Ugh…. worms! These nasty beasties look disgusting, and what is even worse; they have a huge negative effect on the health of your cat! Luckily there is an arsenal of deworming medicines you can use to protect your cat’s health.
While there are many products available, and lots of information everywhere, the choice can be overwhelming for most cat owners.
But we are here to help, with an expert review of top rated, over the counter dewormers for cats intestinal parasites. This review highlights our top three recommendations for adult cats, and also for kittens.
We also review some alternative choices for dewormers that may not have made our top three list, but still are worth considering.
Our review process is unbiased and based on extensive research. If you buy through the links on our site, we may earn a commission.
- For Cats and Kittens over 6 weeks old
- Handy 3 or 5 tablet packs
- 100% taste guarantee
Does my cat need deworming?
So how do you know if your cat has got worms? There are a few clues to help you answer these questions:
Signs of worm infestations
Key signs of worm infestation may include diarrhoea, vomiting, poor coat condition, and a potbellied appearance.
You might see roundworms in stools (they look like spaghetti), or segments of tapeworms that look like grains of rice or sesame seeds stuck around your cat’s anus.
Sometimes scooting and excessive licking can be a sign of tapeworms – they are super itchy!!!
How does a cat get worms?
Cats who hunt are likely to become infested with worms. Tapeworms can be transmitted by fleas; a cat swallows the worm infected flea when grooming, and then gets infected itself! So, if your cat has a flea problem, make sure you treat them for tapeworms too.
It is possible for cats to get parasite infestations from eating raw meat, and even by eating another cat’s vomit!
Kittens are a special case, they can be infected with roundworms by drinking the milk from their mother if she is infected.
Intestinal worms do not just make your cat unwell, they can make humans sick too!
Diseases such as VLM and OLM are cause by worm larvae migrating their way through human organs.
These human infections can be prevented with some simple hygiene steps:
- Deworm your cat regularly with a Broad Spectrum dewormer
- Only feed your cat cooked or processed foods
- Wash your hands after handling your cat, preparing raw meat, or washing litter trays
- Make sure children’s sandboxes cannot be used as a litter box
Do I still need to worm my cat if it is healthy?
If your cat is at risk from picking up worms, a regular treatment program will be recommended by your vet. Hunting cats may need a worming treatment every month, and most indoor-outdoor cats need regular worming every 3-4 months.
Dewormer treatments only kill the worms that are present at the time of treatment. They usually do NOT provide protection against new infections.
Parasite re-infestations are very common, so ensure you take steps to prevent your cat getting infected. Hookworm can live in a cat’s intestine for as long as the cat lives!
Vets recommend having a stool sample from your cat checked for parasites when they are unwell, or as part of an annual health check.
The vet can then recommend the best type of deworming medicine for your pet based on what is found in the feces.
Types of intestinal parasites
Roundworms and hookworms, along with tapeworms, are the most common types that we’ll be dealing with here, though some products do well for pinworms and other types as well.
Roundworms in cats are the most common intestinal parasites. More than 25% of adult cats and up to 75% of kittens are infected with this type of worm. These worms look like spaghetti in a cat’s faeces.
Cats become infected with tapeworms by eating rodents, and by swallowing fleas when grooming. Tapeworm segments contain thousands of eggs, and the segments look like grains of rice or sesame seeds stuck to the fur by your cat’s bottom.
These nasty parasites latch on to the gut wall and feed on your cat’s blood, causing anaemia and diarrhoea. They can also penetrate human skin causing nasty rashes. Hookworms can live in your cat’s intestines for as long as the cat lives!
These are an uncommon parasite in cats from the USA. They may not cause serious disease in some cats, but can also cause diarrhoea, especially if there is a heavy burden of worms.
How to choose the best dewormers
There are several important things to consider when choosing a deworming medicine;
- Ease of use
- Age of cat or kitten
- Type of worm being treated
These factors are also what we considered when selecting the best of the dewormer products we have reviewed.
