Note: Veterinary review of this article includes only the medical information in this article. The veterinarian reviewing this article does not personally endorse, recommend, or vouch for the efficacy or claims of any products mentioned in this article.
Whether your cat has tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, or something else, the best cat dewormer targets your cat’s infestation and eradicates it. Great dewormers are safe, affordable, and effective.
Because it’s an affordable broad-spectrum dewormer that kills all of the most common intestinal worms, we recommend Bayer Drontal Broad-Spectrum Dewormer as the best on the market.
At a Glance: Top 5 Best Cat Dewormers To Buy
Want a quick look at the products reviewed in this article? In the comparison table below, we’ve highlighted some of the most important features of each product. You’ll find more detailed information about each product later in the article.
- Easy to administer liquid formula
- Eliminates roundworms
- Safe for cats and kittens 8 weeks and older
Before we review Drontal and the rest of our top 5 recommendations, let’s talk about how dewormers work and the art of choosing a good one.
Top Picks Explained
Does Your Cat Need a Dewormer?
According to the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, intestinal parasites affect as many as 45% of cats. All cats are prone to parasite infestations but cats that spend a lot of time outdoors have a higher risk for infestation than indoor cats.
Intestinal worms rarely cause life-threatening issues in adult cats, but kittens and cats with heavy worm burdens can suffer from severe effects as the parasites cause bleeding, injure the intestines, and steal needed nutrients.
A heavy worm infestation may cause the following symptoms:
- Dry, dull coat
- Pale gums
- Bloated belly
- Dark, tarry stools
- Weight loss
- Biting/licking the anus
Many of these symptoms are related to malnutrition that can develop if an intestinal parasite infection goes untreated for a long time.
Though most worm infestations are not life-threatening, they can be quite dangerous for kittens if they develop anemia from blood loss. Intestinal blockages caused by too many tapeworms can also be deadly.
Before You Choose a Dewormer, Determine Which Type of Worms Your Cat Has.
These flat, long worms are named for their resemblance to a strip of tape. They’re segmented and may appear as wiggling grains of rice in your cat’s coat.
Cats get them through contact with an infected animal, so outdoor cats who eat wild prey are at a particularly high risk. Fleas are also common tapeworm carriers.
These are tiny worms that hook onto your cat’s intestinal walls and feed off of the blood supply. Because blood loss can cause anemia, hookworms are a particularly menacing parasite for kittens and cats with a weakened immune system.
Cats can become infected when they eat a hookworm host, nurse from a queen, or when the worms burrow through their skin.
Roundworms are passed through the feces of an infected animal and can survive in their host for years. Your cat can get them in a number of ways – by eating an infected animal, eating roundworm eggs or larvae, or (particularly in the case of kittens) through their mother’s milk.
Because kittens can be infected long after the mother’s roundworm infestation cleared up, it’s safe to assume all kittens have roundworms.
Though the name may suggest otherwise, ringworm is not actually a worm infestation – it is a fungal infection.
Common signs include circular patches of hair loss, scaling or crusty skin, changes in hair or skin color, inflammation, excessive grooming or scratching, and dandruff. The best way to treat ringworm is with an antifungal medication, not a dewormer.
Let’s Take a Look at the Types of Dewormers on the Market and Which Types of Infestations They Treat.
Dewormers are available both over-the-counter and by prescription, and may be oral or topical.
Oral deworming medications come in tablets, liquids, and pastes so you can easily administer the medication in the manner most comfortable for your cat. Topical medications are typically applied at the base of the head, much like topical flea medications.
The most important thing you must do when shopping for dewormers is make sure the product you choose is made to kill the type of worms your cat has.
Praziquantel – For Tapeworms
This drug paralyzes the tapeworms by making their cells unable to hold onto calcium. This allows the worms to be killed by the body’s natural defenses and digested.
Once the worms are dead, they will eventually disintegrate and be passed in your cat’s feces, but they are often broken down so well that they can’t be seen. Praziquantel seldom causes side effects, but some cats experience excessive salivation, vomiting, or diarrhea after using it.
Pyrantel Pamoate – For Roundworms and Hookworms
This chemical paralyzes worms. Since roundworms and hookworms grip onto the intestinal wall to survive, this paralysis is a death sentence. They fall off of your cat’s intestinal wall and pass out through the digestive tract in stool. Pyrantel pamoate is safe for cats and seldom causes side effects. Some cats experience vomiting, but this reaction is rare.
