Do Cats Eat Roaches?

Cat pointing a cockroachWhat’s your little fluffy feline up to? Is it trying to catch a roach? Certainly, your pet is busy getting a snack. But do cats really eat cockroaches?

Yes, cats are natural pest-killing machines that may eat any crunchy bug that comes into sight. From flies to cockroaches, these adorable creatures spend hours hunting these insects.

Therefore, if you’ve a roach problem, your cat can lend you a helping hand. That’s because roaches are stubborn bugs that won’t give up without a fight. So, your traps and poison baits may not work as effectively unless you revamp your roach-killing skills.

Of course, you must be intrigued by your pet cat’s roach-eating behavior, so this is why we have answered all your questions in this post. Read now to learn how cats can be great roach hunters and whether roach eating is safe.

Do Cats Love to Play With Roaches?

Cats are naturally playful creatures. Whether it is a toy, a crawling insect, or anything colorful, cats love to chase after it out of curiosity. The same goes with roaches. A roach’s scuttling movement can trigger a cat to chase and play with it.

That is why you often find your cat playing mercilessly with alive or dying roaches. In addition, your cat may enjoy:

  • Baiting the roach
  • Tapping at it with its paws
  • Randomly flick it up in the air

Cats adapt this behavior to improve their hunting skills. These adorable fluffy creatures play around with their prey to avoid injuries and exhaust their prey. This is because a tired prey may strike out less, or it won’t be as hard to catch.

So, once the prey is dead, your furry cat will continue playing with it instead of eating it. While your cat’s fun time activity may help you get rid of a few roaches, you may see several pieces of the bug lying in your home.

So, be prepared to clean the mess. Not only that, but you must sanitize your home to remove the bacteria or parasites that may cause infection later on.

Can Cats Deter Roaches From Entering Your Home?

Yes, cats are born hunters. In fact, they have an impressive history of serving as pest controllers. You’d be surprised that several cat breeds were explicitly cultivated to deal with pest infestations.

Pests are believed to evacuate your home on their own when they know you have a cat. Roaches are no exception. These annoying creatures also distance themselves from animals that out-size them.

So, roaches might avoid visiting your place if you have a playful cat always up for a roach-catching game.

Do Cats Eliminate Cockroaches?

Cats can be great for scaring off and eliminating roaches. However, that depends on the infestation you’re dealing with and your cat’s diet.

Outdoor cats may help you deter a few animals from invading your backyard. In addition, if you enjoy farming or caring for your veggie garden, cats can impressively keep birds and rodents away.

That’s why your cat’s consistent presence can force roaches to leave your place. But, the question is: “Can cats wipe out entire roach colonies?” Unfortunately, the answer can be a bit complicated.

Since cats are playful creatures, they pounce on every moving thing they see. So, they love to lunge on roaches and perhaps kill a few. But, that’s not true for all occasions, considering the energy it takes to catch those speedy roaches. A well-fed cat may be a bit lazy for the chase. Therefore, they may not be as effective in getting rid of these bugs.

Additionally, the extent of roach infestation in your house determines how effectively a cat can help you eliminate them. So, if your cat is on its own against hundreds of roaches, you’re less likely to get effective results.

Do Cats Like to Eat Roaches?

Since cockroaches are invertebrates rich in protein, cats may eat them. That’s because cats are innate predators for:

  • Herpetofauna
  • Birds
  • Invertebrates
  • Small mammals

But although the pesky bugs are nutritional snacks devoured by many animals, your fluffy mate may not prefer eating them. So, a cat may or may not eat a cockroach it kills. Sounds a bit confusing, doesn’t it?

Well, it depends on the hunger level of your cat. A starving cat is more likely to kill and eat a roach than a well-fed feline with generous caretakers. The latter type of cats kill bugs for fun but avoid eating them.

Do Roaches Avoid Coming Close to a Cat?

Cockroaches usually avoid coming close to cats because of the feline’s giant size. These tiny pests use their anti-predator behavior to prevent cats and other objects that can be a threat.

Roaches rely on their defense system that helps them sense danger and move quickly. These qualities make cockroaches hard to catch. Moreover, they can easily squeeze and fit themselves into the tiniest places.

