Due to the mischievous reputation of these pets, many people have wondered if cats eat bed bugs (or kill them for fun). But unfortunately, there’s not a lot of great information out there on the topic!
This guide will teach you everything you need to know.
Table of Contents
Do Cats Eat Bed Bugs?
Cats are notoriously great hunters, but their goal isn’t always to eat what they catch. They may kill something and then eat a few parts of the animal, but they usually won’t consume the whole animal. You can witness this tendency if you’ve ever found parts of an animal that your cat has left on your doorstep.
What about bugs? Indoor cats, that can’t go outside to hunt, are known to chase down anything that crawls across the floor, and this may include bugs.
Cockroaches, beetles, flies and even spiders are fair game if spotted by a cat. It appears, however, that a cat is less likely to eat a bug that it catches than it is to eat, say, a mouse or other small animal.
So do cats eat bed bugs? Will a cat kill and munch on a bed bug if it happens to find one?
In most cases, your cat is not going to try to eat a bed bug. Bed bugs taste bad, and they emit a foul odor that’s sure to discourage your cat from turning one into a meal.
If your cat happens to eat a bed bug, then you may want to let your vet know. Bed bugs often carry a dangerous parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, and your vet may want to test your cat for this parasite.
Do Cats Kill Bed Bugs?
Your cat may not see a bed bug as its next meal, but will it go out of its way to kill one? It usually depends on the situation, but cats typically won’t kill bed bugs on purpose (even ones that they may be chasing). Cats love to play with their prey, and sometimes a bed bug may be squashed and killed during this kind of play, but it’s usually never done on purpose.
Bed bugs are very tiny, and they often go unnoticed by cats. They also release a terrible smell when they get crushed, so most cats will learn their lesson after killing a few bed bugs.
Can They Help Deal With An Infestation?
These days, domestic animals are being taught to perform a wide variety of tasks. Dogs and cats are trained to be mental health support animals, they are taught to detect a variety of diseases and health conditions, and they are used in law enforcement and in the military.
A new kind of pet is emerging, and that’s the “bug detector.” Dogs have been trained to help homeowners and pest control specialists sniff out bed bug infestations, but now this training has been extended to cats.
We’re not saying that cats are being used to eradicate bed bugs from a living space, but are trying to use these pets to find these pests and kill them. Since cats don’t naturally kill or eat bed bugs, they need to be trained to do so.
Using incentives like catnip, cats are slowly trained to not only hunt and kill bed bugs, but they are being taught to use their sense of smell to locate bed bugs in homes and other buildings.
Will cats ever become the next great weapon in the fight against bed bugs? Probably not, but some hope that they can become a helpful partner in a homeowner’s initial fight against these insects.
Cats and other animals should never be depended on to control any kind of bug infestation. While cats can be trained to kill the bed bugs that they see, they would never be able to keep up with even a small infestation.
The only way to truly handle a bed bug situation and get rid of them for good is to call a pest control company. They have the tools and know how to find all the places where the bugs may be hiding, they can estimate the size and scope of the problem, and they will be able to come up with a solution that will work.
While it’s technically possible for cats to eat bed bugs or kill them accidentally, this isn’t something these pets will naturally do. And despite some individuals trying to teach cats how to do this, it’s unlikely that it will ever become a reliable method.
You’re far better off sticking with a more effective form of bed bug removal.