Piperazine – For Roundworms
Like pyrantel pamoate, piperazine paralyzes roundworms, but it isn’t effective against hookworms. It’s important to ensure your cat receives the correct dose of this medication.
Too small a dose won’t be effective but overdose can cause nausea, vomiting, loss of balance, and muscle tremors.
Broad Spectrum Dewormers
Because it can be difficult to identify what type of worm is afflicting your cat, a broad-spectrum dewormer may be the best option. Broad-spectrum dewormers contain a mix of both praziquantel and pyrantel pamoate, enabling them to destroy the most common intestinal parasites of cats.
You should be aware, however, that these dewormers come with a higher incidence of side effects compared to worm-specific products.
What About So-Called Natural Dewormers?
Any over-the-counter or prescription medication comes with a risk of side effects, so you may be wondering about natural dewormers.
While there are several natural or herbal remedies out there, none are as reliable as traditional medications, but they may be worth investigating.
This fine natural powder is a safe organic insecticide, often used in gardens to kill ants and other pests. It’s also useful for killing fleas in the environment. Its effectiveness as an insecticide has caused some to recommend it for treating internal parasite infestations.
If diatomaceous earth worked as well inside your cat as it does to kill insects externally, we’d have a fantastic natural dewormer on our hands. Unfortunately, there’s no indication that diatomaceous earth is an effective dewormer. The few studies on the effects of DE on internal parasites have failed to demonstrate any consistent deworming effect.
You don’t even need to read a study to understand the problem with diatomaceous earth for internal parasites. Diatomaceous earth works like tiny shards of glass to physically damage an insect’s protective outer shell, allowing moisture loss. In the moist environment of your cat’s GI tract, diatomaceous earth simply can’t do its job.
Some natural dewormers combine herbs and other ingredients purported to create an intestinal environment unfriendly to parasites. These dewormers often include ingredients like wormwood, black walnut, and cloves.
A study on the deworming effects of natural remedies including pumpkin seeds, garlic, ginger, and papaya seeds on small ruminants concluded that:
“The most promising natural/plant dewormer appears to be pumpkin seeds, especially when administered as a drench. Even though significant reductions were not observed, numerically the pumpkin seed groups had the lowest fecal egg counts and required fewer dewormings in most cases.”
Cucurbitin is an amino acid naturally found in pumpkin seeds and can cause reproductive changes in certain parasites. Though this study found some minimal effects in goats, the safety and efficacy of the use of pumpkin seeds for treating intestinal parasites in cats has not been established.
Top 5 Best Dewormers for Cats Reviewed
Keep reading to learn more about Bayer Drontal Broad Spectrum Dewormer and six more of the best dewormers for cats money can buy.
The Right Dewormer Could Save Your Cat’s Life
If the parasites stick around for long enough, an intestinal infestation can lead to anemia and malnutrition. Particularly among small, weak kittens, it might even end in death.
Furthermore, worms don’t just affect cats and dogs. Several of the parasites that tend to attack cats are zoonotic, meaning they can be transmitted to humans.
Most dewormers are free of serious side effects, relatively easy to administer, and effective against parasites. But you have to choose one that’s right for your cat’s situation.
Looking for the best cat dewormer without vet prescription is not an easy task. Whether you use a broad-spectrum dewormer or get a vet’s approval for a worm-specific medication, it’s vital that you choose a dewormer that’s intended for the type of worms you’re dealing with. If you choose a deworming product that’s made to kill roundworms, it won’t do much for your cat’s tapeworm infestation.
For all the reasons above, it’s crucial to identify and treat a worm infestation as soon as possible.
By choosing the appropriate dewormer and following the label instructions, you can safely eradicate your cat’s infestation and bring him back to health.
Best Cat Dewormers Comparison Chart:
|Bayer Drontal Broad-Spectrum Dewormer
|Praziquantel, Pyrantel Pamoate
|Tapeworms, Roundworms, Hookworms
|Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer
|Hartz UltraGuard Rid Worm Dewormer for Roundworms for Cats
|HomeoPet Feline WRM Clear Cat Supplement
|Tapeworms, Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms
|Revolution Topical Solution for Cats
|Fleas, Heartworm, Hookworms, Roundworms, Ear Mites