Can Cats Get Sick from Eating Bugs? A Closer Look at the Dangers

Yes, cats can get sick from eating bugs, as some bugs may carry parasites or toxins that can harm cats. Introducing bugs into a cat’s diet may seem harmless, but it can have adverse effects on their health.

Cats are natural hunters, and their instinct to catch and eat bugs is hardwired. However, not all bugs are safe for them to consume. Some insects, such as bees and wasps, can sting cats, leading to pain and possible allergic reactions.

Additionally, certain bugs may carry parasites or toxins that can cause gastrointestinal issues, including vomiting, diarrhea, or even more severe complications. It is important for cat owners to discourage their pets from eating bugs and ensure they have a safe and healthy diet.

The Prevalence Of Bug Consumption By Cats

Cats are natural predators and are known to engage in bug consumption. It is a common behavior observed in many cats. Studies have shown that over 85% of cats have been found to eat bugs at some point in their lives. Bugs are an enticing food source for cats due to their movement, small size, and availability.

Type of Bugs Percentage of Cats Consuming
Flies 68%
Spiders 55%
Moths 42%
Beetles 37%

Common bugs cats encounter in and around the home:

  • House flies
  • Mosquitoes
  • Cockroaches
  • Spiders
  • Ants

Bug consumption by cats is generally harmless. In fact, it can be seen as a natural behavior that helps them fulfill their hunting instincts. However, it is important for cat owners to be vigilant and ensure that the bugs their cats consume are not toxic or harmful. In case of any doubt, consulting a veterinarian is recommended.

Potential Health Risks From Eating Bugs

There are several potential health risks associated with cats eating bugs, including toxic reactions, allergic responses, and the transmission of parasites and diseases. Some bugs are toxic to cats and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, or even organ damage if ingested.

Cats may also experience allergic reactions from bug consumption, leading to symptoms such as itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. Additionally, bugs can serve as carriers of various parasites, including fleas, ticks, or worms, which can infest and harm cats.

Certain bugs may also transmit diseases to cats, such as Bartonella or Toxoplasma. These diseases can cause a range of symptoms, including fever, lethargy, or organ dysfunction. It is important to monitor your cat’s behavior and keep them away from bugs to minimize potential health risks.

Symptoms And Treatment For Illnesses Caused By Bug Ingestion

Heading: Symptoms and Treatment for Illnesses Caused by Bug Ingestion
  • If your cat shows signs of vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy after consuming a bug, it may indicate an illness caused by bug ingestion.
  • Other possible symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, swelling, or skin irritation.
  • These symptoms can vary depending on the type of bug ingested, such as an allergic reaction to a bee sting or potential toxicity from a poisonous insect.

Veterinary care and treatment options for bug-related illnesses:

  • If you suspect your cat is sick from eating bugs, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • A qualified veterinary professional will be able to identify the specific bug-related illness and recommend appropriate care.
  • Treatment options may include medication to alleviate symptoms, fluid therapy to prevent dehydration, or in severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
  • Prevention is key, so it’s essential to keep your cat away from potentially harmful bugs and maintain a clean environment.

Preventing Bug-related Sickness In Cats

  • Sealing cracks and holes: Inspect your home for any cracks or openings that bugs may use to enter. Seal them to prevent bugs from getting inside.
  • Proper storage of food: Keep all food, including pet food, in tightly sealed containers to deter bugs from being attracted to it. Regularly clean up any spills or crumbs.
  • Regular cleaning: Vacuum and clean your home regularly to eliminate any potential bug hiding spots. Pay special attention to areas where bugs are commonly found, such as corners and under furniture.
  • Supervision: When your cat is outside, keep a close eye on them to prevent them from ingesting bugs.
  • Use of bug repellents: Consider using cat-safe bug repellents to help keep bugs away from your cat.
  • Regular grooming: Regularly groom your cat to check for any signs of bug infestation and promptly address any issues.
  • Vaccinations: Ensure that your cat is up to date on all necessary vaccinations to protect against bug-related illnesses.
  • Parasite prevention: Use flea and tick prevention methods recommended by your veterinarian to protect your cat from these common bugs.
  • Annual check-ups: Take your cat for regular veterinary check-ups to catch any potential health issues, including bug-related sickness, early on.


Cats can indeed get sick from eating bugs due to potential toxins or parasites they may carry. It is important for cat owners to monitor their pets’ behavior and discourage them from consuming insects. Regular veterinary check-ups and preventive measures such as deworming can help safeguard cats from health issues related to bug ingestion.

By being aware of this potential risk, cat owners can take proactive steps to ensure their pets’ well-being.

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Dr Harunur Rashid (Harun) is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine who has five years of experience in large pet animal medicine. He worked as a livestock officer for two years in an NGO, and since then he has been practicing pet animals medicine privately. He holds an MS in Pharmacology from Bangladesh Agricultural University and a DVM from the same institution.