The idea of eating insects makes a lot of people feel a bit queasy, but for cats, insects would make up a good part of their daily intake when they live in the wild. And this includes crickets which in the wild would likely be a staple for cats.
They are easy to find, fun for cats to hunt, and provide a huge range of nutrients and protein which cats require to stay healthy.
So, it makes sense that in the wild at least, crickets would make up part of a cat’s meal. But what about house cats?
Can cats eat crickets if they aren’t used to fending for themselves?
Short answer: Yes. Barring pesticides or the occasional oral irritation, crickets are absolutely safe for cats to eat and carry many benefits.
Do Cats Like Crickets?
Most cats will quite happily hunt, catch, and even eat crickets. Domestic cats though, since they have a plentiful food supply from you, are more likely to hunt them for fun rather than for food, whereas feral or wild cats will eat them.
Don’t be surprised if your cat happily crunches up her kill of crickets, despite having a full food bowl. Crickets are something that many cats will want to eat because of their nutritional benefits. But equally don’t be surprised if your cat is disinterested.
I don’t think my old cat has eaten a bug in her entire life, though the young one would probably snap up crickets if she was given the chance (she certainly eats other bugs). Not eating crickets won’t hurt cats any more than eating them does.
Do Cats Hate Crickets?
I think my cat (the geriatric one) would turn her nose up at crickets! Even when she was young, she didn’t like to eat bugs. Some cats simply don’t like to eat insects and that’s ok. They get all the nutrition they require from their usual cat food anyway, so you certainly don’t have to go out of your way to provide crickets.
Can Eating Crickets Kill My Cat?
Seeing your cat eat crickets might gross you out, but they won’t hurt your cat! Crickets are non-toxic to cats and only rarely carry parasites or have such a high level of pesticides as to make your cat ill.
That being said, there are a few things to keep an eye out for, especially if it’s the first time your cat has eaten a cricket, or if it’s a particularly large cricket!
- Cuts in the mouth. The exoskeleton of cricket can cause cuts in their mouth which can then cause a cat’s mouth to be irritated. This can then make cats less likely to eat, have bad breath, and bleeding gums. It’s far from fatal of course, but it is irritating, and you might need to feed your cat very soft food for a few days while it heals.
- Stomach upset. Some cats have very sensitive stomachs and may not feel very well after eating a cricket
- Some crickets carry parasites like the stomach worm. It’s pretty rare, but ensuring that your cat is dewormed and keeping an eye out for symptoms of diarrhea or anemia is important
- Insecticides. Crickets can be exposed to insecticides which can then be passed on to the cat. Insecticides can make a cat quite ill and exhibit symptoms ranging from vomiting to twitching, to tremors, to lethargy. If your cat seems very ill after eating crickets, take it to the vet.
Fortunately, most of these things are pretty rare. Cats can almost always eat crickets and suffer absolutely no side effects for it.
How Many Crickets Can I Feed My Cat?
There’s really no limit to the number of crickets a cat can eat – when they are full, they’ll wander off and stop eating them. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend rushing out and buying crickets for your cat to eat though, simply because for a cat, the thrill is in the hunt, and you probably don’t want to let a bunch of live crickets loose in your house!
Crickets can make up a good part of a cat’s diet, but insects shouldn’t be the entirety of what a cat eats. They don’t have taurine which is an absolutely essential amino acid, and they might not have enough water in them either (though they do make a good healthy food since they are antibiotic, GMO, and heavy metal free).
But as a supplement to what a cat regularly eats, a treat, or as part of a meal, feeding your cat crickets is fine and you don’t really have to worry about how many your cat eats. They’ll self-regulate.
The Benefits of Eating Crickets for your Cat
Crickets (and many other bugs) have some great benefits for cats and these benefits are both physical and for mental stimulation, since they are small, agile, and harder to catch. Crickets are high in:
- Iron, which is necessary for healthy red blood cells and carries oxygen around the body
- Vitamin B12 is necessary for the immune system, digestive system, and brain
- Omega 3 Fatty acids, which is an anti-inflammatory acid that is also good for the coat
- Calcium prevents kidney failure and is good for bone health
- Prebiotic fiber from the exoskeleton
Crickets are also good for your cats because they are a little harder to hunt than other insects – they are fast, agile, and small so they can hide. This forces your cat to work on their own hunting skills which improve their agility, cognitive functions, and attention.
All in all, crickets are just really beneficial for cats, plus it cuts down on the number that might be trying to take over your garden or yard!
Watching a cat crunch up a cricket is probably not a pleasant sight for you, but for a cat, it’s a great snack and several of them make for a great meal.
They are high very healthy, good practice for hunting, and only rarely carry issues that can make a cat sick. So, if you see your cat catch a cricket, let it enjoy its treat and give your cat some praise for its excellent hunting skills.
Does your cat eat crickets? I think my oldest cat would ignore them, but the young one might gobble them down, given a chance.
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.