Ease of use
Does your cat seem to grow extra legs when you are trying to put a tablet down it’s throat?! Or has kitty got super sensitive taste buds and will detect a tablet crushed in food from a hundred paces?
Our reviews will help you choose the easiest deworming medicine to give your cat.
We have selected the safest products that are least likely to cause side effects to feature in these reviews. Do remember to weigh your cat to ensure the correct dose of dewormer is used.
Some cats are particularly sensitive to deworming medications, if this is the case, consult with your veterinarian.
Worms can seriously affect your pet’s health, and the health of your family; a deworming medicine needs to do the job it is designed for.
Our top picks for deworming medicines are ones that have been demonstrated to remove worms effectively.
Age of cat/kitten
Our top-rated kitten products have been selected for accurate and safe treatment of kittens. Kittens are small, weighing your kitten to calculate the dose before treatment is extra important.
Do check how old the kitten should be before using a deworming medicine.
Type of worm
Different active ingredients treat different types of worms. Our best dewormers for cats include a tapeworm treatment, a roundworm treatment, and a broad spectrum dewormer that treats all types of worms.
If you are not sure which type of worm you should be treating, choose a broad spectrum dewormer, or consult with your veterinarian.
Cats should be tested for heartworms before using a deworming treatment.
Reviews of the Best Cat Dewormer
Best For Adult Cats
- Broad spectrum treatment
- For Cats and Kittens over 6 weeks old
- Handy 3 or 5 tablet packs
Best For Kittens
- Flavoured, easy to give syrup
- Rapid yet gentle treatment for roundworms
- Safe for kittens from 6 weeks old
- Broad Spectrum
- Trusted Brand
- Safe for cats over 2lb
- Easy to Administer
Best Over the Counter Dewormers for Adult Cats (Non-Prescription)
#1. Cats Dewormer Round and Tapewormer Tablet by CatNDog
- Treats Roundworms and Tapeworms with a single dose
- Easy to administer tablet
- Fast and effective
- 30-day taste guarantee
- Adverse reactions are rare
- Some cats will not take a pill even hidden in food
- Vomiting or diarrhea may occur in a small number of cats
This combination tablet rapidly eliminates both tapeworms and roundworms in a single dose.
The tablets are small which makes oral administration easier. Alternatively try hiding the tablet in some tasty wet food when your cat is hungry.
The active ingredients are very safe, and any side effects such as salivation or diarrhoea are rare (Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook Eighth Edition).
This product is a recommended buy because it has a 100% money back taste guarantee!
#2. Prosense Liquid Cat Dewormer
- Liquid dewormer formula can be administered by mouth or mixed in with your cat’s food
- Safe active ingredient
- Treatment targets roundworms specifically
- Ideal for cats on regular flea prevention
- Only for use in cats who have a weight of more than 2.5lb
- May cause salivation and tremors in a small number of cats
Prosense liquid dewormer is ideal for cats who do not need tapeworm treatment.
Its single ingredient means you are not using a broad spectrum dewormer unnecessarily. Weigh your cat to calculate the correct dose, and simply administer into the mouth with a spoon or dropper or mix into your cat’s food.
Liquid dewormers are easier to give than tablets, which is why we have rated this product in the top three dewormers for cats in their adult life stage.
#3. Bayer Tapeworm Cat Dewormer
- Treatment is a tapeworm dewormer specifically
- Ideal for cats being treated with topical roundworm treatments
- Side effects are uncommon
- Cost effective
- Safe from 6 weeks of age
- Trusted brand
- Some cats will not take pills
- May taste bitter if crushed
- May cause salivation or diarrhea in a small number of cats
Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer is ideal for specific treatment of tapeworms. A tapeworm only treatment is also a good choice for cats on a topical combination flea/roundworm treatment from the vet, as these products often do not deal with any tapeworm infestation.
The coated tablet makes it easy for the pill to slide down your cat’s throat if given into the mouth.
If you are not keen on pushing a tablet over the back of your cat’s tongue, then these Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer tablets can be crumbled and hidden in soft food.
