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Can Cats Eat Moths, Or Could This Be Dangerous?

Can Cats Eat Moths, Or Could This Be Dangerous?

Despite the fact that your cat gets all the necessary nutrients from the cat food, it seems that she still feels the urge to chase and eat small prey in nature.

One kind of this prey might be the moths. These are a type of winged insect that are closely related to butterflies.

Your cat eating these insects might not sound life-threatening. But, are there any hidden dangers of this? Can cats eat moths, or should you discourage your furry friend from this?

Let’s delve into the issue.

Why Cats Shouldn’t Eat Moths?

cat sitting observing large moth

Eating a moth occasionally shouldn’t harm your cat’s health severely. 

However, there are some potential risks worth mentioning, that might make you consider some options on how to stop your cat from eating moths.

Let’s see what problems moths eating could bring to your cat.

1. Upset Stomach

Many cats have sensitive stomachs and can relatively easily develop digestive problems. If your cat  has eaten a couple of moths, this can cause an upset stomach in her.

The most common symptoms of this digestion problem is loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting.

This shouldn’t last long – around 24 hours on average. However, if you observe your cat still struggling with stomach problems even two days after the first symptoms appear, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian.

Diarrhea and vomiting can exhaust a cat greatly, and 2 days without any food is alarming for a cat’s well-being.

The veterinarian will probably suggest fluid replacement to hydrate your cat, and even some specialized diet for her tummy to get well.

2. An Allergic Reaction

Most moths present no risk for cats, according to Spruce Pets, which is a great relief since many felines love to chase these insects.

However, there is still a small possibility that a moth might cause an allergic reaction in your cat.

Allergic reactions are different for every cat, and, of course, depend on the allergy trigger. Some cats might show symptoms such as decreased appetite and fever after consuming a moth.

On the other hand, some could manifest hives, facial swelling, and excess itchiness. 

If you notice these symptoms, you should take your cat to a vet clinic as soon as possible. Cat allergies are treatable, of course, and your cat can have a normal life no matter what type of allergy she has.

However, it’s essential to act swiftly and have the vet confirm the allergic reaction in your cat.

3. Choking Hazard

This isn’t the most likely outcome, but it isn’t impossible to witness, either.

If your cat goes overboard with the number of moths she consumes, there’s a possibility that one could get stuck in her throat, leading to difficulties in dislodging it.

One of the symptoms here could be your cat sounding congested, but showing no discharge. This means that a foreign body is obstructing her airways. She might also cough loudly and gag.

PetMD suggests that foreign bodies should be removed immediately from a cat’s throat. This should be done by a veterinarian with a special tool that’s attached to an endoscope.

Why Do Cats Like To Eat Moths?

For the same reason why they kill and eat spiders or lizardsbecause they’re natural hunters that love to lurk after their prey!

Interestingly, your cat doesn’t even have to be hungry to engage in the pursuit and consumption of moths. It’s all about the thrill of the chase.

When they see their prey moving, felines usually get even more willing to chase after them. 

Take a look at the video below showing one cat determined to get a moth that’s flying around her house!

Moths aren’t exactly the best source of protein and fat for felines, so, this is more about your cat honing her predatory skills than actually enjoying a nutritious meal.

Should You Prevent Your Cat From Eating Moths?

cat lying on the floor and playing with a hunting toy

Since there are some potential risks of your cat eating moths, you should try to discourage her from doing so.

It’s important to recognize that you cannot eliminate your cat’s hunting instincts, as they are an inherent part of her nature, a legacy passed down from her wild ancestors.

Martina Cecchetti and her associates [1] emphasize how a cat’s ability to hunt is among the most important characteristics that have been maintained throughout the domestic cat’s evolution, and it supports their ability to survive in diverse ecosystems.

Therefore, although your domestic cat doesn’t really need to go and hunt for her food, she will still gladly do it. 

This means that, although it would be better for your cat not to eat insects such as moths, you should try to find a way for your cat to still keep her hunting instincts alive.

How To Satisfy Your Cat’s Hunting Instincts?

Catonsville Cat Clinic suggests hunting toys as a great option to satisfy your cat’s hunting instincts. This is especially practical for strictly indoor cats that have so much energy they need to direct to some activity.

There are many different options here, such as toy mice, string toys, or jingle balls to stimulate your cat’s hunting instincts. 

A laser pointer is another nice choice for your cat. By using this, you’ll provide your cat with a moving target that she’ll hunt for a decent amount of time, for sure! You should put the laser pointer in spaces harder for your cat to reach, to make things a bit more challenging for her.


Can cats eat moths?

These insects cannot be described as dangerous or life-threatening to our furry companions. It’s perfectly normal for a cat to chase after moths, since felines are especially attracted to moving and flying prey!

Still, there are some risks worth mentioning, especially if your cat likes to eat a couple of moths, very frequently.

This can lead to an upset stomach, an allergic reaction, or even throat obstruction in her. 

Since there are potential dangers, the best would probably be to find a way of discouraging your pet from eating these insects.

However, it’s also essential not to stop your cat from nurturing her hunting instincts, since this is an important part of her nature.

Luckily, there are hunting toys and laser points to still satisfy your cat’s hunting instincts without her actually ingesting moths.


[1] Cecchetti, M. et. al. Drivers and facilitators of hunting behaviour in domestic cats and options for management. Mammal Review. Volume51, Issue3, July 2021, Pages 307-322. DOI, Retrieved August 22, 2022.

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