Last updated on December 12th, 2021
Cats have the habit of killing and playing with little creepers crawling on the floor mainly for sport rather than for survival. The little hunter in your home probably got its hunting instincts from its wild ancestors, such as tigers, lions, leopards, pumas, jaguars, cheetahs, and others.
Your feline companion may show such hunting behaviors from time to time, no matter how domesticated or trained it may be.
You may have already seen your little hunter catch, play, and even swallow whole insects for sport.
You may have already warned your kitty not to play with bugs or, worse, eat them! However, if you’re a newbie and not sure whether insects are bad for your feline pets, it’s high time to know about it.
Since cats are natural hunters and are born with a powerful sense of vision, hearing, and smelling ability, they’re bound to kill and feed on insects at some point in time.
They simply love to hunt weaker animals, including insects, rodents, and other animal species.
Aside from that, cats are curious about the things they see in their environment and often encounter dangerous creatures and insects.
But it’s essential to know whether cats feeding on insects is a healthy habit and why you should be concerned! So, before your beloved kitty starts showing side effects from eating harmful bugs and insects.
Here is the list of insects that are toxic to cats.
1. Bumblebees, Hornets, and Wasps
There are a few flying insects that have a sharp organ on their body called the stinger which is capable of injecting venom into your pet cat.
Since the largest organ of a cat’s body is the skin, it’s easy for these buzzing insects to penetrate the epidermis of your cat while releasing venom.
Not all stings from these flying insects are venomous. But sadly, the stings from bees, wasps, etc., can be extremely painful, and cats may easily have allergic reactions to such stings.
In an attempt to gain relief, it’s a natural tendency for cats to lick the stung area which can only irritate the infected spot further because cats have a rough tongue.
If the stinging insect is a bee, your vet may prescribe an antihistamine like diphenhydramine.
Although it’s a common remedy that pet owners need to apply when their cats are stung by bees, they must still consult a veterinarian before the application.
2. Large Centipedes
The small ones we see in our homes are usually harmless towards our four-legged friends.
However, a single adult centipede bite is enough for them to capture prey since these multi-legged crawlers can inflict painful bites while releasing venom.
Centipede bites may cause weakness and fever in cats.
One good news is that the extremely toxic and even deadly centipedes like the Amazonian Giant Centipede and the Darwin’s Goliath Centipede hardly ever get into one’s home.
If your cat is stung by a creepy centipede, closely monitor the infected area.
If the wound is severe or if your cat shows certain signs of illness, consult a vet immediately.
3. Poisonous Spiders
Although most house spiders are harmless to cats, there are many others like the yellow sac and black widow spiders with a poisonous bite that can cause severe illness in these feline creatures.
In fact, one bite from a poisonous spider can do more harm to these feline creatures than humans since our furry pets are much smaller and more susceptible to poison and venom.
The Hobo and Black Widow Spider mostly inhabit barns, fallen tree branches, and piles of wood whereas Brown Recluse Spiders can be found in attics, basements, and closets.
The above spiders are very dangerous to cats and are mostly found in or around human dwellings.
These spiders use their fangs to inject venom into your cat and you’ll notice that the infected area has tiny markings that indicate such.
Most spider bites aren’t fatal but cats with a weak immune system can suffer from muscle tremors, paralysis, and diarrhea.
4. Caterpillars, Moths, and Butterflies
Yes, these beautiful butterflies that we admire in our gardens are actually toxic to cats. Similarly, moths and caterpillars are harmful to cats.
Did you know that butterflies themselves aren’t usually toxic to other animals? However, the milkweed plants that are consumed by Monarch butterflies make them toxic for our feline friends.
But there’s good news. Although Monarchs are extremely beautiful and absolutely gorgeous, they’re very bitter in taste, and therefore, it’s unlikely that your pet will eat that.
However, if they do, visit the vet right away because it may be fatal for your cat if you leave any symptoms untreated.
Some caterpillars can sting without causing any pain. Although common caterpillars aren’t known for releasing such stings, some exotic and larger ones like the buck moth and saddleback caterpillars are highly poisonous.
The tiny hairs that are found on caterpillars can cause an allergic reaction in sphynx cats because they don’t have the fur to collect these tiny hairs and prevent them from reaching their skin.
