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Can Cats Eat Dragonflies? Is It Healthy for Them?

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	Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Vet, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats love to chase things, especially things that fly quickly. It is one reason why so many birds die due to domestic cats every year (which can actually become a serious problem in some areas). Dragonflies are another animal that is often the victim of a cat’s playful personality. In fact, many cats may decide to chase and eat dragonflies.

Luckily, there isn’t much of a problem with cats consuming dragonflies. While these bugs don’t have much nutritional content and aren’t going to do much for your feline, they aren’t particularly risky for your cat to eat, either.

There is no reason to prevent your cat from eating a dragonfly. They aren’t common carriers of any parasites that may threaten your cat. They also aren’t toxic. Therefore, they’re completely safe for your feline to eat.

 

Are Dragonflies Poisonous for Cats to Eat?

Dragonflies do not create any toxins. Therefore, cats can eat them without any troublesome consequences. Humans could eat them too if you really wanted to. This counts dragonfly nymphs, as well, which live underwater.

Of course, catching these bugs is often a challenge. Dragonflies move very quickly, so it is challenging for cats to catch them. This game is often the most fun, though. Most cats hunt dragonflies because it is fun, not necessarily because they want to eat them. However, if they catch one, many cats will eat them.

Dragonflies are brightly colored but this has more to do with a mate than it does toxin production. It is true that many toxic bugs are brightly colored, but the dragonfly does not fall into this category.

Do Dragonflies Carry Diseases?

American Polydactyl cat walking outside
Image Credit: Jenny Margarette, Shutterstock

While just about anything can technically carry some diseases, dragonflies are not particularly known for their ability to carry diseases. In fact, these bugs are pretty much harmless. They don’t spread illnesses, sting, or feed on crops. Therefore, they can actually be a rather helpful bug to keep around.

Your cat likely enjoys chasing dragonflies because they are large and easier to catch than many other bugs. While dragonflies are extremely fast, a stalking cat may be able to strike one without much of a problem.

Luckily, because dragonflies don’t really carry diseases, you don’t have to worry about your cat catching a disease from a dragonfly. In the end, this makes dragonflies one of the better options for cats to chase.

However, to reduce your cat’s impact on the biodiversity of your garden you can give them plenty of opportunities to play with you and toys instead of eating the wildlife.

Can a Dragonfly Hurt a Cat?

Of course, when the dragonfly gets caught by the cat, you may expect them to defend themselves. Despite their large size, though, dragonflies are pretty much harmless. They do not sting and cannot bite. Therefore, they cannot defend themselves against your cat. They also can’t harm you.

Some very large dragonflies can bite, but their mouths are so small that the odds of them breaking skin is low. Furthermore, if a dragonfly bites and then their target suddenly pulls back, the dragonfly’s head will get ripped off. Their jaws are very large, but their neck is not.

Therefore, dragonflies typically only bite as a last resort. After all, the odds of it killing the dragonfly are quite high. For the most part, these bugs only use their mandibles to eat prey items. They aren’t really designed for self-defense purposes.

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Conclusion

Dragonflies are not toxic to cats at all. They can’t harm cats in any way, except occasionally biting them. However, dragonflies cannot bite very hard, and this usually leads to their death. They only bite if they are being threatened and likely to die, anyway.

Dragonflies do not carry toxins or diseases and they don’t have parasites that could be passed to your cat. Therefore, if you see your cat chasing and eating dragonflies, there is no reason to worry.

These bugs can be fun for cats to chase, as they are big, fast and erratic. However, if your cat does manage to catch one, eating them should not be a problem.

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Featured Image Credit: marcofedermann, Pixabay

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