So, even if your cat spots them, they’re great at scooting away within seconds after sensing danger.

However, we do not know how cautious roaches are around cats. Since roaches wait for everyone to sleep to come out, this may make you think that your cat has effectively scared them off.

Are Cockroaches Attracted to Cats?

Cockroaches perceive cats as a threat and are naturally not attracted to them. But, dirty cat litter boxes and food may call the roaches in for a treat. Additionally, cat food bowls may serve as a consistent food source for roaches since they are:

  • Easily accessible
  • Have low attention
  • Left unattended
  • Placed in less foot traffic areas

So, roaches may scuttle around your cat bedding and litter boxes to feed and hide.

In addition, food left in the open air without non-airtight containers also attracts these pests. Furthermore, flimsy food bags that may rot or get chewed may spill the content, serving as open invitations for roaches.

Why Does Your Cat Keep Bringing Dead Roaches?

Imagine enjoying your favorite TV show, and your cat brings you a dead roach. You might think the pet is trying to alert you of a roach infestation. However, this gesture has an entirely different story.

Some reasons your cat brings you the roaches’ corpses are:

Teach You Hunting

Some people believe cats bring their owners near-dead or dead roaches to show them how to get better at hunting. It’s funny that your cat thinks you are a lousy hunter.

Improve Their Skills

Mother cats teach their young ones to hunt by bringing them vulnerable prey. This can help the kittens practice their skills and become expert hunters. Moreover, cats may also take their meals to safe spots for eating.

However, if you have an outdoor pet cat, it might not hunt roaches in the house.

Regardless of the reason, you can’t just ask your innocent pet to stop bringing you dead prey. Instead, you can limit their access to roaches. But first, you must get rid of the cockroaches as soon as possible.

Can Some Cats Hunt Roaches Better Than Others?

Cats have been selectively bred throughout the centuries. The goal has always been to enhance their different traits, mainly pest-control abilities. As a result, certain cat breeds are better pest-hunters than others.

However, this was mainly done to eliminate mice and not roaches. So, cats were never trained or used for tracking the pesky roaches.

So, where should you look for a cat that can hunt roaches? Well, you can select from one of the best mouse-catching breeds. That’s because cats that are great mouse chasers may also have the same instincts for killing and hunting cockroaches.

Here are some characteristics of mouse-catching cats that can help them hunt roaches:

  • Dexterity to hunt tiny pests scuttling around and rip them into small pieces.
  • Speed for small and agile pests.
  • Instant Reaction for mice and roaches since they are pro hiders and only appear in a rapid scurrying movement.
  • A Persistent Instinct for Hunting as they don’t quit until the pest dies.

What Cat Breeds Have the Best Mouse Hunting Traits?

Several cat breeds are selectively cultivated for pest control abilities. Here are some examples:

  • American Shorthairs
  • Persians
  • Burmese
  • Chartreux
  • Siamese
  • Turkish Angora
  • Manx
  • Maine Coons
  • Japanese Bobtail
  • Siberian

If you have a cat from any of the above breeds, know that you’ve brought a roach killer without realizing it. These cat breeds are fast and responsive to run after fast-moving roaches like mice.

Is it Safe for Cats to Eat Cockroaches?

Roaches can cause several health issues in cats despite having a high nutritional content. In fact, eating these pests can be hazardous for your cat. That’s because roaches have a tough exoskeleton and carry several dangerous parasites, bacteria, and poisons.

Therefore, cockroaches are not an ideal meal for cats, and they should stay away from these pests. However, if your domestic cat engulfs a roach or two, don’t get worried. Your cat can easily survive eating a cockroach unless the bug isn’t exposed to some poison.

Regardless, your cat is prone to the following dangers if it continues eating roaches:

Choking Hazard

Roaches possess a rigid exoskeleton. So if your cat chews one, it may have difficulty swallowing. In worse cases, your cat may choke on a roach’s exoskeleton. Even if the cat succeeds in swallowing the roach, they’re more likely to choke while coughing up a hairball.

Things can get even worse if your cat picks a giant roach to eat, as big ones can block your cat’s throat entirely.

You may be wondering why your cat isn’t a great chewer. That’s because they don’t have the grinding ability that breaks the roaches’ hard outer shells into smaller, finer chunks before swallowing.

