Tapeworm Symptoms in Cats

Updated February 21, 2017

Tapeworm symptoms in cats range from minor non-visual signs and reactions to more serious signs. Knowing to look for a combination of these symptoms will help determine if your cat has tapeworms.


Tapeworms are found in cats that have eaten fleas. The fleas have the tapeworm eggs inside, which grow into tapeworms inside the cat.


Non-visible symptoms can range from fever, frequent licking of the genital area, persistent coughing, pneumonia, and frequent or difficult urination. Cats infected with tapeworms also tend to eat more than normal or in greater portions.


Reactive signs which suggest your cat has symptoms of tapeworms include loss of appetite, potbellied appearance and listlessness. If a tapeworm works its way into the stomach, the cat will vomit until the tapeworm is expelled.


Visible symptoms of tapeworms include signs of tiny white "grains" around the anus that look like rice. These grains can also appear in the litter box. Blood in the stool is another symptom of tapeworms, but is rare.


Tapeworm symptoms can have various effects on cats. In extreme cases the cat suffers weight loss. In more common cases, the cat loses nutrients to the tapeworm, causing health and dietary problems.

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