We may term pet cats as “domesticated companion animals” but deep inside that little frame is the big heart of a lion, a natural born hunter ready to chase prey…be it a dog, a small rodents or a tiny fly! Cats have the propensity to pursue anything that moves and sometimes even inanimate objects like plastic! Few things are more challenging to catch than something that is small and can fly! Some cats are just care about the hunt and leave their victims behind. Others present it to their human mommy or daddy as a gift. Some are not even interested in killing their prey. My cat releases anything he catches and chases it again! Some however have the appetite to eat what they have caught. Although this behaviour is natural for wild cats, owners of domestic felines often worry if their cat keeps eating flies.
If A Cat Keeps Eating Flies… Can It Be Harmful?
In general, no it is not. A cat’s stomach has the ability to eat and digest a variety of food stuff including flies! Some cats, though, may have more sensitive stomachs than others. Therefore, occasionally, eating flies may cause minor stomach upset characterised by vomiting or diarrhoea and temporary loss of appetite.
There may be instances also when a fly has landed on a contaminated area so it may carry bacteria, protozoa and other microbes on its legs and may introduce them to the cat when she swallows the fly. Therefore if a cat keeps eating flies it is more likely to catch disease.
Sometimes when a fly has come into contact with poisonous insecticidal agents, there may be a risk of transferring the insecticide to the cat when it eats the fly especially if a good number of them are eaten at one time. Depending on the poison, it may cause acute illness or may accumulate in the internal organs slowly over time.
My Cat Keeps Eating Flies… Should I Leave It Be?
Although eating flies is generally not harmful to cats, I do not recommend encouraging them to do it frequently. Having a lot of flies inside the house or in the yard poses hygiene issues also for humans therefore measures should be made to keep flies out. You could put up screens and keep garbage inside containers with lids.
If your cat shows any sign of stomach upset, observe and hand feed small amounts of wet food and water. For the latter cats are more inclined to drink from a fountain for cats. If it is just a minor stomach irritation from eating flies, the signs should go away in 24 hours and your cat should be back to her normal mischievous self.
If the signs of stomach upset persists beyond 24 hours, take your cat to the veterinarian as soon as possible. She might have a gastrointestinal bacterial infection or protozoa thats need treatment.
Be mindful always of signs of poisoning in your cat which commonly includes dripping saliva from the mouth, trouble breathing or loss of coordination. If any of these signs appear, take kitty to the veterinarian immediately and bring the bug poison if possible. To minimise the risk of poisoning, do not apply insecticides and other chemicals but instead use physical means to keep flies away from your home. If there is really the need to apply pesticides, use the organic based pet-friendly ones.
If Only Occasionally…
If fly chasing and eating is only an occasional pastime for your cat, then leave her be. At the very least, it can be good exercise for your cat as it sharpens eye-paw coordination and stimulates her brain. Generally, the only real casualties aside from the flies are the figurines and vases or anything that is not glued or bolted down, together with the blinds and the curtains! Flies or no flies, make sure you update all your cat’s vaccinations, deworming and flea prevention at all times as it helps her immune system fight off most diseases.