Best Cat Dewormer Without A Vet Prescription

While we always recommend visiting your vet to diagnose a worm infestation, you might be able to treat your cat at home with an over-the-counter drug or supplement. We've chosen the best cat dewormers without a vet prescription.

Tara Maurer holding cat smiling

Last Updated: January 3, 2024 | 7 min read

A cat at home with woman giving them cat dewormer medicine.

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Nobody wants to discover their cat has worms. On top of the treatment and cleanup, getting stuck paying for an expensive vet prescription makes the situation that much worse. It’s reasonable to want to avoid high costs by treating your furry friend at home, but do over-the-counter dewormers work? The short answer is yes—you can purchase a quality cat dewormer without a vet prescription.

So, what should you look for to deworm your kitty cat? It all depends on the type of worms (gross, I know). Pyrantel is a drug used to treat several parasitic worm infections, including hookworms, pinworms, and roundworms. Tapeworms can be killed with praziquantel, a medication that works by causing paralysis of the worms’ muscles so they can then be passed in the stool.

There are also natural dewormers that offer a holistic approach to parasitic cleansing. These formulas typically include herbs like black walnut and wormwood. Here are our picks for the best cat dewormer without a vet prescription.

Elanco Drontal
Our Rating

Best Broad Spectrum

Elanco Drontal

Elanco Tapeworm Dewormer
Our Rating

Best For Tapeworms

Elanco Tapeworm Dewormer

HomeoPet Feline WRM Clear
Our Rating

Best Homeopathic

HomeoPet Feline WRM Clear

Best Broad Spectrum 

Elanco Drontal Review

Elanco Drontal
  • Used to remove tapeworms, hookworms, and large roundworms
  • Tablets given directly by mouth or crumbled into food
  • Contains 18.2 mg praziquantel and 72.6 mg pyrantel base as pyrantel pomoate
  • Safe for adult cats and kittens
  • Scored tablet for accurate dosing

At around $5 per pill, Elanco’s Drontal is the most expensive product on our list, but it’s still a bargain compared to vet costs. The makers of Drontal created a product that eliminates various intestinal worms, including hookworms, large roundworms, and tapeworms. The formula uses two of the most recommended drugs for eliminating worms: praziquantel and pyrante pamoate. These medications paralyze the worms so your cat can pass the parasites in their stool. 

Drontal should take effect within one to two hours, though it may require several days of treatment to kill off all adult worms in your cat’s body. Clinical studies found that felines were wholly cleared of parasitic infections within four days of treatment with Drontal.

When confirming the elimination of parasites, you can see hookworms and large roundworms in your cat’s feces. Most tapeworms are digested and not found in the stool after treatment.

This medication does not kill eggs, so if any eggs are present in the intestinal tract and hatch, another round of treatment will be needed to avoid reinfection. It’s also important to note that fleas transmit tapeworms. Without proper flea prevention, a tapeworm reinfection can occur.

Side effects of Drontal are rare but may include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting

Do not give this formula to pets who are weak or frail, and you should consult your veterinarian before administering the product to a pregnant or lactating feline. If your cat takes other medications or supplements, consult your vet before dispensing this product.

Best For Tapeworms

Elanco Tapeworm Dewormer Review

Elanco Tapeworm Dewormer
  • Used to remove dipylidium caninum and taenia pisiformis tapeworms
  • Tablets taken directly in the mouth or crumbled into food
  • Contains 23 mg praziquantel
  • Safe for cats 6+ weeks of age
  • Only 1 treatment needed

Elanco’s Drontol is the best pick for a nonprescription broad-spectrum formula; however, if you know your cat has tapeworms, you can save a nice chunk of money by purchasing a tapeworm-specific product instead. Elanco’s Tapeworm Dewormer is an oral medication for removing common tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum and Taenia taeniaeformis) from cats and kittens.

Like other parasites, the mature tapeworm survives inside a host animal by feeding off the host’s nutrients. Felines become infected with tapeworms from ingesting fleas or small mammals (mice, rabbits) infected with tapeworm larvae. These flat, segmented parasites use their hook-like mouthparts to anchor themselves to the wall of the small intestine.

