Do Cats Keep Cockroaches Away? [Toxic or Healthy Snack?]

do cats keep cockroaches away

You’ve heard of cats called “mousers” since they keep the mice away from their territory. But are these predatory animals also just as good at keeping roaches in check?

In this article, we’ll discuss the relationship between cats and cockroaches, answering the question above for you in context.

We’ll also show you what you can do to keep cockroaches away from your property, as well as what measures you should take if you think you have a cockroach infestation problem.

Are you ready to find out if your cat can help keep the roaches away? Let’s begin.

Do Cats Keep Cockroaches Away?

Technically speaking, the presence of a cat is not enough to keep cockroaches away. Cockroaches rely on filth and rotting food sources in order to survive, and while cats may kill cockroaches they see, the two are not linked as predators and prey like the cat and mouse are.

However, having a cat can keep the critter population down in your home and surrounding property. Most of the time, cats are even the first ones to notice an unwanted bug in the house and may toy with it to the point where it’s critically injured.

The long and short of it is that cats don’t necessarily keep cockroaches away. In fact, cats can attract cockroaches the same way humans do, by not cleaning up and properly disposing of food. Really, it’s more about the environment that’s already present than the presence of a cat.

Can Cats Eat Cockroaches?

Cats, like many dogs, will eat practically anything they can stuff in their mouth. And don’t they always seem to swallow it before you get the chance to even see what it was that they ate?

However, as much as it might be satisfying to see your cat munch down on that nasty cockroach, there are some things you’ll want to consider before you start celebrating. An eaten cockroach is not always a problem solved.

Choking Hazard

Cockroaches are just one of the many hard-bodied insects out there. In fact, cockroaches have an exoskeleton that acts as the bones for their insect bodies.

This exoskeleton is non-toxic to cats, but the skeleton itself can pose a choking hazard. If the cat doesn’t chew the cockroach up properly, choking and/or vomiting can occur. But it doesn’t stop there: there’s much more at stake than just your cat’s throat.

Letting your cat eat roaches does play to one of their strengths. In fact, a cat’s hunting instincts could lead them to stalk a cockroach naturally.

This is especially true of indoor cats, who may not have as many chances to play hunt as outdoor cats do. A darting cockroach could be just enough to spike their kitty adrenaline.

Toxicity Concern

If you’re trying to kill roaches with poison, a persistent cat might just get the short end of the stick if they eat a cockroach. Cats are natural predators, but if the cockroach poison were to reach any animal’s digestive tract, they could be harmed.

This is especially true of a mother cat. Her life and the lives of her young could be at stake. Eating roaches should not be first on your list of solutions for a cockroach infestation.

Will Cats Attract Roaches?

There are two main ways cats attract cockroaches: a dirty cat litter box and exposed cat food. Cat owners can avoid a roach infestation by mitigating the dirty cat litter left in the litter box, as well as disposing of leftover food. Let’s take a closer look at each of these situations.

Clean Litter Boxes

As cat owners, we never look forward to cleaning out the litter box. However, it’s easy to avoid a roach infestation if you simply scoop litter once a day, depending on how many cats you have.

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10/16/2023 01:15 am GMT

You should also have an extra litter box in addition to the litter boxes for each of your cats. This will ensure they always have somewhere to relieve themselves, rather than anywhere else in the house. After all, would you want to do your business in a dirty bathroom?

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Controlling Cat Food Bowls

Depending on where your cat eats, you’ll want to keep your cat’s food bowls up off the floor and clean.

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The best first step in pest control is to remove a potential food source that can attract roaches. This applies to both wet canned food as well as dry cat food.

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In order to avoid attracting cockroaches, you’ll want to consider feeding your cat indoors. This will help to keep the food in one place. Plus, it should be served on a clean surface. An outdoor cat should be fed in a similarly clean place to keep cockroaches away.

How to Prevent Your Cat’s Food From Attracting Roaches

Whether you choose to feed your cat wet or dry food, you’ll want to ensure that you handle it properly in order to keep cockroaches away. Here are a few ways you can better handle your cat’s food to prevent roaches from infesting your home.

Feed Your Cat Indoors

It might seem convenient for your cat to leave their food out on a step or some other established location. However, roaches are attracted to any food source, especially one that’s established and easy to get to.

If you can get your outdoor cats to eat indoors, cockroaches (and other insects) are less likely to find the food source as easily. Roaches, like many other animals, go for food that’s easily come by first.

