Cat Health

Understanding Tapeworms in Cats: Signs and Prevention

What are those worms that look like rice in cats? Tapeworms. Every loving and responsible cat owner pays serious attention to the health status of his or her cats.

Any symptom of sickness, infection or disease displayed by a cat is a Serious cause for concern and may leave cat owners panicking with the fear of the unknown. worms that look like rice in cats are a frightening phenomenon for cat owners, especially when seen for the first time.

Worms That Look Like Rice in Cats

worms that look like rice in cats

Cat worms that looks like rice are some of the things cat owners are likely to encounter in their journey of keeping cats as pets. These rice-looking worms are called Tapeworms. Tapeworms are parasites that commonly infect the intestines of cats.

A veterinary officer, Jessica Nichols, describes Tapeworms as long, white, flat, segmented parasites that possess hook-like mouth parts which they use to attach themselves to the intestinal walls of a cat.

Proglottids from tapeworms are shed into a cat’s feces. Infected cats shed tapeworm pieces or segments that look like rice, thus many cat owners are fascinated about finding rice-colored worms in their cats, especially during their first experience.

Humans can see tapeworm segments in infected cats’ feces.

Knowing that cats can contract numerous types of tapeworms is vital. The most common are dipylidium caninum and taenia taeniaeformis.

How do Cats get Infected with Tapeworms?

Tapeworms might be a popular infection cats contract, however, many cat owners are not conversant with how cats get infected by tapeworms, which is why we see a good number of cat owners inquiring about worms that look like rice in cats.

  • There are different ways cats can get infected by tapeworms. One of the ways a cat can get infected by tapeworm is when a cat accidentally eats tapeworm larvae, which then grow and develops into tapeworms and infect the intestines of a cat.
  • Another way cats get infected with tapeworms is by eating already-infected animals such as mice and rabbits. Ingestion of infected fleas also leads to tapeworm infection in cats. When tapeworms release proglottids into the open environment, which then dry up, and in turn release eggs into the environment which are then ingested by Flea larvae, and subsequently a cat ingests the flea larvae, resulting in tapeworm infection in the intestines.
  • Predatory cats, especially outdoor cats can also get tapeworm infection from hunting and eating infected prey such as rats, mice, and other rodents in the environment.

How Do Indoor Cats get Tapeworms?


Indoor cats are also at risk of contracting tapeworm infection. Although indoor cats are in a confined space, they are also liable to get infected by tapeworms which are popularly described as worms that look like rice.

Cats that are always indoors can get infected by tapeworms in several ways, but the most common way indoor cats get infected by tapeworms is by ingesting or eating infected fleas. Even when your cats are regularly indoors, infected Fleas sometimes find their way into your indoor space and are sometimes found by indoor cats that end up eating them.

Sometimes cat owners unknowingly take fleas into their homes from their clothes. Also, fleas sometimes find their way into homes through visitors who unknowingly come in with fleas on them, and some other times, fleas can also get indoors via the body of cats or other pets.

Indoor cats discover these fleas inside their homes and end up eating them, which results in tapeworm infection. It is also important to note that sometimes infected rodents find their way into the homes of indoor cats, these indoor cats sometimes find them and eat them, thereby getting infected by tapeworms.

Can Tapeworms Be Passed From Cats to Humans?

Tapeworm illness in cats is well known, yet many cat owners doubt tapeworms can spread to people. Many cat owners wonder if rice-shaped worms in cats are communicable to humans.

Please note that tapeworms can be spread from cats to humans depending on the species. Dipylidium caninum, a common cat tapeworm, is not contagious to humans and cannot be spread from cat to person.

Other tapeworms, including Echinococcus, are contagious. Cats with Echinococcus tapeworms can infect humans. Human health is endangered by this tapeworm.

Causes of Tapeworm Infection in Cats

The primary cause of tapeworm infection in cats is the ingestion of infected fleas. This occurs when a cat directly consumes an infected flea or when a cat eats an infected host such as infected rodents. This finds its way into the bowel of a cat and grows into full-blown tapeworms in the intestines of the cat. Cats owners are expected to be observant of what their cats feed on.

