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Can Cats Eat Moths – The Interesting Answer!

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Felines have an innate hunting instinct, and that’s possibly why you see your fur baby run after all manners of insects. However, cat parents worry if their pets eat their bug kills, like butterflies or moths. So, can cats eat moths?

Cats can safely eat most types of moths without experiencing any adverse reactions. However, eating the Garden Tiger Moth may cause some issues as it’s poisonous. 

If you’re looking for ways to stop your furry pal from eating moths or want to know why cats like going after bugs in the first place – we’ve got you covered. Stick with us as we explain all things related to a feline’s love for moths. 

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What Are Moths And Why Do Cats Like Them So Much

Moths and butterflies belong to the Lepidoptera order of the animal kingdom. They are nocturnal flying insects with tiny scales covering their wings, and that’s where all those beautiful colors and patterns on their bodies come from. Out of the 160,000 species of moths worldwide, over 11,000 are found in North America. 

Now let’s focus on why cats like these insects so much. The truth is, when your feline is chasing after a moth, it’s just following its hunting instinct. Years ago, when cats weren’t domesticated, they relied on their superior hunting skills to survive. 

And, now, even though your pet gets three square meals a day – it’s still wired by nature to be a predator. So, when your feline sees an insect scurrying around on the ground or flapping its wings in the air – its hunting instincts kick in big time. 

Do Cats Like Eating Moths

It can be a little worrying to see your cat kill and eat an insect. First off, there’s the natural ‘EWW’ reaction to deal with. Then there’s the worry that eating bugs can somehow harm your pet. But, if you think that your cat is going after moths because it’s some type of kitty delicacy, think again. 

Cats don’t eat moths because they’re fond of the way they taste or because they’re trying to cover their daily protein intake. Instead, felines will sometimes kill and eat insects, like moths, because it’s part of the natural process of hunting. 

Just like your cat can’t keep itself from hunting bugs, the inevitable conclusion of hunting mode is eating the prey, and if the mark happens to be an icky moth, then so be it. 

Is It Safe For Cats To Eat Moths

One of the biggest worries of a pet parent is their fur baby mistakenly ingesting something that can cause harm. If you’re concerned about your feline eating moths for the same reason, don’t get anxious. 

On the whole, it’s safe for cats to eat moths because they’re not toxic for your pet. However, the Garden Tiger Moth is poisonous, and your feline can experience a tummy upset upon ingesting it. 

Side effects of eating a Tiger Moth can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, drooling, etc. While eating the Garden Tiger Moth may not be life-threatening for your pet, it’s best to have your pet checked out by the vet if you suspect it has eaten one. 

Another source of concern about your cat eating moths is that they can contain traces of insecticide. And, your feline can be affected by the chemicals present in the pesticide upon ingestion. That’s why it’s best to curtail your cat from eating moths as much as you can. 

How To Stop Your Cat From Eating Moths

Believe it or not, moths play a pretty important role in maintaining our ecosystem. They help pollinate flowers and help in seed production, which helps in the growth of wild plants, food crops, and other vegetation. 

So, we wouldn’t recommend declaring an all-out war on the species to protect your feline. 

There’s not much cat parents can do to keep their fur babies from chasing insects or eating them. But, you can capture the moth with a butterfly net if you’re quick enough and release it outside your home. 

If your cat has outdoor access, keeping it away from moths will be challenging. But, since moths are most active during warm months, and most are nocturnal, keeping your cat indoors at night during the summers can help too. 

Another idea is to spray some deterrents around areas you know moths will frequent. Something like a vinegar scent that your cat wouldn’t like works best. This way, your cat will avoid the area entirely, even if a moth is clearly there waiting to be eaten.

Are Mothballs Safe To Use Around Felines

Many people rely on mothballs to keep the winged creatures away from their houses. However, pet parents with felines should refrain from relying on mothballs because these are incredibly toxic for cats. 

Mothballs typically include para-dichlorobenzene or naphthalene – which are toxic to humans and cats. That means it’s not advisable to use them at all, but they can be highly dangerous around kids and felines. 

Your fur baby can suffer nausea, respiratory irritation, or vomiting just by sniffing mothballs. And ingestion can lead to severe poisoning. Instead, try creating your very own natural DIY moth repellent by mixing thyme, cloves, lavender, bay leaves, and dried rosemary in a cloth bag and storing it in your closets. 

If your cat eats mothballs it may experience the following side effects:

Gastrointestinal issues – This condition is no fun for cats because it all impacts the stomach and bowel movements they have. Mothballs can cause them to experience things like nausea and vomiting. In addition to that those can be coupled with diarrhea, bloating, and severe abdominal pain.

Your cat will certainly be meowing in pain if this is the case. Loss of appetite is also a major concern in which you’ll see your cat start to lose weight and nutrients due to not eating.

Dehydration – This is another major issue faced with mothball toxicity in cats. They’ll frequent the water bowl, but if not enough is around your cat may start to experience diarrhea and vomiting.

Anemia– Anemic symptoms are some of the more fearful ones a cat can experience if they get a hold of a mothball. This includes things like bleeding, laziness, or a faster heart rate. Fever and heavy breathing can also accompany those conditions.

Neurologic issues – Things like dizziness, stumbling, and clumsiness are what you’ll see here.

Kidney damage – Due to increased dehydration, your cat’s kidneys may suffer from mothball consumption. This can lead to decreased drinking and more instances of frequent urination. Your cats may also experience halitosis.

Liver damage -, In this instance, you’re likely to see substantial discoloration of the stool and urine.

So, bottom line, using mothballs to get rid of moths is a bad idea if you do not monitor your cat. There are much better ways to stop them from interacting.

Things To Consider

We’ve discussed cats eating moths and related issues in detail. But, what about other types of insects that felines love chasing? If you’re concerned about your kitty cat’s overall bug-chasing habit, here are some varieties of insects you should keep your cat away from.

Hard-bodied Insects

Generally, insects with tough exoskeletons like crickets, beetles, and roaches are non-toxic to cats but can cause irritation (mouth and throat) and stomach upsets. 

Plus, cockroaches can carry parasites that can enter your pet’s system upon ingestion. That’s why cat owners need to keep track of their feline’s deworming medication.

Flying Insects

Flying insects like bees, wasps, etc., pose a stinging risk. Some cats, like humans, can experience an allergic reaction and anaphylaxis after being stung by a bee or wasp. 

If you suspect your cat has been stung, it’s best to have your kitty checked out by the vet for proper treatment asap before it can experience any strong reactions.