scientific name: Aelurostrongylus abstrusus)
As their name implies, lungworms are parasites that can infect the cat's lungs, which can lead to severe breathing difficulties. A cat may become infested if they consume lungworm larvae, typically found within contaminated water or infested rodents and animals.
Symptoms of lungworms may include:
- Shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing (respiratory distress)
- Fluid build up in the lungs
Is a Cat Dewormer Necessary?
A cat dewormer is a type of medicine that kills the adult and larvae of parasitic worms in pets, and hence it is very vital to give them this treatment.
There are several different types of prescription and over the counter cat dewormers available on the market. They are typically administered orally in pill or liquid form, and contain chemical deworming agents including:
Our Final Say
Worm infestations among cats are quite common, especially if they are outdoor cats or if they've been infested with fleas in the past. But even indoor cats may be at risk, as well as young kittens who can ingest worms via their infected mothers' milk.
If harmful worms ever “worm” their way into your pet's body, you'll want to choose the best worm medicine for cats to remove the parasites. Why? Because aside from making your pet extremely uncomfortable and costing you thousands of dollars, a worm infestation can be fatal in cats!
Keep this list of best cat dewormers handy and be sure to share it with your fellow feline parents in case they ever have to deal with these pesky parasites, too.
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