Can cats eat centipedes? Are centipedes dangerous or poisonous to cats (or humans)? Should you be concerned if you think your cat has eaten or come into contact with a centipede?
These are all valid questions if you have centipedes in or around your home or know your cat is coming across them outside.
It’s not as simple as a yes or no however as according to Wikipedia there are around 8,000 different species of centipedes, and some are potentially dangerous as they can bite and do have venom.
I’m not trying to scare you though. The likelihood is that the centipedes your cat is coming across are not harmful as I will explain in more detail, but you do need to be aware of the risks.
What Are Centipedes?
Centipedes are very distinctive looking creatures. They are actually classified as an arthropod, not an insect. There are some differences that separate
There is no mistaking them when you see a long-bodied creature with around 100 legs though. Not to be confused with millipedes that have two pairs of legs per body
The interesting part is that the word centipede means ‘100-footed’, but not all centipedes have exactly 100 legs. I don’t think that many of them do actually, but most have around this number.
Most centipedes are yellow or brown, and different markings like stripes are common. They have antennae and big eyes, and despite having so many legs most of them are pretty quick when moving.
They are nocturnal and spend most of their time in the dirt and loose soil. So it’s perfecetly normal not to see them often and assume you don’t have any centipedes in your garden.
When in reality there are probably centipedes in your garden or shrubbery around your home right now. They just aren’t active in the day or easy to spot.
If you live in an area that’s known to have poisonous centipedes I’d hope that it was made very aware to everyone. But it’s still worth doing a little research to see what’s been spotted where you live.
Can Cats Eat Centipedes?
I actually hate seeing my cats chasing, playing with, and eating insects or arthropods of any kind. I imagine you’re on the same page, right? It’s a gross thing to have to witness.
Some cats will eat insects. I’ve covered the safety concerns around cats eating grasshoppers, crickets, flies, and silverfish to give you some of the more common insects they come across so I recommend checking out those posts.
It starts with the thrill of the chase and the curiosity of what this little creature is, and is only heightened by the fact that insects try to escape which becomes a fun game for cats.
This often ends with an over-excitable cat catching the prey and using their mouth to try and control it, and ultimately eating the insect, or in this case the arthropod.
In regards to centipedes, in general, it should be fine for a cat to eat them. There is a chance the centipede will bite them in self-defense (who can blame them!) and this can cause localized swelling where they were bitten.
More often than not the swelling will go down over the next few hours. But it’s something to keep an eye on.
Your cat might even throw up the centipede. Some cats stomaches are sensitive to large bugs trying to be ingested and they will vomit instead of struggling with it.
As long as your cat doesn’t continue to be sick this shouldn’t be a problem. I mean, it’s a problem for you to clean up the vomit, but it’s for the best.
Are Centipedes Dangerous to Cats?
This is a question I see asked a lot, and because there are so many different spices of centipede it’s hard to answer as I mentioned above.
In general, small house centipedes are not dangerous to cats, or humans and other animals for that matter.
They do however possess a small amount of venom in their bite. They use this to stun and kill prey they eat such as other small insects like spiders and worms.
The best advice I can give you is to check out any centipedes you see around your home and do a little research into what types are known to be in your area.
If you see any that look odd, larger, or more colorful than the typical house centipede I’d keep your cat away from it to be on the safe side.
If you suspect your cat has been bitten by a centipede try and get a look, and even a picture (we always have our phones on us) of it to help identify it.
Keep a close eye on your cat for the next few hours. If you see any signs of swelling or illness then whisk them off to your vet, or at least give your vet a call and explain what has happened for some advice.
Are Centipedes Poisonous to Cats?
The severity of a centipede bite depends on the species of centipede. Very few are able to do any serious damage, and these are rarely seen across the US.
There is one such nasty little critter in Texas that can cause some pain and discomfort; the Giant Redheaded Centipede. But again, it’s rare and you should be aware if you have these in
If your cat or even you were to be bitten by a centipede, the main symptoms include:
- Pain, the larger the centipede the more painful it will be
- Redness and itchy skin
The best thing you can do as soon as your cat has been bitten is to wash the area with cold water. Personally, I’d also call a vet for advice to be on the safe side or have them checked out.
I hope you found, ‘can cats eat centipedes?’ useful and interesting.
As cat owners, we all have to deal with our cats getting into trouble, eating things they shouldn’t, and the odd insect bite from time-to-time. So, it’s good to research and read up on these things.
My advice is to keep an eye on your cat if you know they are likely to come into contact with centipedes. Take pictures of the types of centipedes you’re seeing near your home too in case they do get bitten.
We can’t always stop our curious kitties chasing and eating things they shouldn’t. But increasing your awareness of potential dangers and what to do in case of an emergency goes a long way.
Have salamanders in your area? Check out – are salamanders poisonous to cats? Some interesting bits of information in that one!