How to identify worms in a cat

Updated June 18, 2018

There are several different types of worms that a cat can become infected with. These include roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms. A homeowner can use signs and symptoms of each type of worm to identify it. After that, a stool sample should be collected and taken to a veterinarian to confirm the diagnosis. If worms are present, it is important that your cat get on a deworming medication as soon as possible to prevent any further complications from the worms.

Press on your cat's abdomen. If it is sore, swollen or hard, the cat most likely has roundworms. Roundworms may show up in the cat's faeces or vomit. They are long and thin like a strand of spaghetti. Your cat may also experience the lack of an appetite or diarrhoea if infected with roundworms.

Check the colour of your cat's diarrhoea. If it is dark in colour, your cat may be infected with hookworms. Hookworms will not be seen in the faeces, but they reside in the small intestine and feast on your cat's blood. This will leave your cat anaemic. They can also cause your cat's skin to become irritated.

Observe the area around your cat's anus. If you see something that looks like small grains of rice, your cat is infected with tapeworms. You may also find the worms in your cat's litter box. Some cats will scoot their bottoms on the ground repeatedly when they are infected with tapeworms.

Keep a record of any abnormal behaviour your cat may be exhibiting such as low appetite, diarrhoea or vomiting. Collect a stool sample and bring it with you to the veterinarian's office. Strongyloides worms, lung worms and heartworms are not visible in the faeces, but a veterinarian can look at the faeces under a microscope to search for worm eggs and make a proper diagnosis.


Tapeworm infestations are often due to ingesting a flea. If your cat has fleas it is best if you begin using a prescription flea medication on a monthly basis to prevent tapeworms in the future.


Both roundworms and hookworms can be transmitted to humans through the skin. Always wash your hands after changing your cat's litter box.

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