My Cat Ate a Beetle What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 01/23/23 •  3 min read
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Cat Ate a Beetle

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Cats have a strong hunting instinct that comes from their wild ancestors. Domesticated cats love to chase and play with bugs, including beetles! The cats have fun, but we’re pretty sure the beetles aren’t too happy about the enforced chase. But what happens if a cat catches and eats a beetle?

Has your cat eaten a beetle? Are you worried the beetle will make your cat sick? If so, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your cat eats something like this.

We’ve gathered information about beetles and whether they can make a cat sick. Let’s get started!

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

What are Beetles?

Beetles are insects from the Coleoptera family; there are over 2.1 million species of beetle in the world! They usually have a pair of hardened wings that form what’s called a “wing case.” They also have a hard exoskeleton that protects the bug’s innards. These insects are found in almost all parts of the world except the polar regions.

These insects usually eat plants, fungi, and break down dead animals and poop!

While beetles are considered harmless (or pests—depending on the species), what happens if a cat eats a beetle?

Beetles & Cats

The good news is that beetles are usually harmless to cats. They’re not toxic or venomous, so they can’t poison your fur baby. However, a beetle’s hard shell could cause a problem.

Beetles have a hard exoskeleton that doesn’t digest easily. The problem is if your cat habitually eats beetles. Their exoskeletons could come together in the cat’s digestive tract and cause an obstruction. This is a condition that can cause death if left untreated.

However, if your fur baby eats one beetle, chances are she will be OK. In most cases, the beetle’s exoskeleton will pass through your cat’s digestive system and come out in her poop. So, you can monitor your cat and watch for concerning symptoms (see below). If she becomes sick, it’s time to call the vet.

Symptoms of Beetle Ingestion in Cats

You may notice these symptoms if your cat has eaten beetle exoskeletons:

If your cat develops these symptoms, call the vet right away. This is an emergency.

Treatment of Beetle Ingestion in Cats

Cats that have developed an obstruction may require surgery. The vet performs surgery to remove the obstruction of beetle exoskeletons from the kitty’s digestive tract. They will also repair any damage caused by the obstruction.

The prognosis is best for cats who receive prompt medical treatment after eating beetles. If your fur baby loves to eat beetles, it’s best to keep her away from these critters. That may mean not allowing her to go outside in the yard. But do what’s necessary to keep her away from these bugs. You’ll both be happier for it!

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.

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