Are dragonflies poisonous to cats? Do dragonflies bite or sting cats?
You’re right to wonder these questions if you have dragonflies near your home and where your cats roam.
We have a huge pond in our yard and it attracts loads of dragonflies in the summer. I actually love these little insects, some are really colorful, they move around so quickly, and they are pretty interesting insects that don’t often get talked about.
Plus, let’s be honest. Their name makes them sound pretty dangerous, doesn’t it? I mean, how can a Dragonfly be so innocent and harmless…..well the good news is that they are.
I’m lucky enough to have a friend who is an entomologist. You’re forgiven for not knowing that’s what someone who studies insects is called, I wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for him!
Last time I saw him I picked his brain on everything to do with dragonflies. Along with some in-depth research I’ve done myself, I now know more than I ever thought I’d need to know about dragonflies!
So, I put together this article to help educate you with everything you should ever need to know about dragonflies. And, more importantly, help answer your questions about cats and dragonflies and if there are any potential risks with cats trying to catch or eat them.
Do Dragonflies Bite or Sting Cats?
The good news is that they certainly do not sting at all. Dragonflies have no ‘stinger’ or way to sting cats, us, or anything else.
Dragonflies do, however, have teeth. They use their teeth to bite and eat other insects, but I am assured by my entomologist friend that their bite is not strong enough to harm a cat in any way.
He went as far as to tell me that I could catch and hold a dragonfly myself to test this and will see that their bite cannot even break the skin. But I think I’ll take his word for it over letting a dragonfly munch on my fingers!
There are, however, some sensitive areas on a cat that are not well protected by fur that could be vulnerable to being bitten and causing a little discomfort.
If your cat gets bitten on their nose and ears, they might yelp and run away. But it’s nothing to be concerned about and hopefully will teach them not to mess with dragonflies in the future.
Are Dragonflies Poisonous to Cats?
Dragonflies are in no way poisonous to cats. Or us for that matter to help put your mind as ease.
So, while they can look a little scary, and some are pretty big (I’ve read they can have a wingspan of 100mm, which is pretty big), cats are not at risk of being poisoned, bitten, or stung if they chase them.
Cicadas are also not harmful to cats, read are cicadas poisonous to cats to find out more.
Why Do Cats Chase Dragonflies?
Cats love to chase insects. Or most things that move quickly and present a bit of a challenge, to be honest.
It’s their natural hunting instinct kicking in. Even the laziest of cats find it difficult to take their eyes off an insect flying around. Even if they can’t be bothered to move and chase it.
That’s why some of the best and most interactive cat toys mimic the movement of an insect and even look like one. Those flies on the end of a wire and laser pointers are the best examples. Who has a cat that can actually resist pouncing on one of those?!
Dragonflies present an interesting challenge. They fly, hover, are colorful, and move around incredibly quickly. All of which is just too difficult for most cats to resist.
My cats love chasing them in our yard, but I don’t think they have ever caught one. They are often just out of reach and a little too quick for my cats. My main concern is one of my cats falling into the pond trying to catch them, but luckily that’s never happened either.
Why Do Cats Eat Dragonflies and Other Insects?
Cats end up eating insects for a lot of the same reasons as to why they chase them. It’s their natural hunting instinct and curious behavior that leads them.
It’s just that after catching an insect they will play with them in their mouths to help control them, or just outright eat them because they want to. Gross, right?
Have ladybugs in your garden? You’ll like – are ladybugs poisonous to cats?
Can Cats Get Sick from Eating Dragonflies and Other Insects?
I’ve seen my cat eat flies, the odd grasshopper, and other insects and creepy crawlies. It never gets any less gross to witness, and while I’m happy that insect isn’t going to bother me, it does make me wonder if there are any issues with my cats eating insects.
Reading through all the information around this topic on petmd and some other sites, the good news is that there really isn’t much of a health risk with cats eating insects.
There is a slight risk that the insect your cat is ingesting is carrying a parasite that can cause some stomach issues. Kind of like when we eat something that doesn’t agree with us. But this risk is so slight that it’s not worth worrying about.
Looking at all the information I can find on the topic, even if your cat is sick after eating a bug, such as vomiting (need to clean up cat vomit? read this article) or having diarrhea, these symptoms usually pass in a day or two.
Obviously, if your cat is sick for more than a day or you have any other reasons to think there is something worse than an upset stomach then get them to a vet to be checked out.
If you’re a TL;DR kind of person, the answer to – are dragonflies poisonous to cats – is no.
Despite sounding and looking a little menacing, dragonflies are not harmful to cats, us, or other household pets in any way. If you have them in your yard or around your pond you can consider yourself lucky.
If your cat likes watching them buzzing around and gives a little chase now and then, I’d let them get on with it. There is almost no chance they are actually going to catch a dragonfly, and if they do it’s not going to harm them.
If you’re concerned about other insects and bugs commonly found in yards and around our homes harming your cat, I’ve done some research into loads of other creepy crawlies.