If you leave your cat’s food out for the roaches to poach, you’re making it all too easily for cockroaches to become a huge problem.

Keep Cat Food in an Airtight Container

Most cat foods are packaged with an airtight seal, be it wet or dry food. Once these packages are opened, however, the seal against roaches and other animals is broken.

No matter if you have a single cat or many, you should always store your cat’s food in an airtight container.

That means keeping wet food in the fridge, capped by a reusable lid or packaged in a plastic sandwich bag. Wet food especially is a delicacy for hungry roaches.

You should also keep dry cat food in an airtight container as well. Those flimsy storage bags that might keep wet food fresh are nothing when they begin to break down.

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One of the best ways to keep dry cat food fresh is to remove it from the original packaging and storing it in a sealed container. This container should then be placed in a cool, dry place where it’s up off the floor as well. This is a good rule of thumb for roaches, but also for other animals who love cat food as well.

Promptly Remove Uneaten Food

Leaving leftover food out for your cat might seem like you’re giving them a chance for a snack later on, but really you could just be ringing the dinner bell for any roaches nearby. This is true of both indoor and outdoor cats.

Cats love to eat as they please, but removing their food dish and any crumbs after their meal is the best way to keep cockroaches away. Hunting instincts will kick in for any outdoor cats if they do become hungry later on, and indoor cats are never too shy about making their empty bellies your problem.

Avoid roaches completely by picking up after your cat after a meal. It could be the difference between a tidy house and a cockroach infestation.

Other Ways to Deal With a Cockroach Infestation

Killing cockroaches is a business in and of itself. Here are some of the main ways you can deal with a cockroach infestation problem in your home.

Keep a Clean Home

We’re not trying to be the spick and span police here, but the truth of the matter is that cockroaches are attracted to dirty places. One of the best ways to benefit yourself as well as those around you, and still prevent roaches from setting up shop, is to maintain a cleaning schedule.

This includes keeping where your cat eats clean as well. We talked about a few ways above, but the idea is that if there’s no cat food for the roaches to eat, there shouldn’t be any reason roaches are present.

DIY Prevention Measures

In some cases, killing cockroaches takes a spray of the right chemical deterrents. You can also set traps in order to catch cockroaches and/or deliver poison to them to take back to their nest.

Getting rid of established food sources that the cockroaches have been returning to is also a great way to start removing the infestation without having to spend tons of money. Keep a clean house and never leave food lying around.

Hire an Expert

You can also hire a professional pest control company to deal with the problem. Many companies will offer a free or reduced-price estimate consultation, where they’ll identify the problem and recommend treatment.

Call and inquire with a few local pest control companies in your area. They may also offer preventative measures for other rodents or small pests in addition to cockroaches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does cat food attract cockroaches?

Yes, cat food can attract roaches. To prevent roaches, simply keep cat food bowls clean and don’t leave any food in these bowls for very long. Keep your cat’s food fresher by putting it in an airtight container and storing it in a cool, dry place.

How do you get rid of cockroaches?

There are many cockroach deterrents available in the pest control section of your local home and garden stores. Cockroach populations carry parasites, so it’s critical to remove them as quickly as possible before they multiply.

If home remedies are not working, consider calling the experts. These professionals will be able to eradicate the cockroaches, as well as identify how to prevent roaches from coming back. Many times, it’s more about changing certain habits than anything else.

What cockroach deterrent can I use that won’t hurt my cat?

Investing in an alternative type of cockroach repellent can help decrease the chances of your cat eating roach poison. For example, you could purchase an ultrasonic solution that uses noise instead of a chemical substance.

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Natural sprays that use essential oils are also another simple way to deal with a cockroach infestation. They’re typically non-toxic and can work to keep more than just cockroaches away as well.

Can cats kill cockroaches?

Yes, cats can kill cockroaches if they are in the mood.

Most cats will play with a cockroach until the cockroach’s shell becomes damaged. They can also eat cockroaches.

You should be cautious when letting your cat roam around if you’ve put out roach poison. If you let your cats eat cockroaches (if they’re infected), they can cause oral irritation, an oral infection, or worse depending on the dosage.


We hope you’ve found this article on cats and cockroach infestations useful. Cockroaches are an invasive pest that sometimes requires professional help to eradicate. Whether or not you choose to call in an expert, it’s good to know how safe it is for your cat to eat a cockroach.