Can Humans Get Worms From Cats?
Can people get worms from their cats? The short answer to that question is YES – humans can definitely contract worms and other intestinal parasites from cats.
How do cats get worms?
Outdoor cats can become infected with worms in a number of ways…
- Contact with an infected animal
- Stepping in an area contaminated with worms or worm eggs (usually from the feces of an infected animal)
- Eating an infected animal (mice, squirrels, etc.)
Ingesting a flea infected with worm eggs can also lead to worms.
While strictly indoor cats are less likely to get worms, they are not safe from them. An indoor cat can get fleas, and they can also consume insects or rodents infected with worms that have made their way inside the home.
Kittens can contract worms from their mother before birth, or immediately after from their mother’s milk.
How do people get worms from cats?
The easiest way to get worms from your cat is to be less than fastidious in your handling of their waste.
Children are the humans that are most likely to get worms from a cat. Kids play outdoors and are very hands-on when they do. Digging in contaminated dirt, playing in sandboxes that may have been used as litter box, and putting dirty hands in their mouths are all easy ways for kids to get worms from cats.
Children are also more likely to end up accidentally swallowing fleas infected with worms when playing with or kissing their cat.
What can you do to prevent getting worms?
If your cat goes outdoors, watch for the symptoms of worms and visit the vet regularly to ensure they are worm-free. Getting your cat treated for worms (de-wormed) does not prevent them from getting them again. As worms can be spread by fleas, be vigilant about your cat’s flea-control.
Be extremely careful when cleaning the litter box. Wear gloves, use a disinfectant, and wash your hands thoroughly.
Do not handle any animal waste found on your property. Use a “pooper scooper” of some kind to dispose of it.
Cover children’s sandboxes when not in use to prevent them from being used as litter boxes by neighborhood cats. Ensure that children are washing their hands thoroughly after playing outside or playing with cats.
Don’t go barefoot in areas where animal feces has been found or your pets have defecated, even if the waste has been removed and the area has been cleaned.