Can My Cat Give Me Worms If It Sleeps In My Bed?

If your cat has worms and sleeps with you, the probability of contracting worms is minimal but not impossible. Worm eggs are transferred through feces and can end up being a vicious cycle in cats that go undetected.

Thankfully, owners know when their cats are not themselves and a round or two of worm medication will solve that problem.

If a cat has worms, it can transmit the eggs to its fur through grooming.

And, the only way you could become infected is if you were to come into contact with the eggs that may have fallen off your cat’s fur and onto your hands.

Therefore, if you accidentally touch your mouth during this time, you could inadvertently transfer those eggs to yourself.

The eggs would then hatch in your intestinal tract and you would end up with worms. Sounds gross, but don’t worry, there’s medication for us humans too.

Keep your cat out of your bed until it’s been cleared of worms and don’t forget to launder your sheets.

What Are Worms?

Worms are parasites that live in the intestines. They feed on the nutrients and blood from within the intestinal walls and can lead to health issues if left untreated.

Depending on the type of worm, they can range in size from one inch to twenty-four inches long and can vary in shape and color.

How Do Cats Get Worms?

Worms are highly contagious between pets through their feces, but there are other ways in which they may have contracted these nasty parasites.

  • Eating infected prey
  • Infested with worm by fleas
  • Serving your cat raw meat, which could be infected with worms
  • Kittens can contract worms through their mother’s milk

How To Best Launder Your Bedding?

If your cat sleeps in your bed and you’ve discovered that it has worms, you will need to launder your sheets just to be on the safe side.

Remove the sheets carefully to avoid distributing any worm eggs elsewhere which may be present. Wash your sheets on high heat and follow with the same in the dryer.

You can use a laundry disinfectant found in most grocery and hardware stores.

Otherwise, you can make your own by placing one-half of a cup of vinegar in the detergent tray and one-half of a cup of baking soda sprinkled over your bedding before hitting the wash cycle.

It’s recommended not to use the detergents at the same time or your bedding could come out with an oily feel. Vacuum your mattress and steam clean if possible as the heat will kill any missed worm eggs. 

Will Worms I Get From My Cat Make Me Sick?

Depending on the type of worm contracted, there is a possibility that you could become ill if left untreated.

For instance, if a child frequently contracts hookworm, there is a risk for impaired mental development because of a lack of iron and protein that the worms are feeding on.

As for illnesses in adults, symptoms may vary depending on the parasitic strain and severity. These symptoms include:

  • Distended abdomen
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Itchy skin rash, indicating ringworm
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • A general feeling of unwell

Hookworm Infections: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments (healthline.com)

How To Avoid Contracting Worms From Your Cat?

The best preventative measure to avoid contracting worms from your cat is to wash your hands often, especially if your cat has been diagnosed or suspected of having worms.

Wash each time after petting your cat or cleaning its litter box. Keep other surfaces that your cat frequents clean as well.

Worm eggs can be present in soil distributed by outdoor cats, so it’s always wise to wear gloves or wash your hands during and after gardening and check your child’s sandbox for cat feces.

Protecting Your Cat From Worms

If you have an inside cat, the risk of it contracting worms is minimal compared to one that goes outside. However, if you are feeding your indoor cat raw meat, then the risk would increase.

Outdoor cats can contract worms by consuming mice, birds, and other prey. Keep your cat separated from other animals if possible to avoid infecting them as well.

Have other animals in your home tested for worms, as they are easily transmitted through grooming each other and litter boxes.

Other ways in which to protect your cat, other animals, and yourself from worms are:

  • Keep your home clean
  • Wash your cat’s bedding routinely
  • Test your cat’s feces periodically
  • If you have an outside cat, use a flea preventative, as they can transmit worms to cats
  • Treat any worm infections promptly. The sooner your cat is administered medication, the easier it will be to control an infestation

Types Of Worms That Cats Typically Get

Roundworms

 Roundworms are the most common worms found in cats. They can measure up to five inches, are white and have a spaghetti-like appearance. 

Tapeworms

 These worms are white and flat. They can grow up to several inches and break off into segments.

Hookworms

The eggs of hookworms are undetectable to the human eye, with the worms appearing as thin as a strand of hair, less than one inch long. 

Ringworm

 Although no worm is present with this condition, I thought it wise to mention as it is a highly contagious fungal infection. The name comes from its appearance, which is characterized by a red, ring-like rash on the skin and scalp and can cause itchiness and hair loss.

Lungworm

 Lungworms are not as common but can still pose a threat to cats, and as the name suggests, they live in the lungs. A symptom of this parasite in cats is a cough.

Final Thought

Sleeping with your kitty can comfort both you and your feline companion. Disrupting this routine for any reason can be stressful, let alone the prospect of worms.

As mentioned earlier, the risk of contracting worms is low, but still there. Take the necessary precautions, speak to your veterinarian and your doctor if you have concerns.

When caught early, the potential for transmission is diminished, preventing you and others from becoming infected. 

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