Cat Worms that Look Like Rice

Cat worms are intestinal parasites that have entered your pet's body. Most kittens are born with worms. Hence, it's essential to have your young pet regularly dewormed after he's been checked by a vet.

Cat Worms

The two most common types of cat worms are roundworms and tapeworms. Before you treat your pet for worms, it's essential to identify the type of worm your pet is infected with.


Tapeworms are long, flat worms that are 1 cm in length and composed of multiple segments. Upon close examination you may notice small white worm segments around your pet's rectum. These segments are alive and generally break off from the adult parasite present inside the cat's body. When these segments die, they look like uncooked rice grains and can be found near your pet's bedding.

Tapeworms need two hosts to complete their life cycle: an intermediate host like a flea and a final host, like your pet. These worms contain both ovaries and testes and can reproduce on their own. Tapeworms attach their heads to the intestinal wall of the pet and absorb nutrients from the cat's digestive tract.

Types of Tapeworms

There are two types of tapeworms. Your adult pet can be infested by tapeworms known as Dipylidium caninum if he ingests a flea while grooming himself. If the flea has a tapeworm inside it, this tapeworm enters your pet's body. Since a cat can get infected with these tapeworms by ingesting fleas, it means that the cat is also infected with fleas. A cat can also get tapeworms by eating prey such as rodents that are infected with tapeworms. This type of tapeworm is known as Taenia taeniaformia.

Symptoms of Tapeworms in Cats:

  • Presence of rice-like segments around the cat's rectum
  • Loss of weight
  • Increase in appetite
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy 
  • A dull coat


Both deworming and flea medications are required to rid your pet of tapeworms. Treatment is very effective and relatively simple. Since many over the counter medications can cause death or severe side-effects, it's best to have worm and flea medications prescribed by the vet. A medication known as Praziquantel is effective in ridding your pet of tapeworms. Only one dosage of the medication is required and you should ensure that you buy the medication that's specifically formulated for cats. Praziquantel is contraindicated in kittens less than 6 weeks old and in pregnant pets.

Only ½ a tablet should be administered to a pet weighing less than 4 pounds. 1 tablet is the appropriate dosage for a cat weighing between 5 and 11 pounds, and cats over 11 pounds can be given one and a half tablets. It's best to mix the medication in your pet's food, but make sure that he ingests the full dosage. You should also treat your pet and his surroundings for fleas to ensure that there is no recurrence of the infestation.


The best way to prevent your pet from tapeworm infestation is to rid him of fleas. You can do this by grooming your cat frequently and keeping him indoors. You should also keep your pet from hunting rodents.

If your pet has a tapeworm infestation, you should make sure that you deworm him promptly, dispose of his feces or bury it, control the flea population in your home and maintain overall hygiene.