Best Non-Prescription Dewormers for Kittens (OTC)
#1. Hartz UltraGuard Rid Worm Liquid for Cats
- Flavoured to make it taste great
- Syrup formulation is easy to give
- Safe for young kittens
- Effective roundworm dewormer
- May cause salivation or tremors in a small number of animals
Kittens need worming every two weeks until they are three months old to clear any roundworms from their system.
Why not make it easy for yourself by using this flavoured liquid dewormer!
Your kitten will love you for using a dewormer which tastes so good – and that is why we have rated Hartz UltraGuard Rid Worm as the best dewormer for kittens.
It is also very safe to use right from 6 weeks of age.
#2. Johnsons Easy Wormer Granules
- Effective roundworm treatment for kittens
- Also treats some types of tapeworms
- Pre-measured sachets make dosing easy
- Easy to administer by mixing in food
- No side effects in most kittens
- Only for kittens over 12 weeks old
- Salivation, vomiting and diarrhea occurs infrequently
Just like it says on the packet, Johnson’s Round Wormer Granules are EASY to give.
Simply weigh your kitten to work out how may sachets you need to give, and then mix the granules into your kittens canned food.
Make sure your kitten eats all the food containing the granules, otherwise dosing will not be effective.
This product is recommended for kittens who have had flea infestations, because it treats the flea tapeworm as well as the roundworms kittens are very susceptible to.
#3. Cats Dewormer Round and Tapewormer Tablet by CatNDog
- 100% Taste Guarantee
- Treats Roundworms AND Tapeworms
- Safe for kittens from 6 weeks old
- Small tablet for easy pilling
- It can be hard to get kittens to take tablets
- Vomiting or diarrhea can occur in a small number of kittens
If you want a dewormer that gets rid of ALL of the common intestinal worms your kitten might get, then Cats Dewormer tablets are a great choice.
The tablets can be divided so your kitten can be dosed correctly – it is important that these little guys do not get more medication than they should!
The 100% taste money back guarantee gives you confidence choosing this dewormer for your kitten.
While we rank this as our top choice for adult cats, it falls to number three for younger kittens because it’s harder to get them to take tablets. It’s still a fantastic product, but may just be more difficult to administer to your kitten.
Best Prescription Dewormer Medicines
You can actually buy these right from Chewy.com, with their new pharmacy section, which can save you a trip to the local pharmacy. All you need to do is provide them with a copy of the prescription given by your vet, which is easy to do during checkout!
#1. Bayer Drontal Broad Spectrum Dewormer Tablets for Cats
- Treats Roundworms and Tapeworms
- Veterinary Recommended
- Scored tablets for accurate dosing
- May taste bitter if crushed in food
- Some cats won’t take pills
- Vomiting or diarrhea may occur in a small number of cats
- Requires a prescription unless you buy a 50 tablet pottle
These Drontal broad spectrum dewormer tablets just missed the cut for our top three OTC dewormers, but only because it requires buying tablets in bulk unless you have a prescription from your veterinarian.
Bayer Drontal is a trusted brand used by many veterinarians, and it is safe and effective. It contains pyrantel pamoate and Praziquantel, which are an important anti-worm ingredient.
If you have a colony of cats to treat, or have a prescription from your vet, then this is a good dewormer to choose for multiple types of worms.
#2. Profender Topical Dewormer Solution
- No oral dosing needed
- Simple application on to the skin
- Treats all the common intestinal parasites
- Requires a prescription
- May cause overgrooming or hairloss in a small number of cats
- Salivation or vomiting may occur if the cat licks the application spot
So we all know how tricky it is to get some cats to take medicine. Profender takes the hassle out of deworming your cat – simply apply the liquid to the back of the head where kitty cannot lick, and Voila!
All types of intestinal worms are GONE!
Profender has to be the easiest way to deworm your cat.
#3. Revolution Topical Solution
- Combination deflea and dewormer
- Designed for kittens under 5lb
- Can be used as a heartworm preventative
- Side effects are rare
- Requires a Vet prescription
- May cause salivation or vomiting if licked
If I was a kitten I would ask to be dewormed with Revolution.
