Can Cats Eat Turtles – Protecting Your Pets


If you live near a pond or a body of water, you might have seen turtles in your yard. Chances are if you’ve seen a turtle, so has your cat. And if your cat has spotted the turtle, there’s an even better chance that your cat went after the turtle. You stopped your cat’s attack, but it made you wonder: can cats eat turtles? 

Cats can eat turtles. If the turtle is small, your cat may have an easier time eating it. Cats won’t eat the turtle’s shell, but cats can eat the turtle’s meat. 

Now, you’re probably grossed out about the prospect of your cat eating a turtle. After all, your cat kisses you with those lips! A turtle snack won’t hurt your cat in any way, but it will undoubtedly be a struggle for your cat to eat a turtle. Let’s talk a little more about your cat and turtles. 

Do Cats Eat Turtles?

Cats do eat turtles.

Your everyday domestic cat doesn’t base its diet on turtles they find around your yard, but your cat can eat turtles. Your cat will have to first break the turtle’s shell to eat the turtle meat. I know, I know. Probably not an image you want to have while reading this.

Eating turtles are more common for larger cats that are in the wild. Turtles are a larger part of wild cats’ diets. Your domestic cat – however sweet – has these same tendencies, which is why even Fuzzy will go running after a turtle they find in the backyard. 

Do Cats Eat Baby Turtles?

Since baby turtles are smaller than full-grown turtles, baby turtles may be the more likely snack for your cat.

Baby turtles are, of course, smaller than fully grown turtles. If your cat stumbles upon baby turtles, your cat may be more likely to eat this turtle. Of course, we don’t want that either, though! 

Keep in mind that the size of the turtle doesn’t make it better or worse for your cat to eat. If you do see your cat about to pick up a baby turtle, even playfully, it’s a good idea to stop your cat and free the helpless turtle. 

Do Cats Eat Turtle Eggs?

If your cat manages to find turtle eggs, your cat may eat them or play with them. 

There isn’t any evidence that says a cat will hunt down turtle eggs to eat them for a quick snack. However, if your cat is digging around where there are turtles, your cat may find a turtle’s eggs. 

Your cat might not eat the turtle egg; after all, it will have a hard shell. However, a turtle egg might look like an awesome toy to your cat. If the eggs are small enough, your cat could pick them up or, at the very least, kick them around. 

Eating and playing with turtle eggshells could damage the turtle eggs. 

Will a Cat Attack a Turtle?

If a cat feels intimidated by a turtle that it finds, there is a good chance your cat will try to kill the turtle.

Even if your cat isn’t attacking a turtle to try to eat it, there’s still a chance that your cat will pounce or bite a turtle that your cat finds. Your cat might not get hurt in this altercation, but your cat may injure the turtle. Compared to the size of a cat, most turtles are small. Your cat can hurt one of its legs or even crack its shell. Any injury to a turtle’s shell could seriously hurt the turtle and even kill it. 

Your cat may not intend to hurt the turtle, but there’s a good chance it could happen. 

Will a Cat Kill a Turtle?

If your cat attacks a turtle, there is also a small chance your cat is trying to kill the turtle.

From my own experience, my cats don’t find turtles as fun to prey on as, say, birds or rabbits. Turtles don’t move as fast as other small animals, so your cat may be less likely to attack it. But that doesn’t mean your cat won’t try to kill a turtle.

If your cat does attack a turtle, it is possible that your cat will kill it. If your cat damages its shell – even inadvertently – it could have devastating effects on the turtle.

Like I said earlier, your cat has ancestors who hunted turtles for food. Some of those instincts are still inside your cat, even if you think your cat would never hurt any wildlife. 

If you’re anything like me, you don’t want your cat eating turtles or any other wildlife. Even if your cat can break the shell of a turtle and eat it, that’s not a thought any of us want to have. But never fear. Your cat eating wild turtles won’t hurt your cat. In other words, your cat going after a turtle will hurt you more than it will hurt your cat (and, well, probably the turtle). 

Do Cats Like Turtles

Cats like smaller animals like turtles because they can watch them as they move around. This doesn’t mean they won’t eat them though, so it’s important to monitor their interactions with one another. 

We can’t ask cats if they would like to have a turtle as a best friend, but cats like turtles in my experience. I noticed two reasons.

First, turtles can potentially be found around your property. If you live near water, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen turtles. Even my small pond out front has a turtle! If your cat goes outdoors and enjoys exploring, your cat might find a turtle somewhere nearby.

Second, turtles move slowly. This isn’t exciting for us humans, but a cat can spend hours watching a turtle move around, especially if your cat decides not to bother it. 

A turtle could give your cat hours of entertainment on their adventure outside!

Do Cats and Turtles Get Along?

If your cat doesn’t try to hurt or snack on the turtle it finds, there’s a good chance your cat and a turtle will get along. Both animals are observers by nature, and their first instinct is not to attack. In fact, turtles have a tendency to hide in their shell when something comes in close proximity to it. 

The turtle might not appreciate being followed around by a predator like a cat, but your cat will certainly enjoy its time around a turtle. If the turtle is simply walking around, your cat can watch it.

You might not see a lasting friendship develop between the two, but I think it’s safe to say that cats will get along with turtles. I’m sure the turtle (begrudgingly) will have to accept your cat’s friendship too. 

If you’re thinking about getting a turtle as a pet, you won’t have to worry about your cat and new turtle fighting. It’ll still be a good idea to keep an idea on the two, regardless of how well they seem to get along. 

Are Cats Afraid of Turtles?

Cats can be afraid of turtles, especially if they have never seen a turtle before. So in this regard, your cat is not likely to eat the turtle even though it’s smaller in size. 

Fear of turtles may be dependent on the personality of your cat. You might not think a small turtle is enough to spook your cat, but there’s a chance that it could. 

If you have a curious cat that likes to explore, your cat probably won’t be afraid of a turtle that it finds. If your cat is timid, to begin with, a turtle will frighten your cat. 

Snapping turtles may be what your cat will be most afraid of. If your cat gets snapped by a snapping turtle, your cat will become afraid of that turtle – and potentially all turtles it comes across in the future! 

Since turtles are usually small and harmless, most cats won’t be afraid of turtles.

 

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