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What Insects & Bugs Are Poisonous To Cats?

If you have a feline friend living in your home, you probably know that they are tiny hunters. While our cats are domesticated and used to living at our side, they still remember their wild roots when greeted by a crawling critter. Though our cats may enjoy playing with bugs and hunting for critters within our home, is it a safe activity for them? What bugs are poisonous to cats?

In this article, we’ll discuss which bugs and insects are poisonous to cats, and help you understand why cats love to play with bugs in the first place. 

What Types of Insects & Bugs Are Poisonous to Cats?

cat sniffing a bee | what bugs are poisonous to cats

Overall, most household bugs are safe for our cats to consume. Since most of the bugs within our home are hard-shelled insects and fairly small, they don’t often pose a major risk to our feline friends.

However, there are some insects that can cause serious harm to our cats. So what bugs are toxic to cats? Some of these toxic critters include:

  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Poisonous spiders
  • Scorpions
  • Large centipedes
  • Fire ants
  • Cockroaches

While some of the above insects aren’t always toxic to us, most of them contain painful stings that can cause our cats great discomfort. Aside from the risk of being stung by any of the above critters, some insects like cockroaches can carry dangerous bacteria that can lead to gastrointestinal upset.

In order to keep your feline friend safe, it’s best to keep these insects away from your cat when possible. To help you understand the risks that these bugs possess, we’ll discuss some of them in detail below. 

Why Do Cats Play with Bugs?

So why do cats like to play with bugs?

To put it simply, this activity is tied to their ancestral roots. No matter how domesticated our cats are, they are still connected to their wild cat ancestors. With being related to wild cats, our feline companions are natural-born hunters. Indoor cats don’t often get the chance to hunt for their food, so a crawling critter triggers that natural instinct to hunt for their prey.  

Not only do cats get a rush when chasing a bug around the house, but these bugs also serve as a moving target. Chasing a bug is mentally stimulating for our cats, and offers a fun game for our cats to engage in. Playing with bugs is simply fun for our feline companions. 

Do Cats Like to Eat Bugs?

We hate to break it to you, but yes, cats often eat bugs. The action of hunting their prey is often completed by consuming their prey, so eating the bug is just a part of the process. Though eating bugs may seem gross to us, it’s actually an enjoyable activity for our feline companions. While our cats may love the rush of hunting crawling critters within their home, is it a safe pastime? Are bugs and insects poisonous to cats? 

Is It Safe for Cats to Eat Bugs?

In most situations, it’s best to refrain from allowing your cat to eat the bugs within your home.

While most small bugs in the home pose no risk to our feline companions, it can be challenging to know when our cats actually encounter a dangerous critter.

Because of this, we recommend removing any crawling critters from your cat’s presence. Instead, distract them with an interactive toy that offers the same stimulation as chasing a bug. 

Symptoms of Allergic Reactions To Bugs

Since some insects can leave behind signature substances, our cats can experience allergic reactions to some bug bites. Allergic reactions can be dangerous for our feline companions, and can even lead to severe anaphylaxis in some cases. Some common symptoms of allergic reactions in cats include:

If you see any of the above symptoms in your cat, it’s important to contact your veterinarian immediately. Allergic reactions can progress quickly in cats, so it’s essential to offer them treatment as soon as you can. 

FAQs – What Insects Are Poisonous to Cats?

ladybug on cat paw

Can cats eat cockroaches?

Though we don’t often think of cockroaches being dangerous, they can actually carry bacteria and parasites that can cause our cats harm. Cockroaches are known to cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats, so it’s best to try and keep these crawling creatures away from your cat when possible. 

Can cats eat spiders?

If you ever see your feline friend playing with a spider in your home, it’s best to step in and remove the spider from their presence. While not all spiders are poisonous, some spiders can pack a dangerous punch and cause our cats great harm. Not only are some spiders poisonous, but many can leave a painful bite on our cat’s paw or within their mouth. It’s always best to remove any spiders from your home when found. 

Can cats eat a fly?

Flies are usually safe for our cats to eat. While it may be more challenging for your cat to get their paws on a fly, they are generally harmless when eaten. If your cat has their eye on a fly within your home, it’s safe to let them finish the task and hunt to their heart’s content.

Can cats eat a scorpion? 

Scorpions can pose a huge threat to our feline friends.

Not only are some scorpions extremely poisonous, but they can leave a painful sting that causes the surrounding skin to bruise and die. Not only will the sting location be incredibly painful, but some cats can experience severe anaphylactic reactions to the scorpion venom.

If you ever see a scorpion inside of your home, it’s best to remove the critter and contact an exterminator. When there is one scorpion, there is often another. 

Can cats eat a bee or wasp?

Bees and wasps can be an intriguing target for our cats. Though they may be fun to chase, bees and wasps can cause serious harm to our cats when they are caught. Not only can these flying creatures sting, but they can also lead to severe allergic reactions.

Cats that attempt to eat flying critters that sting are often left with painful stings within their mouth, which can lead to other complications as well. It’s best to distract your cat if you ever notice them stalking a flying insect. 

Can cats eat a lightning bug?

Though lightning bugs seem like a harmless insect, they actually pose a huge risk to our cats. Fireflies contain lucibufagins within their body, which is the substance that causes them to light up. This toxin is known to cause serious gastrointestinal upset in our furry friends and has even been known to cause death in small animals. 

Can cats eat ants?

Though some indoor ants are completely harmless to cats, other ants can be extremely dangerous. Poisonous ants, such as fire ants, can leave a painful bite that often leads to an allergic reaction.

A fire ant bite can cause pain, swelling redness, itching, and more. If you ever see your cat playing with ants in your home, it’s best to remove them from the situation and try to rid your home of the crawling critters. 

Can cats eat caterpillars?

While most caterpillars are harmless to cats, there are some caterpillars that can be poisonous to cats. Some large exotic caterpillars are known to sting predators when they are being attacked, meaning your cat could receive a painful sting during their hunt. While most caterpillars are safe, it’s best to research the caterpillars that spend time in your yard just in case. 

Things To Remember When Cats Play With Bugs

Now that we’ve discussed the dangerous insects that you may find around your home, it’s time to review a few important facts that we covered. Some tips to remember when it comes to keeping your cat safe include:

  • Research any critters that frequent your home or your yard for potential danger
  • Always try to keep your cat away from spiders, as most will leave behind a painful bite
  • If you think an insect can sting your cat, do not allow your cat to play with them
  • When your cat has recently consumed a bug, keep a close eye on them, or contact your vet to be safe
  • If your cat is showing any symptoms of allergic reaction or GI upset, contact your vet immediately

Though tiny insects may seem harmless to us, some can pose a great risk to our beloved cats. Be sure to review the information we discussed above poisonous bugs for cats, and you can protect your cat from crawling critters in the future!

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Saturday 28th of November 2020

Thanks for sharing...valuable info. My cats have never been too bad about insects but sometimes they are intrigued by them (especially the ones that fly around) and I fear they might eat one that could be harmful to them.


Friday 13th of November 2020

This is good stuff to know. My kitty definitely loves to chase bugs. One other thing to keep in mind is that some bugs like flies, can transmit parasites. No good!