Cuddling with your cat can be cathartic and bring you happiness. You may have seen some very enthusiastic pet owner even kiss their furry friends or allow them to have a good lick of their face. Whilst you might not be at this level of relaxation when it comes to closeness with your cat, the question might have surfaced in your mind- should I be letting my cat sleep in my bed? Does it put me at risk of getting worms?
The short answer is no; letting your cat sleep in your bed shouldn’t put you at any higher of a risk of getting worms than you would be normally. But there is still a risk, as always, that you could catch worms from your cat, whether you let them sleep in your bed or not.
Types of worms
First things first- you are only likely to get worms from your cat if your cat has worms. So- what are the most common kinds of worms your cat can catch?
- Tapeworms- these worms live in the intestines of the host and can be contracted through the bites of other infected animals such as fleas.
- Roundworms- these are the most common types of worms in cats. They measure around three inches long and cats pick them up from the infected faeces of other animals.
- Hookworms- these are small worms which feed on blood and are passed on through infected faeces.
- Lungworms- these worms cause respiratory problems in cats and are passed on when your cat eats an animal that was previously infected.
- Heartworms- these worms reside in the host’s heart but can only be passed on through an infected mosquito bite, not from mammal to mammal.
Symptoms of worms in cats
The symptoms of cats who have worms can differ, depending on the type of worms they have. In general, contagious worms can cause any of the following symptoms and many more:
- Stomach irritation and constipation
- Diarrhoea and soft stools (that may contain either blood or worms)
- Anal irritation and constant licking of the area
- Swollen abdomen
- Weight loss
- Vomiting (that may contain worms)
- Any noticeable change in your cat’s typical behaviour
Can you catch worms from your cat?
If you suspect that your cat has worms, then it is possible that you might catch worms from your cat. Usually worms are expelled in cats’ faeces and any contact with contaminated faeces that makes it into your body can transfer a worm infection. Therefore, it is important to wash your hands often and thoroughly and to maintain good hygiene if you think that your cat may have worms.
You can also catch worms from your infected cat via flea bites. If your cat has worms and fleas, then this can be a recipe for disaster. Fleas feed on the blood of their chosen hosts but also transfer bacteria when they bite. Because of this, a flea that has bitten your cat and then bites you can transfer a worm infection. The most common type of worm passed on through flea bites is the tapeworm.
Can indoor cats get worms?
Yep! Indoor cats can get both worms and fleas. Though it is less likely, and the risk is lower, an indoor cat can still get worms, so it is important not to ignore the symptoms of worms in your cat, even if it is an indoor cat.
Preventing catching worms from your cat
The best way to ensure that you don’t catch worms from your cat, whether you are sharing your bed with them or not, is to prevent your cat from getting worms. Many pet stores offer worm prevention treatments and, if you are not sure which to use, your vet will be able to recommend one. Additionally, if you think that your cat has worms, it is important to take them to the vet as soon as you can. A worm infection can cause major discomfort in your cat and neither you nor your feline friend wants that. Your vet will be able to provide treatment for any worm infection your cat may have.
What if I think I’ve caught worms from my cat?
If you think you have caught worms from your cat, then you should see a doctor. You should also take your cat to the vet, if you haven’t already. Your doctor will be able to help you rectify the issue and your vet will be able to help you cat. The vet should also recommend preventative methods to stop further worm infections in your cat.
If you suspect that your cat has either worms or fleas, then you should not let them sleep in your bed. However, if your cat has already been sleeping in your bed and you think it might have worms, then it is important to wash all of your bedsheets straight away and stop your cat from returning to the bed.
If your cat does not have worms or fleas then, generally, it is safe to let them sleep in your bed and to cuddle with them. Though it is always good to ensure you wash your hands again before eating or touching your own face.
Not very likely. The main way cats pass worms onto humans is via contaminated faeces and flea bites- making sure you maintain good hygiene, hand-washing and flea control means you should be safe!
If you contract a worm infection and you find that your cat also has one, it is possible that you caught it from your cat. It is not possible to be certain of this, but your vet may be able to shed more light on the subject.
Yes! It is highly recommended that, if your cat has worms, you wash everything your cat has touched. This will help prevent the spread of the infection.
It’s highly unlikely. It can happen, if your cat has been licking infected faeces and then licks you and you don’t wash the area. But the chances of this are quite low and, if you maintain good hygiene, you should be fine!