Is It OK For My Cat To Eat Bugs?

While watching my cat swallow a particularly large fly this weekend, I started to wonder… is this impromptu snacking really healthy for her?

I’m sure many cat parents have watched with both admiration and horror as their cats gobble up a bug that wandered into the house. Cats are natural born predators, so their instinct to stalk and snack upon these little creatures isn’t that surprising, but is it something we should try to prevent?

Keep reading to discover the truth about bugs as kitty treats, plus some words of advice about the few bugs cats should probably avoid.

Eating Bugs Is Completely Natural For Cats

27265274383_111f1b6ba0_h

Image credit: Anne Worner via Flickr

As predators, cats are trained to be VERY interested in small things crawling, wiggling or buzzing about the house. In most cases, the bugs who wander into your house aren’t poisonous to people or cats.There is a lot of evidence that insects supplement the diet of feral cats.

Every Bug In Moderation

In moderation, household spiders, flies, roaches, crickets, ants and other common bugs won’t harm your kitty.Eating them is not only fun for your cats it’s also a decent source of nutrition. Insects contain a high volume of moisture and protein, two things cats need a lot of, in comparison to many dry foods.

Are There Bugs Your Cat Shouldn’t Eat?

While less common, some bugs and spiders can be toxic to cats. If possible, pay attention to what your cat is stalking and try to identify it before the feast begins. If you’re unfamiliar with the bug, it’s important to pay attention to your cat’s reaction after eating it.

“If your cat has trouble breathing, has a lot of saliva near its mouth or nose, or acts strange or unhealthy in any way, it is important that you contact a vet right away. Give any information about what kind of bug it is and at what time the cat ate the bug to your vet,” explains Cats Around The Globe.

Even bugs that aren’t poisonous can still cause a dangerous reaction.

“Bugs with exoskeletons, like beetles, are rough on his digestive tract; he may wind up vomiting the pieces rather than passing them out the other end,” explains The Nest. “Additionally, if he doesn’t chew thoroughly, a chunk of a pest can get stuck in his throat, causing him to cough or choke.”

Does your cat hunt bugs? Has it ever caused a health problem? Tell us about it in the comments.

Photo Credit: Stuart Richards

85 comments

John B
John B6 months ago

Thanks Beth for sharing the info and links.

SEND
Sarah Hill
Sarah Hillabout a year ago

I love the kitties!

SEND
william Miller
william Millerabout a year ago

thanks

SEND
Marie W.
Marie Wabout a year ago

Moderation.

SEND
Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Jane R.
Jane Rabout a year ago

Most bugs won't harm a cat. Just don't let them eat any after you have your house exterminated.

SEND
Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

SEND
Melania Padilla
Melania Pabout a year ago

Yes, it is normal I believe... But thank you for posting for the worried owners

SEND
Anne P.
Anne Pabout a year ago

Thanks for this timely article! My cat has been chasing and eating spiders in the house all summer. Now I won't worry so much.

SEND
Milli SiteProbs M.
MilliSiteProbs Mabout a year ago

I take my cat out daily on a leash/harness, she will go after flying things like regular flies, which she will eat, dragonflies, butterflies, etc, she just tries to catch, I have seen her attempt to munch on a smaller dragonfly, but the wings are a deterrent. She plays with crawling insects but does not attempt to eat them and they usually make their escape unharmed.

SEND