Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Deworm Feral Cats: 4 Tips & Tricks (Vet Answer)

Written by: Dr. Meg Barnes BVSC MRCVS (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on March 19, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

veterinarian uses an oral syringe to administer liquid dewormer to a kitten

How to Deworm Feral Cats: 4 Tips & Tricks (Vet Answer)


Dr. Meg Barnes Photo


Dr. Meg Barnes


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Deworming cats can be challenging at the best times, especially if they are feral. Cats have the marvelous ability to turn into agile gymnasts, and alongside their claws and teeth, this can make shoving a tablet down the back of their throats next to impossible.

Unfortunately, being proficient little hunters, feral cats are prone to worms and parasites, so regular deworming protocols should be put in place if you are caring for one. Worms can be detrimental—even fatal—to their health in the long term, so it is essential that parasite treatment be undertaken, especially if you’re introducing a new cat to an existing multi-cat household.

There are a few ways that you can deworm a feral cat that will not result in injury for either party. Read on to find out more.

cat paw divider

The 4 Tips on How to Deworm Feral Cats

1. Put the Medication in Their Food

The simplest way to deworm a feral cat is to mix the medication with their food. Deworming products are available in both liquid and granule form, making it easier to give when you need to administer it to the cat over multiple days.

One is “Panacur” (fenbendazole), and it covers roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and giardia. It usually needs to be given once daily for 3 days and can be given to kittens from 4 weeks of age.

2. Put the Medication in Their Milk Replacer

For kittens, you can mix the worming product with their milk replacer. Once they have been introduced to the taste of the milk and readily consume it, you can add the worming medication to the bowl. This is especially helpful if you are attempting to deworm multiple feral kittens.

kitten drinking milk outdoor
Image Credit: BeautifulPicture, Shutterstock

3. Use Topical Ointments

Many worming medications are administered by applying them directly to the skin. This can be a great option if you can hold the cat. Some products often have the added benefit of protecting against fleas and ticks. You can get basic dewormers as spot-on treatments too, including Drontal Spot-On and Profender.

These products should be applied on the back of the neck to stop the cat from licking them off. They should also be applied to a part of the skin that is free of wounds and scabs.

4. Visit the Vet

It is always recommended (if possible) to take the cat to the vet for a health check. This way, they can conduct a thorough examination, usually under an anesthetic, and provide the treatment and spay or neuter them at the same time. While the cat is under an anesthetic, the vet can administer the worming and flea medications and treat any other issues that the cat is presenting with. Spay and neutering is a vital component of controlling the feral cat population, and many programs worldwide are doing great work to combat the ever-growing problem.

veterinarian examining-a cat in the clinic
Image Credit: Lee-Charlie, Shutterstock

3 cat face divider

What Are the Worms That Require Prevention & Treatment?

The most common worms found in cats are roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. They live in the intestines of cats, though in their immature stages, they migrate around different parts of the body and can cause a wide array of clinical signs. They spend most of their lifecycles living in the natural environment and can live in other hosts (such as rodents, insects, and birds), which is why cats should be dewormed at regular intervals, especially if they have access to the outdoors and like to hunt.

Tapeworms can also be transmitted to cats by fleas. Therefore, it should be assumed that a cat that has a flea burden also suffers from tapeworm. A large aspect of controlling tapeworms is to control flea infections too.

Depending on which part of the world you live in, cats can also get lungworms and heartworms. Lungworms are spread by slugs and snails and heartworms by mosquitoes. Certain worming products (such as monthly spot-on treatments Stronghold and Advocate) include prevention for these parasites. Oral formulations like Panacur and Drontal do not.

Generally, kittens must be treated for worms every 2 weeks from approximately 3–4 weeks of age and then monthly until they’re 6 months old. Treatment should then be given every 1–3 months. There are many worming products on the market, which can be confusing, so it is always best to seek advice from your veterinarian if you are concerned.

cat and vets
Image Credit: Stock Asso, Shutterstock

cat paw divider


Deworming feral cats is a challenge but it isn’t impossible. While we may think that cats can take care of themselves, life on the streets is tough. They must deal with parasites, disease, illness, and injury. Most well-cared-for domesticated cats can live up to 20 years old, but the expected lifespan for a feral cat is reported to be 2–5 years. So, if you are caring for a feral cat or have recently adopted an unsocialized cat, deworming is a crucial component of their care. Your local veterinary clinic is always available to provide you with advice, so don’t hesitate to contact them.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: MDV Edwards, Shutterstock

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.