Can Cats Eat Moths?

If you own a cat, you probably know by now that you don’t know anything about them! Cats are one of the most mysterious creatures who have a mind of their own. They do the most bizarre things, and you’re left wondering why they do what they’re doing! Their bizarre behavior extends to their choice of food as well!

Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their main source of nutrition comes from eating meat protein. Out in the wild, felines are predators who prey on smaller mammals, birds, and fish. Despite being carnivores, they aren’t completely opposed to munching on some greens. Shockingly enough, you’ll catch your cat chewing on grass blades or eyeing the vegetables on your plate. 

Cats also seem very keen on catching insects and eating them up. This shouldn’t come as much of a shock because whether an insect is crawling or flying, it will catch your cat’s eye and will intrigue them. Their instincts will kick in, and they’ll want to catch the insect and will eventually end up eating a said insect. However, insects don’t add much in terms of nutrition. 

A common insect that our cats are obsessed with catching and eating are moths. Moths are attracted to light sources like lamps, and so they’re often hovering around in our homes and are also easy access insects for indoor cats. But just because your cat wants to hunt and eat something doesn’t mean it should. Are moths safe for cats to eat?

Read on to find the answer to all your cat and moth-related queries.

What will happen to our cats if they eat a moth?

Famous peppered moth's dark secret revealed - BBC News

It is really difficult to stop your cat from chasing and catching an insect if they’ve made their mind up about it. And with moths being so common, it is natural to worry if allowing your cat to eat them is dangerous.

For most of the part, your cat won’t face any health issues if they manage to catch and eat a moth. An occasional munching on insects such as moths might add an extra bit of protein to their diets.

However, that doesn’t mean that your cat should spend its days and nights eating a bunch of moths. If your cat eats too many moths in a short duration of time, it will lead them to end up with an upset stomach. Upset stomachs in cats lead to additional issues such as loss of appetite, diarrhea, and in this case, the most common symptom will be vomiting, especially on your favorite rug!

It is unlikely that your cat will eat enough moths to make their tummies upset. They usually will chase the moths around and play with them until the moth dies, and then they’ll discard them. However, if your cat feels like you haven’t given them enough food or is hungry between meals, they may decide to snack on their victim. They may do so out of curiosity as well. Unless your cat hasn’t been fed and they are extremely hungry, they won’t think of and treat moths as a staple food.

Are all moths safe for cats to eat?

Different insects have a variety of species, and moths are no different. As far as cats and moths are concerned, there is one specific moth that is known to be poisonous for your felines. The Garden Tiger Moth is usually found in places with cooler temperatures, such as Canada and the northern parts of the States. It can be identified by the color of its wings, which are usually white and brown. The markings on this moth sort of resemble the markings that you see on cows.

However, there isn’t any concrete research that will tell you the effects that this poisonous moth will have on your cat if eaten. All we know is that your cat should stay away from these moths. 

Are there any other dangers associated with moths?

Cat owners usually worry about the possibility of parasites coming into contact with their cats because of their hunting victims. 

Parasites are very host-specific, and they prefer to use the same kind of host consistently. For example, cats can end up with tapeworms and fleas if they hunt an infected rodent. However, the good news is that moths aren’t a preferred host for most parasites, especially for tapeworm. So the risk of parasites does not run with eating moths!

Mothballs and Cats:

Moths can be a nuisance to have at home. While adult moths don’t do much damage, their larvae can eat through fabric such as cotton. They can end up ruining some of your favorite clothes if they come into contact with them. Which is why homeowners try different techniques to eliminate these insects from their homes? A common technique is using mothballs. The question is now, are mothballs safe to have in homes with cats around?

Moths themselves aren’t toxic to cats. However, if you plan on using mothballs to get rid of moths, you need to be careful. Mothballs are, in essence, a ball of insecticide. They have a high concentration of insecticide, which is precisely why they are so dangerous to cats if they are ingested by them.

It’s not just the mothball that poses a threat to your cat. The fumes that come out from these repellents are also extremely toxic to your cat. If your cat is constantly exposed to the vapors, it will suffer from health problems. This is why your cat shouldn’t even be in the same area that the mothballs are placed to keep them from even smelling them.

What will happen if my cat ate a mothball?

If you have been using mothballs to keep the insects away and suspect that your cat might have eaten one, they will show certain signs that something isn’t right. 

The most obvious signs will be that they will show lethargy and will also vomit quite a bit. Other symptoms will include excessive drooling, finding it difficulty walking, seizures, and tremors. Even if your cat ate just one mothball, they could suffer through these symptoms. The reason why the effects of eating mothballs are so severe is that the amount of insecticide concentrated into just one ball is incredibly high.

If your cat shows any signs of these symptoms after you suspect they came into contact with a mothball, waste no time and seek medical help. If not treated immediately, it can result in tragedy.

There are a variety of options available that will keep moths away and are cat-friendly. So it is best to avoid using mothballs and opt for the alternates.

Cat-friendly alternatives to mothballs:

Rather than using heavy insecticides such as mothballs, you can opt for natural alternatives. One of the most popular options is to use cedar. Cedar can be used in the form of cedar chips, in block form, or a pouch form. Cedar is a popular choice since it is easy to use and is safe for both pets and children. 

Another popular option is lavender. You can use lavender sachets as a moth deterrent. They are easily available.

Are butterflies also safe for cats to eat?

We all know that caterpillars either evolve into moths and butterflies. So a natural question that comes to mind is that if cats can eat moths without having any adverse health effects, can they also eat butterflies?

The good news is that just like moths don’t do any harm to your cats, butterflies don’t either. Since butterflies aren’t very commonly found around our houses and only seem to visit our gardens at night, the chances of your cat happening upon them are also low. So if your cat does get its paws on a butterfly and eat it, there won’t be anything to worry about!

Dangerous insects for your cat:

While butterflies and moths might be safe for your cat to eat once in a while, this doesn’t extend to all sorts of insects. Certain insects can prove to be deadly if ingested by your feline. These include:

  • Spiders such as the Black Widow, Brown Recluse, and Hobo Spider
  • Bees and Wasps
  • Centipedes such as the Giant Redhead Centipede and the Texas Redhead Centipede
  • Scorpions

If your cat eats or comes into contact with any of these insects, you should minor them for any signs of reactions and take your feline for a check-up.


Cats are natural-born hunters, and it’s in their blood to want to chase and catch anything that is moving around, especially if it is flying. Moths are common household insects, and the probability of your cat catching and munching on them is high. As long as your cat is well fed, they’ll only eat moths as a treat or snack, which in turn doesn’t cause any health concerns. The only dangerous thing that is linked to moths is the use of mothballs, which are insecticides and should be avoided at all costs.

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