My Cat Ate a Cockroach Will He Get Sick?

By Tom •  Updated: 11/18/20 •  3 min read
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Most people are familiar with cockroaches. They scurry around in infested buildings, coming out at night and then disappearing during the day. While we view these insects as pests, cats may see cockroaches as something fun to play with, or even eat!

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Why Do Cats Eat Cockroaches?

Cats are carnivores and they still carry the instincts inherited from their wild ancestors. Hunting was a way to survive. While most cats that live in a comfortable home don’t have to hunt to stay alive, they still carry the instinct to hunt and kill.

Many cats enjoy playing with all types of insects including cockroaches. Think of it from a cat’s perspective. They see something small and fast running across the floor. Why not have fun with it? Give chase and see who wins?

Sometimes the cockroach will disappear into a crack in the wall or floor. Other times your cat will reign supreme by catching the nasty bug! Then he may even see his plaything as a yummy snack and snarf the bug down. Yuck!

Are Cockroaches Bad for Cats to Eat?  

Cockroaches by themselves are not toxic to cats. So, if your fur baby happens to catch and eat one once in a while, chances are he will be OK.

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However, some cats may have trouble with the bug’s exoskeleton. This is a piece of hard shell that keeps the insects safe. You could think of this similar to armor. The shell, when crushed, can break into small, sharp pieces. These can then either cause a choking hazard, or cause trouble in the cat’s digestive system.

The cockroach’s shell can also pose another major health issue. It’s entirely possible a large piece of the shell could become lodged in the cat’s intestine, causing a bowel obstruction. In that cause, you may notice these symptoms:

If you notice these symptoms, be sure to call the vet immediately. This is a life-threatening medical emergency.

Another problem with cockroaches is that they may have been exposed to pesticides. You may notice these symptoms if your cat’s eaten a poisoned cockroach:

If you notice these symptoms, then it’s time to call the vet immediately. This is a medical emergency.

For the most part, eating a cockroach once in a while shouldn’t cause a problem for your cat. However, it’s important to make sure that he’s not eating bugs that have been exposed to pesticides. And he should not be allowed to eat a large number of these pests.

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Tom

Tom has always loved to write since he was little - he wanted to be either a writer or a veterinary doctor, but he ended up being a professional writer while most of his works are based on animals. He was born in San Francisco but later moved to Texas to continue his job as a writer. He graduated from the University of San Francisco where he studied biotechnology. He is happily married and a soon to be father!

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