As the tapeworm matures, individual segments break off from the main body. You may see these rice-like segments in a cat’s feces or vomit. You may also notice them stuck to your cat’s hair under the tail or by the back legs.

Each tablet of Elanco’s Tapeworm Dewormer contains 23 mg of praziquantel, and you’ll give your feline ½ tablets to 1 ½ tablets based on their weight. Praziquantel works by initiating severe spasms and paralysis of the parasite’s muscles. The worms then detach from the intestinal lining and leave the body through bowel elimination. According to Elanco, one treatment is enough to remove adult tapeworms, though re-treatment will likely be necessary to kill any newly hatched larvae. Take flea prevention measures to avoid reinfection.

While uncommon, reported side effects of Elanco’s Tapeworm Dewormer include salivation and diarrhea. Contact your veterinarian if you observe either of these symptoms and they persist. Use caution when giving this product to lactating pets—a mother should not nurse for four days following the dose. If your cat takes other medications or supplements, talk to your veterinarian to ensure no drug interactions exist.

Best For Roundworms

Durvet WormEze Feline Liquid Review

Durvet WormEze
  • Used to treat roundworms
  • Apply into cat’s mouth or mix into food
  • Contains 275 mg piperazine citrate per serving
  • Safe for cats 6+ weeks of age
  • Repeat treatment in 10 days after first treatment

According to Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, roundworms are the most common intestinal parasite in cats. Adult roundworms are around three to six inches long and cream-colored. They live in a cat’s intestines and can become life-threatening if the number of parasites is so great that intestinal blockage occurs. 

Clinical signs of roundworms include:

  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Diarrhea
  • Dull coat
  • Poor growth
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Reduced appetite
  • Vomiting

You may notice adult roundworms in your cat’s stool or vomit; however, like with many parasitic infections, the best way to diagnose a roundworm infection is by looking at a stool sample under a microscope. Confirm the presence of these parasites by obtaining a lab fecal examination before treatment.

Once the presence of roundworms is verified, use WormEze to remove large roundworms. This liquid formula uses piperazine citrate to paralyze roundworms, which allows your cat’s body to flush them out through the normal excretory process. You must repeat the treatment in 10 days for complete removal of roundworms. 

While piperazine is generally considered safe, side effects may include diarrhea, unusual gait, and vomiting. This drug is potent and has the potential for overdose if not taken in the recommended dosage. Severe side effects like paralysis and death can occur with overdose. Cats with known kidney problems should not take this medication. If your kitty takes other drugs or supplements, talk to your vet before administering WormEze. Do not use this drug on cats who are pregnant or nursing.

Best Herbal

Arrowleaf Pet D Wormer Review

Arrowleaf Pet D Wormer
  • Used to eliminate pinworms, whipworms, roundworms, and tapeworms
  • Liquid remedy taken twice daily directly in mouth or in food
  • Contains wormwood, black walnut hull, black cumin seed, sage, fennel seed, and papaya leaf
  • Safe for adult cats and kittens
  • Supports a healthy intestinal tract

Arrowleaf Pet D Wormer (formerly NaturPet D Wormer) uses a natural, holistic approach to parasite elimination. The formula promotes the elimination of parasites and other invaders, supports the intestinal tract, stimulates digestion, encourages bowel regularity, and helps maintain proper gut pH.

Natural health practitioners recommend various herbs for parasite cleanses, many of which can be found in this pet-safe formula. In particular, wormwood is effective in treating roundworms and tapeworms. Practitioners have also used black walnut to treat ringworms, tapeworms, and other parasitic infections. 

If you’ve even completed a parasite cleanse, you know you can experience parasite die-off symptoms, including brain fog, itching, fatigue, gas, nausea, and stomach pain. To protect your feline from these symptoms, Arrowleaf contains ingredients to reduce inflammation, speed up elimination, and soothe the lining of the digestive tract. 

To use Arrowleaf Pet D Wormer, you can mix the formula into food or use the dropper to place it directly in your pet’s mouth twice daily. Speak with your vet before giving this product to your pet.

Best Homeopathic

HomeoPet Feline WRM Clear Review

HomeoPet Feline WRM Clear
  • Used to treat hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms
  • Oral drops taken 3 times daily
  • Ingredients include arsenicum album, chenopodium anthelminticum, cucurbita pepo, filix mas, kamala, natrum phosphoricum, silica terra, sulphur,  and thymol
  • Safe for all cats, including kittens, pregnant, and nursing cats
  • Can be used to treat or prevent

Veterinary-formulated HomeoPet Feline WRM Clear is a natural homeopathic medicine formulated to support the removal of hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. As with all homeopathic medicines, Feline WRM Clear stimulates your feline’s healing response to recover from the parasitic infection.

If you’re unfamiliar with homeopathy, this alternative medicine is based on the theory of “like cures like.” In other words, something that creates symptoms—taken in tiny doses—can trigger the body’s natural defenses. WRM Clear does not kill the worms but helps your cat’s own immune system remove them from the body. It also contains ingredients to help recover from parasite die off.

People consider homeopathic remedies highly safe; this formula causes zero known side effects or drug interactions. There is no risk of overdosing due to the chemical-free formulation. It is acceptable for all cats, including kittens, pregnant, and nursing carts.

Give your cat these liquid drops directly into their mouth or add them to water or food. You will dispense drops three times daily for 14 days to treat worms. For prevention, repeat dosing for seven days every two months.

3 Types Of Worm-like Parasites

Three types of parasites in cats.

The most common worms in felines are—in order of prevalence—roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms.

  1. Roundworms: Common in cats—especially kittens—roundworms are large (3 to 6 inches), smooth, and cream-colored. Cats become infected by eating eggs or hosts (rodents, birds, etc.) with larvae in their tissues.
  2.  Tapeworms: If you see something that resembles rice in your cat’s feces, they could have a tapeworm infestation. Cats usually become infected by ingesting infected fleas or by eating infected rodents.
  3.  Hookworms: These tiny worms are nearly invisible without viewing them through a microscope. These are blood-sucking parasites that attach to the walls of the intestines. Signs of hookworm infection in felines include anemia, dull coat, and weight loss. Hookworm larvae can also penetrate human skin and cause dermatitis.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are questions we frequently get asked by our readers regarding cat dewormers. Don’t see yours? Ask us in the comments.

What Are The Signs Of A Parasite Infection?

Sick cat under a blanket.
A cat with a loss of appetite could mean they have a parasite.

The following symptoms are signs that your cat may have worms:

  • Anemia
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Dull coat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mucoid or bloody feces
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Vomiting

Many species of worms can also appear in your cat’s litter box.

Do I Need A Prescription To Buy Cat Dewormer?

You do not need a prescription to buy certain cat dewormers, but there are many where a prescription is required. If your vet recommends a prescription-only dewormer for your cat, look at the active ingredient. There may be an over-the-counter equivalent.

How Do You Apply Cat Dewormer?

cat sitting in front of a person holding a tablet for deworming medicine.
Tablets are the most common options, but liquids and topical gels are also available. 

Multiple options are available if you need to treat your feline for worms. You can give your cat tablets, chewables, and liquids directly or add them to food. Follow the instructions on the packaging. Some brands may recommend taking their formula with food to avoid digestive upset.

Topical dewormers are typically applied at the back of the cat’s neck, between the shoulder blades. The medicine absorbs through the cat’s skin and enters the bloodstream to remove the infection. Transdermal medication is a good option for cats who detest taking their medicine.

How Often Do You Need To Give Your Cat Dewormer?

The frequency of the dewormer application will change based on the dewormer you choose. Follow the packaging directions to determine the frequency of application.

Cleaning After Worm Infestation

While treating your cat should be the first priority, cleaning up your home after deworming your pet is equally important. Use our guide to properly clean the cat’s environment to reduce the chance of reinfection. And, if you haven’t already, consider pet insurance with a wellness plan to help cover the costs of vaccinations and parasite protection.

Tabby cat eating a colorful Lollipop on green background

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