We all watch our cats playing, and we know how much they love going after the bugs that they see in the house or when they’re outside. But is it really safe for cats to eat bugs?
The good news is that most of the bugs that your cat eats are indeed safe for them. There are some that you should watch out for, however. To help you learn how to keep your cat safe, we’ve looked at some of the most common types of bugs that your cat is likely to catch, kill, and eat, as well as those that can cause issues.
The majority of spiders, especially the smaller house spiders, generally won’t harm cats. But any type of spider that can harm a person can also harm cats. Since cats are a lot smaller, spider venom can damage them a lot more.
Spiders to look out for:
- Black Widow (plus other types of widows)
- Hobo spider
- Brown Recluse
Bites from poisonous spiders can lead to major health problems or death. Some bites can cause a local reaction which can become a major wound. Some can cause diarrhea, vomiting, drunken gait, muscle tremors, and paralysis.
If you think your cat was bitten by a poisonous spider, take them immediately to the vet. If they ate a spider, it’s unlikely that the venom is going to affect them due to the stomach acid. But it’s a good idea to observe them for 1-2 days to make sure that there aren’t any problems.
Flying and buzzing insects are often tempting for a playful cat. But stings can be very painful, and especially since cats can have allergic reactions just like humans. In fact, a cat will usually lick the site of the sting and irritate it more.
If your cat was stung, your veterinarian might suggest giving them an antihistamine called diphenhydramine. This is something you might want to keep around, but you shouldn’t administer it unless the vet says so. If there’s a bad reaction in your cat after being stung, take her to the vet.
Butterflies, Caterpillars & Moths
Most butterflies and moths won’t hurt cats. This is good since cats really like going after them. Some caterpillars sting, which can hurt your cat. However, the stings of common caterpillars usually aren’t dangerous. But stings from exotic, large caterpillars are often toxic.
Garden Tiger moths could be poisonous if it’s ingested, which also goes for their caterpillars. But there isn’t a lot known about how it will affect cats.
One thing to note about moths is that mothballs are extremely poisonous to your cat. A single mothball can lead to toxicity. The reason for this is that they’re concentrated, solid pesticides. For safety measures, use cedar chips instead.
Some of the signs your cat may have ingested a mothball are:
The small centipedes you find in your house generally won’t hurt cats. Chances are you’re happy that they are taking care of those annoying insects. But centipedes do have venom and are able to bite for capturing prey. This isn’t a problem for the smaller ones, but the bigger ones could bite and hurt your cat. The venom can cause weakness and fever. Watch a cat that you think was bitten and if they start having problems, take them to their vet.
Two centipedes that can be deadly are:
- Giant Redheaded
- Texas Redheaded
Cats who play with scorpions are likely to get stung. The results from a sting can range from a mild localized reaction to having trouble breathing, vomiting, or other types of unusual behavior.
It’s important to be aware if you live in a scorpion-prone area and to understand how they can affect your cat. If you believe that they’ve been stung, take them to the vet.
Ants usually won’t harm your cat. The big black ants might bite your cat. However, these bites are usually tiny and don’t cause any harm. But fire ants are often extremely dangerous to a cat. Their bites are venomous, painful, and can even cause very severe allergic reactions, which can even cause anaphylaxis. If your cat’s been bitten by some fire ants, it’s best to have them examined by a vet to be safe.
It’s also important to note that the chemical ant sprays can hurt your cat. So, make sure you’re looking for products that are pet safe.
- Related Read: How to Keep Ants Out of Cat Food (Quick & Simple)
Beetles, Crickets, Grasshoppers & Cockroaches
Insects with hard bodies such as beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, and cockroaches usually are non-toxic to your cat. But when a cat ingests one of their exoskeletons, it can cause gastrointestinal upset and oral irritation.
Cockroaches often carry parasites, so it’s a good idea to keep your cat on a product for deworming.
Fleas, Flies, Mosquitos & Ticks
Fleas are a common problem for cats, and they can cause everything from itchiness to anemia. A cat will often ingest fleas during grooming, and this can lead to an infection of tapeworm. That’s why it’s important to keep your cat protected with flea control.
If your cat goes outside, there’s a good chance that they’ll run into ticks. However, a tick can appear on any cat. The issue with ticks is that they carry diseases, which can cause many problems for your cat. Talk to the vet about preventing tick problems.
Mosquitos can lead to heartworm in your cat, which is fatal. However, since a cat isn’t the best host for heartworm, it’s not as common as it is for dogs. But when they do get it, they appear in the lungs. Since there isn’t any treatment for cats, it’s essential to give your cat monthly prevention for heartworm.
Flies are one of the things that cats love to chase. Sometimes a cat will have a problem with fly bites on the ears, particularly if they live outside. Fly repellant creams can be used for deterring flies.
Botflies will lay their eggs on animals’ skin. The larva then burrows beneath the skin and grows. If this happens in your cat, it appears as a little lump under their skin. The lump then has a perfectly round, tiny hole on top of it. as this grows, you might see the larva. This will look like a big maggot. If you’re noticing this on your cat, don’t try to remove it. Take your cat to your vet. The vet will remove it properly and then treat your cat for the secondary infection.
So, can your cat eat bugs? The short answer is yes. There are some bugs that can cause problems for them, as mentioned above, but for the most part they’ll be fine. Just know what you should look for and if you have any questions, call your vet. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Featured image credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay & Manja Vitolic, Unsplash