How Do Cats Get Tapeworms?
Cats are infected with different species of tapeworms. The most common are Diplidium caninum and Taenia taeniaformis.
Diplidium is the most common tapeworm, which cats get from eating infected fleas. Mature Diplidium worms can be anywhere from 20 to 50 cm long when fully mature. They shed proglottids (segments with both male and female reproductive organs) in the feces - this is often what people see. They can look like rice or sesame seeds and live for a short time outside of the host. Flea larvae ingest these, and the cycle is completed when a cat eats a flea when grooming. Humans can only be infected if, THEY TOO, eat a flea.
Taenia are found in cats that eat raw meat, or are hunters. Adult Taenia worms are a bit longer at 60 cm.
Generally speaking, tapeworms do not have a detrimental effect on cats. They are more disgusting to us than anything!