Pet Care Blog

Kitten Deworming Schedule: When, Why & How To Deworm Cats

Dr. Lila Batiari
Small Animal Relief Veterinarian
how to deworm cats

To ensure your feline friend is healthy, you’ll need to have them on a regular kitten deworming schedule. Adult cats aren’t as affected by internal worms, but kittens** **might experience delayed growth and other health problems due to parasitic infection.

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This article discusses the importance of deworming kittens, identifies signs of infection to watch out for, and provides a vet-approved deworming schedule to help ensure your kitty grows up happy and healthy.

Use the links below to jump to the information on kitten deworming you’re most interested in::

When can you deworm a kitten?

Kittens are very susceptible to internal parasites, so deworming should start around four to six weeks when most kittens are weaned from their mother. Her milk contains antibodies that provide natural immunity to parasites and other infectious pathogens responsible for common illnesses in kittens.

Kitten Deworming Schedule

Consult your veterinarian to create a schedule for kitten deworming. Generally, the timeline is as follows:

  • Start deworming a kitten between 4-6 weeks old
  • Deworm again at 8 weeks old
  • Deworm again at 12 weeks old
  • Deworm every 4 weeks until 6 months old
  • Deworm every 1-3 months depending on lifestyle

How often should you deworm a kitten?

Your veterinarian should deworm your kitten every 4 weeks until they are 6 months old, then every 1-3 months (depending on whether the cat has a higher risk of infection due to active hunting or roaming outdoors). Kitten deworming schedules try to follow the life cycle of worms, which in most cases lasts between 4-6 weeks.

Within that time frame, the parasites mature from larvae into adults, reproduce, then die, sometimes moving throughout the intestines as they develop. For example, the life cycle of a roundworm is simple: after a kitten ingests an egg, it hatches in the feline's GI tract, then larvae migrate through the lungs, liver, and muscle tissue. After several weeks, they return to the intestine to mature into adults.

Kitten deworming medication targets and affects each life stage differently, so administering a dosage at 4-6 week intervals ensures both the larvae and mature adults are killed once kittens no longer have their mother’s immunity.

This deworming schedule should continue until they are 6 months old, at which age they will be old enough to begin preventative therapies. All felines should be treated with a monthly parasite prevention that controls fleas, roundworms, hookworms, and heartworm in cats.

Do indoor cats need deworming?

All kittens need consistent deworming regardless of their environment. Although parasites are a more common health issue in outdoor cats than indoor cats, indoor cats are still at risk of infection.

Fleas — potential tapeworms carriers — can enter homes by riding on clothing, people, or other pets. When indoor cats groom themselves, tapeworm transmission can occur by accidentally ingesting an infected flea. Similarly, mosquitos can easily enter homes through screen doors and windows, where they can then bite pets and transmit feline heartworm disease.

How to deworm a kitten

Go to the vet for kitten deworming. They’ll be the best source of information on how much dewormer to give a kitten and on what timeline.

How much dewormer to give a kitten

Broad-spectrum formulas are available over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription, but OTC products are strongly disadvised. Cat dewormers can be administered as oral medication or injectable shots. Talk with your vet to determine the right product and dosage for your feline friend.

>Can I deworm a kitten naturally at home?

Though you technically can deworm a cat at home with natural remedies such as turmeric and coconut oil, it doesn’t mean you should. It’s always recommended to see your veterinarian first in order to get the best possible advice, as every kitten's deworming situation is different.

What to expect after deworming a kitten

Your kitten might still have worms after deworming as deworming products typically take between two and four days to take effect. In some cases, a second dose is also required. The worms should be gone in two to three weeks after administering the dewormer medication. A second deworming might be needed a few weeks later to eliminate all the worms because the medication affects life cycle stages differently.

Side effects of kitten dewormer

Deworming medications are quite safe and rarely have side effects when used at the correct dose. However, some cats might have diarrhea, vomiting, increased salivation, or decreased appetite. These symptoms are typically seen within 24 hours of administering the medication and should resolve on their own.

How long does it take for kitten dewormer to work?

Multiple rounds of deworming medication are required to kill both eggs and larvae. The results will differ depending on the parasite, as well as the severity and size of the infection.

How to check for kitten parasites

The most common symptoms of worm infection in kittens include diarrhea, bloody stool, vomiting, weight loss, and loss of appetite. You might also be able to see worms in your kitten’s vomit or stool. Some cats (especially adults) may not exhibit any signs of a worm infestation.

Be sure to follow the kitten deworming schedule, even if you see the parasites present in pet poop. They’re resilient creatures and can survive for an extended time, even in harsh environmental conditions.

Does kitten dewormer prevent parasites?

Kitten deworming products only treat the current infection. Prevent future infestations with a monthly preventative medication for heartworm, ticks, fleas, and ear mites in cats.

How much does kitten dewormer cost?

Fecal worm testing can cost anywhere from $30 to $130, depending on where you live. Furthermore, if your veterinarian concludes that your kitten has intestinal parasites, you’ll be responsible for the cost of the deworming medication. Depending on the type of dewormer, dosage, and treatment length, the initial medicine could cost at least $15.

Keep in mind that your kitten will almost certainly need another fecal examination to see if the worms are gone, so you may have to pay for lab testing and another office visit, depending on your veterinarian’s recommendations.

How to deworm a kitten naturally

Deworming your kitten at home is not advisable. You'll need the assistance of a veterinarian to determine whether your kitten has worms and, if so, what kind of parasite they are. Without this knowledge, it is impossible to choose the proper medication to deworm your puppy at home.

What happens if you don’t deworm a kitten?

Kittens can have so many worms that they can not pass through the GI tract, and that can cause intestinal blockage. The surgery for an intestinal blockage can vary based on your location and the severity of your cat’s condition, but it is not cheap — you can expect to pay from $800 to $6,000 or even more. Infected kittens that are not dewormed can also experience growth and development delays.

Humans can also contract worm infections from felines by directly contacting contaminated soil or feces. The most common transmission mode includes children playing in sandboxes where kittens have defecated.

Pet insurance can cover costly veterinary treatments your feline friend might require throughout their life, including deworming. Pet insurance providers also offer wellness plans that cover most of your kitten’s preventative medication. Pawlicy Advisor helps you analyze and compare pet insurance plans and wellness add-ons by different providers to choose the best coverage for your cat.

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Key Takeaways

  • Because young kittens are quite susceptible to worms and other parasites, the deworming schedule should be started early on (between 4-6 weeks of age). Kittens should be dewormed again at 8 and 12 weeks, and then every month until they are six months old.
  • Worms in kittens can cause vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, poor growth, and even death.
  • Some cat worms, like roundworms and hookworms, can also infect humans, which is why regular deworming is so important.
  • Don’t attempt to deworm your kitten at home with natural remedies. If you have any questions about treating your kitten for worms, contact your veterinarian.

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Dr. Lila Batiari, DVM

Dr. Lila Batiari
Small Animal Relief Veterinarian

Lila Batiari, DVM is a relief veterinarian located in San Diego, California. She has a special interest in nutrition, pain management, and surgery! Dr. Batiari enjoys working with Pawlicy Advisor to help others avoid everyday situations that some of her clientele experience. She realizes that expensive vet bills for treatment costs could be much easier for patients with pet insurance.

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