Do Cats Eat Bugs Or Just Kill Them?


Cats are fun and engaging pets. They have a very playful temperament. Thus, you might enjoy watching them play or bask in the sun. I’m sure the way they roll in a ball of yarn while trying to untangle themselves makes you burst into giggles.

However, you may not always understand your cat’s games. One of these may be their behavior with bugs and insects. Sometimes they seem to enjoy eating them while at other times, they just leave them dead. 

Do Cats Eat Bugs Or Just Kill Them?

Actually, both. Generally, Cats like to attack things that can move. Thus cats like to chase most of the insects to have fun. Yes, cats do eat some bugs and insects as per their nature. And the bugs have some proteins and other nutrients that help cats’ health. 

Why Do Cats Chase Bugs?

Do you wonder why your cat chases bugs if not to eat them? You feed your cat the best food. Yet, they seem to still chase and sometimes eat them. Here are a few reasons why:

Natural behavior:

Cats have an innate nature to chase bugs and insects not only to fill their stomach but also to play with them.

Attraction towards Colors:

Cat Learns to Dance
Cat Learns to Dance

Cats always get attracted to bugs that are brightly colored. For example, ladybugs are most commonly attacked by cats due to their colorful nature. Cats have always had a desire to chase ladybugs.

For Cats health:

Many insects are rich in proteins and nutrients. The nutrients present in the bugs and insects are beneficial for the cat’s health. As they chase and eat them, they get healthier.

Fun chasing and playful nature:

 As cats have a playful nature they enjoy playing with insects and bugs. This converts their playmates into a portion of tasty food.

Should I let my cat eat bugs?

Flying insects are very much tempting for cats. However, their stings could be more painful and cause injury to the cats. 

Most bugs are not that harmful. Thus allowing cats to eat some non-poisonous bugs is better. There are some poisonous insects like spiders, bees, wasps, fire ants, and toxic caterpillars. 

You have to take care of them without consuming this kind of poisonous insect. Some insects like bees, wasps, and fire ants bite cause painful injury to the cats.

Therefore it may cause allergies and lower their breath that needs urgent attention. Finally, you should use pet-friendly insect repellent sprays in your home.

Dangers of consuming caterpillars:

Not all caterpillars cause injury to the cats, but some of them will bite and cause severe pain to your cat. The stings in the caterpillars are not so dangerous. But some of them would be toxic.

Example: Garden Tiger Moth, is poisonous and has toxic effects on cats. Fleas are another pest that commonly affects your cat’s health. Their bites could cause inflammation, itchiness, and skin rashes.

Do cats like killing bugs?

Yes! Cats often kill and eat bugs and insects for several reasons like food, a playmate, or protection for the home. They love to chase and catch them because they are natural hunters.

They can hunt them easily by hearing the slight sound that shows the presence of bugs or insects. Cats have a natural force to hunt the insects or bugs that move. It may be a fun activity for them. 

Do centipedes attack my cats?

Generally, small house centipedes are not harmful to your cats. But the larger ones can bite your cats easily and cause some reactions like fever, skin allergies, and weakness in the body.

Examples of highly toxic centipedes:

Giant Redheaded Centipede and Texas Redheaded Centipede could be very toxic and even cause death.

Is it okay to let my cat eat flies?

In general, a cat’s stomach can digest different foods including flies! Some cats that have a more sensitive nature have allergies to flies. Therefore eating flies causes minor health issues for some cats. Eating flies is not too harmful, even though it is not recommended to eat them regularly.

It may be a fun moment for the cats to chase and catch them. But it might be harmful for some time. Flies may be harmful to cats when they are polluted with harmful pesticides.

Moreover, when a fly lives in a polluted area, it carries bacteria and other infectious organisms on its legs that may transmit infections to the cats when they eat them. If cats have fly bites on their ears you have to take care and should apply a fly repellent cream to them.

If your cats consume flies occasionally you don’t need to worry about it because it is a kind of exercise to improve their eyesight as well as mind coordination. Finally, if the cats eat the flies regularly it causes some health issues. So make sure that your cats should not eat the flies regularly.

Is it okay for my cat to eat spiders?

Cats have the nature to eat spiders more often. Most spiders are not harmful to cats like small house spiders. However, if any spider causes harm to the human being then it will also harm your cats. The venom from the poisonous spider would more easily enter into the cat’s body than a human body. Some spiders cause serious health-related problems they are:

Example: Black widow spider, if it bites a cat then it causes more pain, vomiting diarrhea and also occurs to death. Brown recluse spidersthe bite causes the skin of the cats to die off and could destroy the red blood cells of them and may cause death. 

If you feel that your cats get bitten by a poisonous spider then get to the veterinarian right away. However, you should take care of your cat’s activities for a day in case you can see any symptoms of illness.

Nutritional values of insects and bugs for your cats:

Some bugs and insects have some nutritional values that are helpful for your cat’s health. They have some fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals essential for your cats. Your cat would get some nutrients while consuming the non-poisonous bugs and insects in a moderate amount. 

These proteins and minerals present in the bugs and insects are a good alternative to the readymade pet foods that are available in the market.

Are mothballs toxic to cats?

If you are using mothballs to protect your clothes from moths, try to use any other harmless pesticides.

This is because mothballs are very poisonous for your cats. Furthermore, these mothballs are a solid highly concentrated pesticide that causes health issues like vomiting, weakness, stomach pain, and breathing trouble.

Some Safety measures to protect your cats from insects:

  1. You have to check thoroughly after walks or playtime of your cat from outside. Brush them to remove any insects or bugs present in their hairs.
  2. Regular baths and cleaning are the most important things that can kill insects.
  3. Check them if they have any bite marks, reddishness, or itchy skin that cause allergies.
  4. You should wash your pet’s bed, toys, and food bowls regularly. Keep your cat’s sleeping and playing areas clean.
  5. Keep your home always clean and maintain a good environment. This prevents flies and insects from entering your house.
  6. If you feel that your home is full of flies and ticks, use good pest control sprays.

Conclusion:

Cats are the cutest and smartest pet animals. They also love chasing birds and bugs. This behavior makes your cat’s life happier and gives them the freedom to express their feelings of its predatory nature. Moreover, this behavior helps their psychological and mental wellbeing. And these bugs and insects are a good source of nutrients that acts as a portion of healthier food for your cat. 

Your pet could be allowed to consume the bugs and insects in moderation for their nutritional requirements. Finally, You should take care of your cat ensuring that it is not eating harmful poisonous bugs or insects.

The article is reviewed by our editorial team based on our editorial policy and approved for the publication. 

Amelia Kteylor

Amelia Kteylor, DVM, attended the University of Georgia. She is a cat expert with 20 years of experiences in field. She has a passion as a writer and editor for pet publishing industry too. Amelia contributes to numerous pet magazines in the areas of pet health and groom. Further, she volunteered in cat rescue centers in her leisure time.

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