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Do Cats Eat Turtles? The Truth About Cats and Turtles

  • Post category:Can Cats Eat This
  • Post last modified:April 16, 2022
  • Reading time:6 mins read
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Do cats eat turtles? If you’re asking this question, then it’s safe to say you probably have a cat and are also seriously considering adopting a turtle. 

It’s a great question to ask since you want to make sure that any new pets you adopt get along well with the pets that have lived with you longer.  

The short answer is yes, your cat could eat a turtle, however, it is extremely unlikely for this scenario to happen. Cats usually prefer hunting smaller creatures such as birds, mice, and insects. 

Also, animals such as turtles and tortoises have hard shells on their exterior. These shells’ main purpose is to protect them from predators, so it’s unlikely that your cat would be successful when it comes to eating or hunting turtles.

Do Cats and Turtles Get Along?

Generally speaking, cats and turtles can get along just fine. More often than not, your cat may simply ignore a turtle, since they normally don’t move too fast anyway. 

Turtles are also predominantly water animals, and as anyone with a cat knows, cats do not usually fancy water, especially large quantities of water.

The rare exception to whether or not a cat and a turtle will get along is if the turtle is in a water aquarium with an open top. The reason for this is that turtles move much faster in water, and it might pique your cat’s interest. 

If the aquarium has an open top and there are baby turtles swimming around, then you might want to watch your cat a little closer. Since baby turtles are smaller in size, your cat could become more interested in them.

Will a Cat Attack a Turtle?

Most cats will not attack either a turtle or a tortoise. As stated above, these hard-shelled creatures simply move way too slow for your cat to be interested.

However, with anything else in a cat’s life, there are going to be exceptions to the rule. For example, your cat might feel threatened by the turtle for some unknown reason. 

Maybe they’ve come across a rather large turtle or tortoise and are intimidated by its size. In this case, then yes, your cat could try and attack a turtle. 

Because of its rather hard shell and the ability for a turtle to duck its head inside of its shell, it’s likely that a turtle will not be seriously injured if your cat decides to attack it.

Do Snapping Turtles Eat Cats?

When it comes to snapping turtles, you should proceed with the utmost caution. While a snapping turtle may not technically eat your cat, it can injure or kill them.

Snapping turtles will usually not attack people or other animals unless they are provoked. If your cat comes across a snapping turtle and leaves it alone, chances are your cat will be just fine.

However, if your cat starts messing with a snapping turtle, the turtle could use its jaws to snap your cat’s neck or seriously injure another extremity on your cat, such as its paw.

Can Cats Get Salmonella From Turtles?

Salmonella is a common bacteria found on reptiles, so there is a chance that your cat could get salmonella. 

Pet turtles that have shells less than 4 inches long are especially at risk for carrying salmonella, even if the turtle itself looks healthy.

To decrease the risk that your cat ends up with salmonella, it’s best to make sure your cat doesn’t lick your pet turtle.

And why would a cat even lick your turtle in the first place? Because cats like to clean themselves and other creatures with their tongue. It’s their natural cat instinct. 

Can Cats Eat Turtle Food?

If your cat eats some of your pet turtle’s food, your cat should be okay. The main ingredient in most turtle food is fish meal. And because most cats absolutely love fish, don’t be surprised if your feline companion decides to get into your pet turtle’s food.

With that being said, however, it’s best if your cat refrains from eating turtle food on a regular basis. Turtle food is also known to have preservatives, which could harm your cat over the long term. 

Cats and kittens need their own food that is specially made and formulated for them. This ensures that your cat is getting the necessary nutrients it needs to lead a long and curious-cat life.

Final Thoughts

In summary, theoretically, a cat could eat a turtle, but it is not a likely scenario. Not only do turtles live predominantly in or near water, but they are also protected by their hard exterior shell. 

The only exception might be baby turtles because they are way smaller than adult turtles. As mentioned above, cats like to hunt creatures that are smaller than them.

If you have an aquarium turtle with an opened top, your cat may decide to mess around with the turtle by sticking its paws in the aquarium and swatting at the turtle. All in all, I wouldn’t worry too much about your cat eating a turtle. It’s extremely unlikely to happen.