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Can Cats Eat Moths?

  • Post category:Can Cats Eat This
  • Post last modified:July 8, 2020
  • Reading time:7 mins read
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Can cats eat moths? If you have a cat then you already know that cats really don’t seem to care what they put in their mouths. And if it crawls, flies, or moves at all, chances are good that your cat is gonna be curious about whatever it is crawling on the floor or flying through the air. 

Perhaps you have just seen a moth fly by your bright floor lamp and now it has your cat’s attention. Well in this article you will find out if you can just let your cat play with the moth or if you should get rid of it without your cat’s help.

What Happens If a Cat Eats a Moth?

For the most part, nothing bad will happen to your cat if it happens to actually catch a moth and eat it. Like many other insects, if your cat eats too many moths then it could wind up with an upset stomach. If this happens, your cat will most likely puke it up on your living room carpet. 

However, there is one type of moth that is known to be poisonous and it’s called the Garden Tiger moth. This type of moth prefers a cooler climate and is normally found in the northern part of the United States and also Canada. The wings of this moth are usually both brown and white and somewhat resemble the markings like that of a cow.

can cats eat moths
The poisonous Garden Tiger moth


It’s worth mentioning that no one really knows what the poison in this moth actually does to a cat. To my knowledge, there have been no known instances where the Garden Tiger moth has been eaten by a cat. If your cat is chasing this type of moth, you should probably err on the safe side and get your cat away from it.

Is It Normal for a Cat to Eat Moths?

Your cat is mostly going to just push and play with a moth when it catches one. But cats will be cats and if they think you’re holding out on feeding them, they may very well try to eat the moth. And if your cat is sincerely hungry, then chances are pretty good that they will have themselves a little moth snack. Gross, I know.

If your cat does eat a regular moth, I wouldn’t be too worried about it. This is what cats do – they eat things that we think are disgusting. If I were you, though, I probably would not want to give my cat any kisses on their mouth after they have eaten a moth – or any insect for that matter.

Can a Cat Get Parasites From Eating Moths?

Most parasites are extremely host specific, meaning they usually use the same type of host over and over. Moths are usually not the host of choice for parasites, so it is highly unlikely that your cat will get a parasite by eating a moth. 

Cats can become infected with tapeworms by eating infected fleas or rodents. Tapeworms usually don’t use moths as hosts, so if your cat eats a moth, don’t be too concerned. Your cat will more than likely be okay.

 Are Mothballs Toxic to Cats?

While moths themselves may not be toxic for your cat, the same cannot be said for mothballs. Mothballs have a high overall concentration of  insecticide in them and that is precisely why they can be very dangerous for your cat to ingest.

The fumes that come from mothballs are also highly toxic, especially if your cat has been exposed to the vapor for awhile. Because of this, you should not even let your cat into an area that has any type of mothball smell in it.

If your cat eats a mothball, they may start vomiting and acting lethargic. This is an emergency situation and you need to take your cat to the veterinarian right away if this occurs. 

Other symptoms include seizures, difficulty walking, drooling, and tremors. These symptoms can happen even if your cat only eats a single mothball.  Again, it’s important to stress that the insecticide levels in mothballs are incredibly high and this can be a tragedy waiting to happen for your feline companion – or any other pet or child for that matter. 

Pet-Safe Alternatives to Mothballs

Luckily, there are way better moth deterrents to use besides the traditional mothball which has been used for quite a few years. Instead of using those toxic mothballs to keep moths away, try using some natural alternatives like cedar chips or lavender sachets. 

Cedar is my favorite alternative as it is easy to find. You can find cedar in chip, block, or pouch form. Cedar is also extremely easy to use and won’t harm your cat or your kids, unlike mothballs. Equally easy to use are lavendar sachets and they can be found here.

Final Thoughts

So can cats eat moths? Yes they definitely can as long as they aren’t eating the poisonous Garden Tiger moth variety. For the most part though, your cat will likely hunt and chase normal household moths. You can either let this be cheap entertainment for you or you can simply choose to catch the moth yourself and throw it out of your home.