Symptoms of Tapeworm Infection in cats

There are other tapeworm symptoms in cats besides finding rice-shaped worms.

Cats with tapeworms may continually lick their anus. When your cat keeps licking the anus, take it to the vet or have one examine it.

Another sign of tapeworm infection in cats is frequent anus biting or scratching. Another sign of tapeworm infection in cats is dragging their hind legs around the floor to scratch their anus.

Weight loss is a major tapeworm symptom in cats. If your cat loses weight without reason, consult a vet for tapeworms.

Rice-shaped tapeworms in cats’ feces are the most common sign. If your cat’s feces appears like rice or seed, see a vet immediately to check for tapeworms.

How to Treat Tapeworm Infection in Cats

Tapeworm infection in cats is a serious concern for cat owners. There are several types of medications veterinarians employ in the treatment of tapeworms in cats. These types of medications were created to treat tapeworm infection in cats.

These medications for the effective and efficient treatment of tapeworm infection include epsiprantel, praziquantel, and fenbendazole. Dipylidium and taenia which are common types of tapeworm infection in cats are commonly treated with epsiprantel and praziquantel. Fenbendazole is also recommended by veterinarians in some circumstances for the treatment of taenia tapeworms.

However, additional medications for the treatment of fleas are also recommended by veterinarians in some cases as well. In critical cases, where the intestines of an infected cat have suffered severe damage as a result of the tapeworm infection, other medications and procedures are also employed for the treatment of the intestines of the infected cat.

How to Prevent Tapeworms in Cats

Knowing the risks and health risks of tapeworm infection, many cat owners want to learn and practice prevention techniques.
Cats with rice-like worms can be prevented by timely and effective deworming.

Tapeworm infection is less likely in cats who are dewormed routinely.
Cat owners can avoid tapeworms by giving their cats flea preventatives.

Most importantly, regular visits to veterinarians at appropriate times allow veterinarians to check cats and prescribe preventive measures when needed to prevent tapeworm infection.

Should I Quarantine my Cat with Tapeworms?

Should cats with rice-like worms be quarantined? Yes, an infected cat should be quarantined to prevent parasite spread to other cats and pets.

Indoor cats afflicted with human-contagious tapeworms should be isolated. Infected cats must be cared for and medicated during quarantine.

If you have other cats or pets indoors with an affected cat, quarantine can lower the danger of tapeworms. Another reason to quarantine a tapeworm-infected cat is to keep children away.

How long Does Tapeworm Medicine Take to Work?

Treatment for tapeworms in cats only works for a certain amount of time, which depends on how bad the problem is. If you have a mild tapeworm infection, treatment can work in 24 to 72 hours. If you have a severe infection, it can take two to three weeks.

How long it takes for tapeworm treatments to work in cats depends on the brand’s strength. Most of the time, a good strong tapeworm cure works faster and better.

Also, getting information about tapeworms quickly is important because medicine for tapeworms works faster and better on cats if it is given early in the attack.

Can Tapeworm Kill a Cat?

worms that look like rice in cats

After diagnosing your cat with tapeworms, start treatment immediately or see a physician.

Originally named tapeworms, cats with rice-shaped worms are less likely to die quickly, but if abandoned and left untreated, the condition can become fatal.

To prevent tapeworms, cat owners should watch what their pets consume daily. You should also prevent your cat from eating fleas. Keep rodents away to avoid your cat eating an infected rat.

Regular vet visits are recommended to protect your cat.

Finally, check your and your guests’ clothes to make sure fleas and other contaminated hosts don’t sneak into your home.


Tapeworms in cats might sound gross and scary, but you should know about them and how to keep them from happening. Tapeworms are easy to treat with pills, but if you don’t, they can get really sick and hurt your cat.

To keep your cat from getting tapeworms, make sure it gets all of its shots and check its stool often for signs of worms. Call your vet right away if you think your cat has tapeworms.


I am Joshua kaynard, an avid cat lover. Our pets provide an excellent way of connecting with nature; I am committed to helping you understand all the aspects of your feline friend's life. Enjoy!

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