Cat Parasites: Can Indoor Cats Get Parasites?

Can Indoor Cats get Parasites?

By Jennie @ Ragdoll Cats World

May 19, 2022

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We love our cats, but we can’t help but worry about the parasites they might bring into our homes. Parasites can be destructive and costly, so it’s important to be as informed as possible about them. A question that a lot of people ask is can indoor cats get parasites?

There are two main types of parasites: external and internal. External parasites are those found on the hair and skin of cats. Internal parasites live in your cat’s internal organs, such as the intestinal tract or lungs.

Your Ragdoll cat breeder should guarantee that your new Ragdoll kitten is free from parasites when you first collect it.  To keep your cat parasite-free, you will need to take a lifetime commitment. Parasites can cause serious health problems for cats and can be hard to eliminate.



What Parasites Do Cats Get?

There are generally three types of parasites that you must either control or eliminate from your home and your cat: fleas, worms, and ear mites.


Fleas can be a serious threat to your Ragdoll cat’s health, ranging from irritating itching and scratching that can lead to loss of hair coat or skin infection, all the way to anemia where your cat’s red blood cells have been depleted by fleas feeding on them. This is especially important with kittens, but adult cats can also be seriously weakened by heavy flea infestation.

Fleas can spread diseases such as Bartonella kennedyi (a bacteria that causes cat-scratch disease), Ehrlichia chaffeensis (a virus that causes ehrlichiosis), and Borrelia miyamotoi (a bacterium that causes bordetella)

Can indoor cats get fleas?



Worms are an intestinal parasite that can be a major problem for cats, as they can cause a variety of health problems. There are several types of worms that can infest a cat, causing it to lose important nutrients. The two most common intestinal worms are roundworms, which live in the stomach, and tapeworms, which live in the intestines.


When your kitten is three to five weeks old, their breeder will administer a medication necessary to deworm your kitten of roundworms. This medication is given at three and five weeks of age. If your cat develops an extremely bloated abdomen, roundworms can be suspected. Roundworms are so common that it may take several treatments, spaced regularly within the first year of life, to completely eliminate them. Contact your veterinarian for the proper medication if you think your cat has roundworm.


When your Ragdoll cat ingests a flea, it can potentially introduce tape worms into its digestive system. These parasites will eventually break off and appear as small white pieces of rice on your kitten’s stool, rear hair coat, or anal area. Once inspected closely, you may even see these tapeworm segments moving. Again, please contact your veterinarian for the appropriate medication in order to treat tapeworm.


Heartworm is a parasite that is spread by mosquitoes. When an infected mosquito bites your pet, it injects baby heartworm larvae into the blood. These larvae can easily find their way inside your home and cause problems for you and your pet.


Lizards and rodents are a source of hookworm infection for indoor cats. These blood-sucking parasites can cause intestinal blockages in cats, leading to health problems such as vomiting and diarrhea.


Lungworms are a common problem for cats and can cause damage to your cat’s lungs.  Lizards and rodents, as well as snails or slugs that might find their way indoors on plants, can be a source of lungworms.

Can indoor cats get worms?


Ear mites

When you bring your new Ragdoll kitten home, be sure to inspect its ears. They should appear clean and free of any build-up of brown, dirt-like material. Tiny specks of wax are normal, just as with human ears. However, if you notice any dark brown clumps developing inside your kitten’s ears, it may be symptomatic of ear mites. Ear mites can only be confirmed by using a microscope and would require treatment from a veterinarian.

What To Do If Your Ragdoll Cat Has An Ear Infection


Do Cats Transmit Parasites To Humans?

Cats can transmit parasites to humans through direct contact or through the contamination of their food. You can help reduce the risk of cat parasite transmission by taking precautions to keep your cat parasite-free and by controlling the environment where they live.


Can Indoor Cats Get Parasites?

Many people think that indoor cats don’t get parasites, but that’s not always the case. Indoor cats can still get worms, lice, and fleas. You can help keep your cat parasite-free by providing them with a clean environment and quality food.


How Do Indoor Cats Get Parasites?

Cats can get parasites in a number of ways. They can get parasites from eating infected food or water, from contact with infected predators or prey, or from contact with other cats. You can help reduce the risk of cat parasite transmission by keeping your cats parasite-free and by controlling their environment.

Worm eggs can lay dormant for months, so it’s easy to track them into your home on your clothing and footwear. If you want to avoid your indoor cat getting a worm infection, you should remove or clean your shoes before entering the house.


How can I Protect my Indoor Cat from Parasites?

Parasite control is an important part of keeping your pet healthy all year long.

There are a variety of safe and effective products on the market that can be used to treat your cat’s parasites. Many of these products are applied topically, which means they will be absorbed by the skin. Parasite treatment and prevention products are easy to apply and often have few side effects for your cat. They can come in the following methods:

  • Collars
  • Sprays
  • Spot-on formulations
  • Oral worming treatment

Flea control products come in a variety of forms and can be applied to both dogs and cats. However, not all flea control products are equally safe for either pet. Always consult your veterinarian before applying a product to your cat, as many dog flea control products contain permethrin which can be toxic to cats.

Parasites, such as fleas, ticks, heartworm, and intestinal worms can greatly reduce an animal’s quality of life. Some parasites are transmissible to people as well.

Find out more about health issues in Ragdoll Cats


Written by Jennie @ Ragdoll Cats World

I'm Jennie, the creator of Ragdoll Cats World. I have been owned and loved by Ragdoll Cats for almost twenty years after getting my first Ragdoll kittens, Huey and Choo-Choo back in 2003. They lived to the grand old age of 18 and 17 and they even made the move from London to Australia with me! We now have two Ragdoll cats, Violet and Ocean, and a Maine Coon cat named Eddie, and we love sharing our knowledge of all things related to Ragdoll Cats with you at Ragdoll Cats World!

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