What to Do if Your Cat Is Throwing Up Worms

Kelly Roper
Vet checking cat while owner helps hold her
Vet checking cat while owner helps hold her

If you encounter your cat throwing up worms, it's almost certain she has roundworms. The challenge is to treat her before your other pets, and perhaps even your family, become infested.

How Cats Get Roundworms

It's not uncommon to see worms in cat vomit. Roundworms are a common parasite that can infect people and dogs, as well as cats. The roundworm eggs and larvae are found in the following places:

  • Kitty litter
  • Feces
  • Vomit
  • Dirt
  • A mother cat's milk

According to Mar Vista Animal Medical Center, your pet may have become infested in any of the following ways:

  • Kittens can contract roundworms by nursing from an infested mother.
  • Worm ova can be ingested when a cat uses infested kitty litter and then cleans her paws while grooming.
  • Eating rodents that have roundworms is another way to acquire an infestation.
  • Biting and ingesting fleas can also lead to a case of roundworms.

Signs of Infestation

Roundworms are generally between three and five inches long, and they live in the intestinal tract of your pet. They are a very common parasite that can be identified by their white to cream-colored, thread-like bodies. In addition to throwing up the roundworms, you can also be relatively sure your pet has them if she displays the following signs.

  • Increase in appetite
  • Sluggish behavior
  • Lack of self-grooming
  • Diarrhea

What Round Worms Look Like

Below is a video in which you can see what round worms look like in a cat that has vomited.

Treating Your Cat

Treating your cat for roundworms is as simple as giving her a pill. Follow the directions carefully, and be sure that your pet gets all of her medication.

Medications Used

According to Mar Vista Animal Medical Center, medications used to eliminate roundworms in cats include:

  • Drontal
  • Panacur
  • Revolution
  • HeartGuard Plus

Dosing Your Cat

Giving a cat a pill can be difficult, but not impossible. When you're giving your cat pills, try the following:

  1. Hold the cat firmly but gently in your lap.
  2. Gently tilt her head backwards and open her jaw with your forefinger.
  3. Place the pill as far back on her tongue as you can.
  4. Holding her mouth closed, allow her to return her head to a comfortable position.
  5. Carefully stroke her throat downward until she swallows.

Your vet will probably give you instructions for dealing with any other pets in your home and will likely want to give them worming medication as well. You may be asked to keep your cat, and her kitty litter, separate from any other cats for a time.

Preventing Further Infestations

To prevent further infestations consider the following tips:

  • Clean the litter regularly.
  • Keep new cats separated from the rest of your cats until you can have them checked for worms.
  • Do not allow your pets to hunt.
  • Keep fleas controlled.
  • Have your pets examined on a regular basis.
  • Follow your veterinarian's instructions carefully.

Seek Help from Your Vet and Your Physician

If you notice spaghetti-like strands in your cat's vomit, be sure to call your vet immediately. If you also have children, it is a good idea to have their pediatrician check them for signs of roundworms as well. Although it is rare for these worms to be transmitted to children, it can happen. Roundworms can produce serious side effects in humans.

What to Do if Your Cat Is Throwing Up Worms