If you’re away from your home working all day, you probably can’t resist a good snuggle with your favorite feline when you come home at night. Nestled in your blankets and pajamas, your cat feels most comfortable with you. They might not want to leave when it’s time to turn the lights out and go to sleep, but you might be wondering, is it safe to sleep with a cat, especially if they have worms? Here’s all you need to know about your chances of catching worms from your cat, and how to prevent intestinal parasites (without banishing your cats from your bed).
How Humans Get Worms from Cats
It’s possible for humans to get worms from cats. However, the chances of getting worms as a result of a cat sleeping with you are low. The most likely reason that humans get worms from cats is by coming into direct contact with an infected cat’s feces. You’re mostly likely to get worms from cats by cleaning their litter box or other areas where your cat may have defecated, especially if you don’t wash your hands afterwards. However, if an infected cat were to somehow transmit fecal matter onto your bed, then it is possible to get worms that way.
How to Know When Your Cat Has Been Infected with Worms
Worms and parasites are most commonly seen in kittens or puppies but can affect animals of all ages. A pot-bellied appearance is a clinical sign to be on the lookout for if you have a kitten at home. Your vet will typically give your kitten a deworming treatment every time they return for their next round of boosters to prevent a worm infestation, so typically this isn’t something that should make you feel too worried.
Parasites in adult cats are a little harder to determine unless you see the worms wriggling in their poop (gross, we know). This is why we recommend regularly deworming your cat or monthly if they’re warrior cats who like to hunt outside. There are also a number of natural dewormers available that rely on herbs instead of pharmaceuticals.
What Type of Parasites Can I Catch from My Cat?
You can get tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, mites, ticks, and fleas from your animals! Although that sounds like a lot to worry about, these parasites usually don’t cause extensive damage to humans, and most infections can be prevented by limiting host parasites, such as fleas, in your home.
Parasite Can Humans Get It? How You Can Get Infected
|Tapeworm||Yes||Accidental ingestion of a flea|
|Hookworms||Yes||Through skin contact with infected feces, such as walking on a beach with infected cat feces|
|Roundworms||Yes||Through skin contact with infected feces, such as children playing in contaminated sandboxes|
|Fleas||Yes||Cats can spread fleas on their fur, and they can hop from your pets to your skin. Fleas can cause itchy bites and even rashes, especially if you’re allergic.|
|Mites||Yes||Like fleas, mites spread through direct contact with your cat.|
|Ticks||Yes||Although ticks aren’t as common on cats as dogs, they can transfer to humans if your cat brings one inside on its skin and then it crawls off onto you.|
Ways to Reduce the Risk of Getting a Parasite
In order to reduce your risk of catching a parasite from your cat you should:
You could also keep your cat indoors and wash your hands after petting your cat, but we realize this might be especially challenging if you have a cat who likes to explore, or frequently interrupts your internet meetings.
So, should you sleep with your cat? If you’ve done everything you can to mediate the risk, it is unlikely that you’ll get worms from your cat who sleeps with you. But always best to practice preventative medicine and be careful!
Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock