The signs of tapeworms in cats include dried white- or cream-colored worm segments in the cat's droppings or stuck to the cat's fur, according to PetMD. The cat may also experience itching on the anus, causing it to bite, scratch or drag its hindquarters across the floor.
A tapeworm infestation begins when the cat ingests tapeworm eggs, usually by ingesting adult fleas, rabbits, rodents or birds, says PetMD. The tapeworm usually settles in the small intestine, and as it grows, segments break off and are expelled in the feces.
A tapeworm infestation can be treated with oral or injected medication. Pet owners should ensure that their cat gets the full course of the medication in order to completely eliminate the infestation. Treatment should begin promptly, as the tapeworms can cause internal damage to the cat or spread to their human owners, according to PetMD.
The best way to prevent a tapeworm infestation is to keep the cat free of fleas. If fleas are found on the cat, pet owners should be sure to treat the cat, the environment and any other animals in the household. Tapeworm infestations may also be prevented by keeping the cat away from garbage and dead animals, claims PetMD.