On the other hand, moths such as the Smeared Dagger Moth and the Garden Tiger Moth are poisonous to cats.
If your cat eats one such moth, it can cause health problems like vomiting, weakness, lethargy, tremors, breathing difficulties, and seizures.
To keep moths away from your pet and your home, you can use powdered herbs and cedar.
We hardly know the dangerous effects of these common insects we so often see in our homes.
Yes, cockroaches are actually extremely toxic to cats as they carry harmful parasites and bacteria.
These insects can also cause serious health issues in cats if consumed, such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Therefore, take the necessary precautions to rid your home of these crawlers for your pets as well as your own safety.
6. Carpenter and Fire Ants
Ants, in general, are quite harmless towards cats, however, a house that’s infested with carpenter ants poses a serious health risk to both humans and pets.
A carpenter ant bite is strong enough to tear your skin while they also use a chemical defense mechanism to spray formic acid onto the punctured wound which increases the pain.
We advise you to contact your nearest pest control service to remove any unwanted pests.
However, the problem also lies with fire ants, which can be extremely dangerous for your kitty.
Some symptoms of carpenter and fire ant bites include serious allergic reactions and anaphylaxis.
A majority of cats will experience a few bites from a fire or carpenter ant in their lifetime, so it’s important to keep an eye on your pet for any puncture wound or to see if any health problems arise.
Never let your cat play with a scorpion, as it’s extremely likely to get stung hard.
A scorpion sting can be quite painful for your feline friend.
For example, in some critical situations, scorpion stings can cause breathing problems, vomiting, and other such peculiar behavior.
If you live in a scorpion-prevalent region, such as California, New Mexico, Arizona, or Texas, make sure to protect your feline pet. Even if your cat gets a sting, see a local veterinarian without delay.
8. Grasshoppers and Crickets
Grasshoppers do carry harmful parasites that are dangerous for cats such as horsehair worms.
Therefore, it’s better to use cat-safe insect repellents whenever you spot one of these insects in your home.
But if your feline friend ends up ingesting one of these insects, especially their endoskeleton regions, your pet may suffer from stomach upset and oral irritation.
Also, crickets aren’t toxic to cats but consumption of this insect can cause bowel obstruction since a cat’s stomach wasn’t designed to ingest this insect.
9. Flies, Mosquitoes, Fleas, and Ticks
Mosquitoes and flies, like other insects, act as the carrier of unimaginable bacteria and germs.
They can pass on numerous diseases to human beings and our domesticated furry friends.
Also, you can’t tell whether a mosquito or similar insects are carrying heartworms or any other additional diseases.
To prevent this spread, you can try using parasite control products and choose an item that’s pet-friendly.
If you still find some signs and symptoms like breathing issues, vomiting, paralysis in your pets, take them to your local veterinarian for a checkup.
Similarly, if your pet has spent a good amount of time outdoors, such as for playing or walking, ensure to check for any ticks, especially if they were around or in wooden areas.
If you ever notice any ticks present on your pet’s body, remove them immediately using tweezers.
Besides, ticks are carriers of Lyme disease, which gets transmitted to human beings after even a single bite of black-legged ticks.
Cats with Lyme disease may experience flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, fever, headache, rashes, allergies, and joint pain.
Fleas, on the other hand, are extremely annoying, and the main problem is their bite. Flea bites are quite itchy and irritating.
What’s worse, some pets can even experience allergic dermatitis if they’re allergic to fleas.
As a result, cats may start scratching the bitten area rigorously, resulting in bruises, bleeding, and other infections.
Fireflies, also known as lightning bugs, contain luciferin, which is the compound that helps these creatures glow.
If your pet accidentally ingests a firefly, it may cause severe health issues like stomach upset.
The good news is that cats won’t hunt down and feed on fireflies but would rather swat them as they pass by.
11. Bed Bugs
The same bed bugs that bite us are harmful to cats too. These annoying pests can be best removed by contacting a pest control service.
We always recommend pet owners train and educate their pets about what’s right or wrong, but if somehow your four-legged friend ingests a harmful insect, call your vet immediately.
So, if you notice symptoms like breathing difficulties, coughing, diarrhea, seizures, dilated pupils, tremors and shivering, skin issues, vomiting, and weakness, immediately visit a veterinarian.