Can Cats Eat Ants? Is It Safe? (2024)


Ants are prevalent throughout the summer. Inevitably, your cat also notices the ants, regardless of whether they’re outdoors or inside, strolling around your counter. But can cats eat ants?

Cats can consume ants; however, they should avoid fire ants. Because of their toxins, eating ants can weaken a cat’s coat over time and cause gastric problems.

In addition, oleic acid found in ants may cause your cat to feel calm since oleic acid also forms a part of a cat’s facial gland emissions.

Although ants might not be at the top of your list of favorite foods, cats find them entertaining to watch and a tasty treat, so you don’t need to be concerned that your cat has developed an odd new behavior.

Learn more to understand why your cat eats ants.

Other articles you would like: Do Cats Scratch Leather? How To Protect Leather Furniture From Cats? (2023) and How to Put a Cat on A Diet? (2023).

Is It Normal for Cats to Eat Ants?


Yes, cats are known to consume ants. Ants are common and are likely to pique your cat’s curiosity because of their fast movements. An unattended cat that is constantly hungry is likelier to eat ants routinely.

Even though most people do not want to eat ants, cats frequently consume them. They often hunt ants for fun, not because they are hungry. Although chasing ants isn’t nearly as much fun as chasing birds, it still works for a cat.

It’s okay for your cats to have this habit because ants are typically harmless to cats. However, if they overeat, they could have stomach problems. Fortunately, since most cats only occasionally eat ants in small quantities, there is minimal cause for concern.

Your cat’s ant consumption may even make you glad, especially if ants are a problem in your house! Your cat serves as a pest control expert.

What Happens If My Cat Eats Too Many Ants?


Most cats experience no symptoms if they eat an excessive amount of ants. Symptoms may arise due to specific circumstances.

For instance, if your cat ate fire ants, the ants’ bites may have caused him considerable oral discomfort. If too many ants bite your cat in the neck region, he or she may drool excessively or possibly experience breathing difficulties.

Some cats may experience an allergic response to formic acid. Formic acid is the substance found in the stings of more than 300 species of ants.

Your cat may also have additional symptoms if it comes into contact with insecticides, whether directly or as a result of consuming an excessive number of ants.

Depending on how much poison he ingested, he could also experience pain, vomiting, convulsions, or paralysis.

Too much insecticide can potentially be fatal if it is ingested. If you see any signs or strange behaviors in your cat, immediately contact a poison control hotline for animals or take your cat to the clinic.

Your cat may ingest ants that have a disease or a parasite. If you know your cat eats ants regularly, make sure to check them for signs of these parasites or diseases often.

But if you suspect your cat has been consuming ants, inform your veterinarian because it can be challenging to pinpoint the source of some bacterial illnesses and parasites.

Are Ants Dangerous to Cats? What Kind of Ants Are Dangerous?


Ants are not dangerous to cats. You don’t need to worry about your cat consuming ants. They often enjoy playing with ants outside.

Ants do not contain any substances that are dangerous or hazardous to your cat. However, keeping your cat from consuming the tiny, red fire ants you occasionally spot outside would be best. These might cause your cat’s lips to burn.

Large black ants should raise more alarm, but not because they are poisonous.

Cats can get bitten by black ants. The larger they are, the more bite force they will have. If your cat does manage to ingest a black ant, they won’t be poisoned, but they could have a pinched tongue!

Why Does My Cat Like to Eat Ants?


The reasons cats consume ants depend on the environment. Are ants crawling on your cat’s food, or is your cat pursuing and devouring them? In any case, it’s uncommon to be related to your cat’s desire for a tasty snack due to hunger.

Ants can provide cats with protein, which they require as their primary diet because they are carnivores.

However, there is not nearly enough protein in ants for your cat to consider them as food. Your cat’s natural hunting instincts are probably at play if he chases and eats ants crawling on the pavement.

If your cat chases and eats ants that were only quietly creeping about, it’s probably just because they think they’ll be easy prey to catch. Cats like catching ants (and other bugs) because it helps them improve their hunting techniques and stimulates their minds.

