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Can Cats Eat Ants – What You Should Know

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In the summer months, you see ants all over. And inevitably, your cat spots the ants, too, whether they’re outside or walking along your counter inside. Your cat might be enthralled by these tiny insects marching around and may even eat a few! While you don’t think such a small insect could be harmful to your cat, you must ask yourself: can cats eat ants?

Cats can eat ants, however, they would avoid eating fire ants. Eating ants can soften a cat’s coat over time and cause digestive issues due to the chemicals they carry. Your cat might get a “high” feeling while eating ants due to Oleic acid. 

Ants might not be high on your list of favorite snacks, but for cats, ants are not only a snack but also great fun to watch. As gross as it is, it’s normal for cats to eat ants, so you don’t have to worry that your cat has a strange new habit. Keep on learning to learn why your cat eats ants!

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Is It Normal For Cats To Eat Ants

Yes, it is normal for cats to eat ants. Ants are everywhere, and will likely gain your cat’s interest due to their quick movements. A hungry and unsupervised cat is more likely to consume ants regularly.

Although most humans seem to think ants are a delicacy, it’s pretty normal for cats to eat ants. It might even look like your cat is making a game out of eating ants. Ants aren’t as fun to chase as birds, but they’ll do in a pinch.

Ants are mostly harmless to cats, so it’s a fine habit for your cats to have. If they eat an excessive amount, they may end up with digestive issues though. Most cats only eat an ant here and there, and not in large amounts so there is little to worry of here. 

You might even be happy that your cat eats ants, especially if you have ants inside your home! Your cat is like an exterminator. 

What Happens If My Cat Eats Ants

Nothing will happen to your cat if he eats ants, however, cats can occasionally have digestive issues or gas if they eat too many ants. 

Usually, it’s a big deal if a human child eats ants, but if your cat is the one doing the ant eating, there’s nothing to worry about. Ants will not give your cat any side effects; not even a stomach ache when he’s done munching. 

Are Ants Toxic To Cats

Ants are not toxic to cats.

Your cat may have fun playing with ants outside, but you don’t have to worry about your cat eating ants. There is nothing in ants that are toxic or poisonous to your cat. It would be best if you stop your cat from eating those small, red fire ants that you sometimes see outside. Those can burn your cat’s mouth.

Large black ants should be more of a concern, but that’s not because they’re toxic. Black ants can bite cats. You may have been bitten by one as a child! If your cat manages to eat a black ant, they won’t be poisoned, but they may have a pinched tongue if they’re not fast enough! 

Why Does My Cat Like To Eat Ants

Cats like ants because they stimulate their interest. As strange as it sounds, your cat likes to eat ants because they give your cat a happy feeling. 

We’ll talk about the specifics of why ants make your cat happy in a minute, but you would probably eat ants if you knew that the ants would make you happy. Some people even think that it gives your cat a “high” feeling, so let’s talk a little more about where people got that idea from in the first place. 

Do Ants Make Cats High

Cats may act high when they’re around ants, but it’s not because they’re actually “high” in the way you might think.

You may have seen a cat rubbing on ants, especially when they’re crushed.  The effect ants have on your cat might seem like it. 

Ants contain a substance called oleic acid, which cats can smell strongly when they’re crushed. Oleic acid is like the pheromone that cats emit when they rub their cheeks and chins against things. This may be why your cat seems to act like they’re “high” around ants and even try to crush even more of them. 

Can Cats Get Worms From Eating Ants

There is a small chance that your cat will get worms from eating ants, but ants are not the most common insect that you need to worry about.

Cats most often get worms from eating flies or coming into contact with fleas carrying the eggs that cause worms. Compared to flies and fleas, ants pose a much smaller risk to your cat. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry too much about your cat getting worms from ants. 

If you are worried about the potential for your cat getting worms, make sure to keep your cat from eating all insects, not just ants. Fleas, however, can pass the eggs to cats when your cat is grooming, so it is sometimes not as easy as stopping your cat from eating a bug. 

5 Risks Of Cats Eating Ants

Like with anything that isn’t cat food, there are risks when your cat eats ants. 

Cats Can Be Bitten By Ants

As I mentioned, larger carpenter ants can bite, and it’s one of the worst ant bites your cat can endure if they run into a lot of them. 

Cats Get Used To Eating Bugs Outside

Your cat may get used to eating bugs, like ants, outside and start to eat everything he sees. Not all bugs and insects are safe for your cat to eat, so you don’t want your cat to start a bad habit. 

The Ants Might Have Been Poisoned

Many people put out poison to stop ants, so if your cat is eating ants, especially inside, the ants may have walked through or ate ant poison, which could be potentially harmful to your cat.

The Ants Might Be Fire Ants

Your cat won’t know the difference between “safe” ants and fire ants. If your cat is looking for small, fast-moving bugs outside, there is a chance your cat will eat fire ants instead. Fire ants present more problems because of their bite. 

Your Cat May Want to Go Outside to Eat Ants

Your cat might want to be let outside because your cat likes to eat ants. Your cat will remember the ants are outside and may be asked to be put out more often. 

Things to Consider

Of all the things that your cat can eat outside, ants aren’t the thing that you should be the most concerned about. 

If your cat goes outside often, do not allow your cat to eat these bugs and insects:

  • Poisonous spiders. If you’re not sure what spiders are poisonous, then avoid all spiders.
  • Bees and wasps, or any other insects that have a stinger. Stingers can hurt your cat, even if your cat doesn’t get stung.
  • Scorpions, but that’s only if you live in a climate where scorpions are common. 

This list might make you worried that most other things your cat finds outside may be poisonous or harmful, but that isn’t the case. You probably don’t want your cat sampling the wildlife outside, but if your cat is a bug-eater, these bugs are safe for your cat to eat:

  • Moths and butterflies. There’s nothing harmful about these creatures. Caterpillars are safe also. 
  • Centipedes, or as many people call them, thousand leggers or creepy crawlers. 
  • Grasshoppers and crickets. These bugs have a hard shell, but there’s nothing that will harm your cat. 

A cat that goes outside may have more chances to eat harmful bugs and insects, not just ants. Whether your cat goes outside once in a while or all the time, it’s important to keep an eye on your cat so that he doesn’t eat anything harmful.