My cat is leaving what look like sesame seeds where he sleeps


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Our question this week was:

I have a 3-year-old indoor cat and have recently noticed what look like sesame seeds around the house where he sleeps. I have looked through his fur and cannot find any but I still notice them everyday. I haven't changed the type of cat litter and can't find anything that looks like sesame seeds in it. I have looked through my whole house and can't find a source of them. Do you have any idea what this might be?

Thank you for your time

Matt St. Clair


Hi Matt– thanks for your email. It sounds to me like your cat could have tapeworms. Tapeworm segments when dried look like little kernels of rice or sesame seeds.

If your cat is indoor only – he may gave gotten them from having fleas. Check him carefully for fleas. Part his hair and look closely at his skin. Concentrate on his back – just in front of his tail. You may see what looks like cracked pepper on his skin (or live fleas). The black debris is often the bowel movement of the flea.

The other way cats can get tapeworms if from ingesting a rodent which is less common in indoor cats.

In general, tapeworms are not dangerous for cats but I'd recommend that you have them treated. Call your vet and have him evaluated. If he has fleas, I'd recommend a flea treatment and preventative and treatment for the tape worms.

An couple articles that might be helpful to you are Flea Infestation in Cats and Tapeworm Infection in Cats.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.