Its small volume allows for accurate dosing of young kittens from 6 weeks of age, and is topical, which means it’s very easy to apply, unlike some pills or liquids.
Revolution safely and effectively treats Roundworms that may kittens get from their mother, and it is also a great flea treatment too.
The Best Natural Cat Dewormer Medicine
While we did look at Naturpet D Wormer, we have not included it as one of our top choices, because it contains Betel Nut (a tobacco-like plant) and we were unable to find accurate information regarding its toxicity potential in cats. Our top pick, Homeopet, is completely safe for cats.
#1. Homeopet Feline WRM Clear Cat Supplement
- Natural supplement
- Administer by mouth or in water
- No risk of overdosing
- Has to be given 3 times daily for 2 weeks
- Regular dewormers may be needed in some cases
- Some cats won’t like the taste
If your cat has a sensitivity to regular dewormers, or if you are looking for a natural product for deworming your cat, then Homeopet Feline WRM Clear Cat Supplement may be right for your cat.
This product may be more suitable for adult cats, who are less at risk for severe roundworm infestations than kittens.
Faecal samples can be checked by your vet to ensure the product is working.
The active ingredients are unlikely to cause any side effects, which is why it is our best rated natural dewormer.
Cat Dewormer FAQ
How do I prevent worms infesting my cat?
Stopping your cat hunting and cooking any meat your pet eats will help prevent roundworm infestations. Preventing flea infestations also means you are preventing tapeworm infestations, as your cat will not be swallowing fleas when they groom.
Ensure litter trays are scooped daily, and that any faeces outside are disposed of. Wear gloves when cleaning up faces!
Queens and nursing kittens should be wormed every 2 weeks to prevent transmission of worms from the Queen to her kittens.
Get your cats faeces checked by a veterinarian at least once or twice a year (more often if your cat is an outdoor cat or hunter).
How often should I treat my cat for worms?
The answer to this depends on what type of worms we are treating, and the cat’s lifestyle.
Kittens are susceptible to roundworm infestation passed on from their mother, so they need deworming every 2 weeks while nursing.
An indoor cat fed a cooked diet and having regular flea control applied may only need deworming 3 to 4 times a year. An outdoor hunting cat may need deworming every month.
Heartworm prevention should be used every month.
Are prescription dewormers any better?
Veterinarians can help you identify which worm you need to be treating, and which dewormer is best for your pet.
They may use similar products to the OTC products, but they may also recommend combination treatments that provide protection against heartworm and fleas at the same time.
Prescription dewormers also include several topical dewormers that are simply applied to the skin on the back of your cat’s neck.
How do Dewormers work?
Deworming medicines kill the worm directly, or paralyze it causing it to release its grip on the lining of the gut, they are then passed out into the stool.
Most oral dewormers only treat the parasites that are present at the time of treatment, meaning they do not provide any ongoing protection against infestation. This is why we recommend regular deworming treatment.
Deworming medicines are effective within 24 hours of administration. Sometimes you may see worms in your pets stool after treatment.
Is Ringworm actually a worm?
Ringworm is caused by a fungus that lives in the hair. This infection causes patchy hair-loss and is contagious to pets and humans.
Deworming treatments are not effective for ringworm infections – if your pet has ringworm, please discuss this with your veterinarian.
What about lungworm?
Cats catch lungworm by hunting. Infestation with these worms causes breathing difficulties and coughing, similar to asthma. If your cat is showing these symptoms or you think it might have lungworm, please consult with your veterinarian.
The OTC treatments described above are not effective against lungworm.
How do I prevent heartworm?
Mosquitoes can carry microscopic worm larvae, that are then passed on to your cat when the mosquito bites. These worms can grow inside the heart chambers, which can cause heart failure.
Your vet can recommend the best heartworm preventative for your cat.
All cats over 1 year of age should have a heartworm test at their vet before giving any deworming treatment.