Are millipedes poisonous to cats? Do millipedes bite, are they toxic, should we be concerned if we see millipedes in our gardens or homes?
I want to start by saying Millipedes are interesting looking arthropods. I bet you didn’t know that there are more than 8,000 different species, and they can have anywhere between 15 and 177 pairs of legs. Did you? 🙂
Most of them can bite, but not hard enough to hurt humans or cats. The real problem is that they are more likely to curl up and release a foul-smelling liquid when they feel threatened.
This liquid isn’t toxic or harmful, other than some minor irritation as I’ll explain in this article.
So, if you’re interested to know more please read on for everything you need to know about these interesting arthropods and whether or not you should be worried if you have them around your home!
Are Millipedes Poisonous to Cats?
There are two main concerns when cats and millipedes cross paths;
- Are millipedes are poisonous to cats if they are eaten and digested?
- Can millipedes be poisonous or dangerous when defending themselves?
Looking at the first question, millipedes are not poisonous if eaten, no. This doesn’t mean your kitty will not have an upset stomach though, eating large arthropods can cause some discomfort (I’m not surprised!).
If the millipede produces some of their defensive liquid as the cat is eating them this is also going to be very unpleasant.
If this has happened, your cat might start experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Meowing and discomfort
In most cases, these problems should go away within 24 hours. So I wouldn’t be stressing too much, but that’s easier said than done.
However, if you notice anything that raises a concern, or if the problems persist for more than a day I’d get your cat checked out by a vet to be on the safe side.
Related Content – Eating Frogs and Toads can cause similar symptoms. Read this post if you are concerned about amphibians in your area.
The other concern is if a millipede can hurt a cat when it’s trying to defend itself from an overly playful kitty knocking it around and chasing it as prey.
Millipedes do not bite, at least not hard enough to hurt. Their main defensive tactic is to spray the liquid when they feel threatened.
You may have come across this before, this isn’t uncommon with bugs and insects. The good news is that l
If you’re wondering why they do this, it’s believed that this liquid is toxic to some small insects and bugs they need to defend themselves from in the wild. But not to cats, humans, and other large animals.
If your cat does get a good dose of their chemical spray when playing with them, you might witness your cat:
- Rolling around in the dirt to try and rub the scent off
- Meowing and making noise as they are distressed
- Pawing and licking the area where the spray landed
- Pacing around being agitated
The effects and smell shouldn’t last much more than an hour or so. You can wash the area with cold water or use pet wipes to help clean the area. I’m sure your cat with thank you for it.
Related: Stink bugs also spray a liquid, it’s much more foul smelling and here’s what you need to know about whether or not stink bugs are poisonous to cats.
What to Do If a Millipede Sprays Liquid on You
If you’ve been hit by a millipede’s fluid, don’t panic. It shouldn’t hurt unless your skin has a reaction to it, and if you follow these steps I’m sure you’ll be just fine:
- Thoroughly wash the area that was sprayed by the millipede with soap and water.
- If you can feel irritation put something cold on it like ice or a cold pack, I always find this helps.
- Use a corticosteroid cream if you can see or feel your skin is irritated.
So, Can Cats Eat Millipedes?
As discussed above, it’s not a good idea for cats to eat millipedes. Just as it’s not a good idea for them to eat a lot of the other commonly found bugs and insects like grasshoppers, flies, and even other arthropods like centipedes.
It shouldn’t do them any harm
You should see some obvious signs if this has happened. You cat will either be pawing at the area on their body where the fluid hit, or show signs of having an upset stomach if they’ve ingested some.
All we can really do as cat owners
And, if we think they have eaten one, keep a close eye on them for the next day or so and hope they’ve learned their lesson from the tummy ache!