Which worms do cats need to be protected against?
The most common intestinal worms which will be a risk to cats in the UK are roundworms and tapeworms. Hookworms are another threat which they can develop from eating things such as eggs.
Roundworms are mostly found in kittens. They can be infected from the mother’s milk it should be assumed that all kittens are infected and worming should be started at a young age. Kittens should be treated for roundworms every 2 weeks from 3 weeks of age until 8 weeks of age, then monthly to 6 months of age. The adult cats (greater than 6 months of age) should be treated every 1-3 months.
Tapeworms are mostly found in older cats (unless a kitten has fleas). Treatment against roundworm and tapeworms should be used. Something which fights Dipylidium caninum should also be used on kittens who have fleas.
Will the above kill tapeworms?
Any medication which explicitly says it tackles tapeworms, whether alone or alongside roundworm, should do if you follow the correct dosage and for the correct duration.
However, fleas serve as intermediate hosts for one common type of tapeworm, the Dipylidium caninum. Tapeworm infestation will reoccur even with the above treatments unless infestations of fleas are also brought under control.
How often should I give my cat wormer?
Your cat should be wormed around every three months if they do not spend more than an average amount of time outdoors, and do not hunt. This should be increased to every month for outdoor cats that hunt.
Ask your vet if you are unsure – it may be best finding somewhere in between this guidance. If you do have to give them treatment more than every three months, ensure you purchase a wormer which can be used this often as some are strong so can only be used quarterly.