A different explanation for why your cat is eating ants arises if they are crawling over the food your cat is consuming. The ants are already on his food, and he can’t remove them, so he consumes them along with his food. That’s the only explanation.

While some cats may refuse to eat their food if it contains ants, others don’t care, particularly if they are hungry. Your cat could not see why he shouldn’t be able to enjoy the ants as long as they don’t annoy or injure him.

Do Cats Get High from Ants?


Cats don’t get high from ants, but they do react to a chemical found in ants.

Both formic and oleic acids are found in ants. The ants use these compounds as pheromones to interact with one another about ant-life-related topics.

These compounds are released when ants are killed and crushed, and cats are far better at smelling them than humans are. Formic acid doesn’t cause cats to react, but oleic acid does.

Oleic acid is also a key component of the pheromone that cats rub on objects to release from their face glands. They are soothed by it, and when they come into contact with it, their natural reaction is to rub on top of it.

So, a cat gets a snug, homey feeling that helps her feel peaceful and joyful when she encounters a clump of crushed ants generating loads of oleic acid.

Does Eating Ants Give Cats Worms?


Although ants may not be the most typical insect to be concerned about, there is a small risk that your cat will acquire worms by eating them.

Cats typically get worms by ingesting flies or coming into contact with fleas carrying worm-causing eggs.

Ants are significantly less dangerous for your cat than flies and fleas. So keeping that in mind, you shouldn’t be too concerned that ants can give your cat worms.

You must prevent your cat from eating insects, not just ants, if you are concerned about the likelihood of your cat having worms.

Fleas can also transfer the eggs to cats when your cat is grooming.

Dangers of Cats Eating Ants


When your cat consumes ants, there are dangers, just as with anything else that isn’t cat food.

Ant Bites

As previously mentioned, larger carpenter ants may bite; if your cat meets many of them, it might receive an ant bite.

Habit Formation


Your cat could become accustomed to eating outside insects like ants and consuming whatever it sees. You don’t want your cat to develop a negative habit since not all bugs and insects are okay for your cat to eat.


If ants were treated with insecticides, that is another problem you need to watch out for. Say, for instance, that you or a pest control professional used poison to eradicate multiple ant beds from your yard.

Some of the insecticide’s poison may get into your cat’s system if it consumes an ant from a poisoned ant bed. Once again, your cat shouldn’t suffer any negative effects from eating one ant. If they start to exhibit symptoms, they might have ingested some chemicals. Any cat exhibiting severe symptoms should be taken to a vet.

Fire Ants


Formic acid is a chemical found in some ants, most notably fire ants. Formic acid is a venom used to poison or kill other insects.

Even though consuming one fire ant normally won’t cause harm to your cat, consuming several fire ants may cause him to experience mouth and throat irritation.

Parasites And Diseases


The possibility of your cat contracting illnesses and parasites from eating ants is another reason to be concerned. Some ants contain diseases that can harm your cat; however, this is much less likely to occur than if your cat ate a mosquito or a flea.

Salmonella is one of the bacterial infections that ants may transmit. They may also be parasite carriers with tapeworms. Your cat’s health may be impacted by both of these and other diseases that can be spread by ants.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Kills Ants Without Hurting Cats?

Pet-safe, non-toxic ant killers can be found in grocery stores or online. Additionally, diatomaceous earth can be used to kill ants without hurting your feline friend.

Do Ants Like Cat Litter?

If you have clay cat litter, you might find ants marching around in the litter box. However, the smell of cat urine generally wards off ants.

How Do I Keep Ants Out of My Cat’s Food?

Store extra cat food in a sealed container, like a bag or plastic tupperware with a lid. Make sure to remove your cat’s food bowl and clean the area regularly.

Can Cats Eat Ants? It Depends on the Situation


Your cat may like to eat ants for a variety of reasons. Whether your cat spends a lot of time outside or is only eating cats off the countertops, it’s crucial to watch him to ensure that he doesn’t consume anything dangerous.

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