Roundworms in Cats

Roundworms in cats exist through three kinds of transmission by which a cat consumes the infected eggs of the worm. Roundworms or ascarids are an intestinal parasite like tapeworms and are found in many species. The two species that affect the cat are toxocara cati, which is more commonly seen in cats, and toxascaris leonina. Both species feed from the intestinal contents of the cat and compete with the cat for food.

Modes of Transmission or Infection

roundworms life cycle
Knowing about the life cycle of roundworms will help to effectively treat your cat or kitten.

Roundworms in cats multiply when some larvae of the roundworms migrate to other tissues in the body. Pregnancy of the cat worsens the situation since it reactivates the larvae which in turn migrate to the mammary glands and to the kittens through the milk of the mother cat.

Rodents can be a cause of transmission of the roundworms since these species can act as intermediate hosts to a roundworm when the cat kills and eats his or her prey. Infected larvae in the environment such as the soil which contain roundworm eggs can also be ingested by the cats.

The roundworm larvae are distributed through the body tissues such that most of the larvae reach the lungs where they make their way into the windpipe where they are coughed and swallowed by the cat. The roundworm larvae becomes adult roundworms in the intestines afer being swallowed, allowing the production of multiple eggs which are passed into the feces.


The symptoms of roundworms are the failure of the cat to gain weight or just weight loss by itself. Other symptoms of the existence of roundworms in cats is dull hair coat, pot bellied appearance, vomiting up roundworms, diarrhea, coughing due to the larval migration and presence of roundworms in the feces.

The eggs of the roundworms are detected through a microscope during a routine check of the stool sample. The appearance of the eggs will reveal if the worms are indeed roundworms. The diagnosis is a positive result when the roundworms appear in the stool and in the vomited substances from the cat.


Roundworms can be treated through a number of medications which will be recommended by the veterinarian. The duration of the treatment which will affect the adult roundworms is usually based on the age of the cat and the situation the cat is involved in. If the cat is pregnant, make sure to consult your vet as well for advice on how to deworm the mother cat and the kittens was well. The prompt cleaning of pet wastes and the prevention of pets from eating rodents will be a big help in preventing worm infection.

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