How Do Cats Get Tapeworms?
The tapeworm requires an intermediate host before developing into an adult. So, for a cat to get tapeworms, they need to ingest the intermediate host. For example, tapeworm eggs are frequently ingested through adult fleas.
The fleas actually ingest the tapeworm eggs before jumping on a cat, and then the cat eats the flea and becomes infected. The tapeworm eggs then hatch once they have been digested in the cat’s intestines.
Other hosts that a cat is likely to ingest include rabbits, birds, and rodents. Scavenging may also lead to an infestation of tapeworms.
How to Prevent Tapeworms (and the Fleas That Cause Them)
Keeping your cat free of flea infestations with flea and tick medication is the best protection against tapeworms. However, if infestation does occur, the environment must be treated along with the cat to prevent recurring infestations.
Since cats are fastidious groomers, you may not see the fleas that they are ingesting or know that they are contracting tapeworms until there is an infestation.
Ask your veterinarian which flea and tick prevention products are safe for your cat. Keeping your cat indoors and away from dead animals and garbage may also help prevent them from ingesting tapeworms.