Moreover, cats may experience oral irritation from eating cockroaches. That’s because roaches crawl through filth and dirty drains filled with hundreds of harmful bacteria. So, at first, your cat may have a small cut from the shards, and as days pass, it may end up with an oral infection.

Nausea or Vomiting

As discussed above, cockroach shells are mostly indigestible for cats. So, when a cat eats a roach, its digestive juice tries hard to dissolve the roaches’ shells, but they can not be broken down completely. This leaves larger pieces behind, making the cat nauseous, which leads to vomiting.

This gives you a nasty cleaning job ahead of you. Also, since cats can not grind their food like other animals, the hard shells of the roaches directly pass their gut as a whole. This can be dangerous for the pet since indigestible matter (stool) can create blockages, leading to serious health issues.

If these problems are left untreated, your cat may have to go under surgery for the treatment.


Cockroaches can be slightly painful to bite and swallow for cats, but they are naturally non-poisonous. Yes, eating them can cause irritation and swelling, but aside from that, the pests may not poison your cat with venom.

However, roaches are invasive pests, and many households counter roach infestations in various ways. For instance, many people use poisonous baits and chemical insecticides to eliminate cockroaches.

So, if a roach was exposed to any poison before your cat ate it, the feline may fall sick. If your cat was already unwell, you’d need to visit the vet clinic as soon as possible.

To know if your cat is poisoned from eating roaches, you must inspect the following symptoms:

  • Irritated stomach, throat, or mouth
  • Digestive stress
  • Toxicosis

Bacteria and Parasites

Roaches are indeed a hub of bacteria and parasites. They love to scuttle around filthy drains and sewers, carrying several harmful germs that accumulate around the pest’s exoskeleton. This is why roaches are considered one of the leading carriers of bacteria and parasites.

In addition, the tiny creatures also spend their time searching for food in compost, rotten food, fecal matter, trash bins, and other stuff. So, when your cat eats a cockroach, it does not only swallow the roach. Instead, it ingests traces of all elements the bug had gathered from the time they were born.

As a result, your cat may have an upset stomach for days to come. In fact, a study shows that roaches carry several parasites, with hookworm being the most common.

Therefore, cockroaches may transfer the parasite to their predator when it eats them. If your cat eats hookworm-infested roaches, it may show the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Weight loss
  • Internal bleeding
  • Death (if not treated promptly)

Feline hookworm infestations are largely found in kittens. Since these parasites are prevalent, the chances of your pet getting infected are high. Therefore, you must keep your house roach free and maintain a deworming schedule for your pet.

Should You Keep Roaches Away from Your Domestic Cat?

Your cat may seem innocently playing with roaches around the house. But, you can never tell when it may swallow its prey and choke or fall sick.

So, letting your cat hunt roaches or keeping it away from the pests is entirely your choice.

Although cats hunting roaches may help you get rid of the pests, it also creates a lot of mess. Also, the contaminated roaches’ shells pose a significant danger for your family and pets. So, it’s better to distance the cat from cockroaches.


Is It Safe for Cats to Eat Roaches?

No, it is not safe for cats to eat roaches. Although roaches are non-toxic to cats, their exoskeleton might cause the pet to choke. In addition, your cat may suffer from indigestion due to eating cockroaches.

Will Cats Keep Roaches Away?

Yes, your cat can deter roaches away as the bugs consider these feline creatures a predator. Moreover, the large size of the cats also keeps roaches from coming out in open spaces.

Can Cats Smell Bugs?

Cats have great-smelling noses and can trace cockroaches and other pests like mice. Since roaches have a distinctive odor, your cat may smell and detect their nesting even before you. Therefore, having a pet cat can help detect pest infestations.

Final Thoughts

Cats are great pets to have around the house. They can cheer up your mood and help keep bugs and mice away from your home.

Your feline pet may also hunt a roach or two for fun, but it’s never safe for them to eat the bug. Therefore, you should consider keeping your playful cat away from roaches.

Getting rid of the pests ensures a hygienic and clean environment for your pets. So, if you can’t get rid of roaches with DIY techniques, contact a professional pest exterminator service at your earliest convenience.