Cats Hunting Roaches: Can Cats Eat Cockroaches?

Cats are wonderful pets; they relieve stress, they’re great companions, and they can keep pests away!

We know cats do a great job getting mice. But will they do the same with cockroaches? 

Cats may help keep roaches away by hunting and killing them. They also keep roaches in check by consuming them but these pests aren’t exactly an ideal food source for your pets. They may be high in protein but ingesting roaches comes with several risks for cats. 

If you’re interested in finding more on the topic, then you’ve come to the right place. We will be going over everything from what cats do with roaches to the benefits and risks involved and much more!

What Do Cats Do With Cockroaches? 

Here are a few things cats like to do with roaches.

Play With Them

Cats may play with roaches before they eat them. Playful behaviors include batting the cockroach around, sniffing it, biting it, and flicking it up in the air. 

Cats are playful creatures, and the quick, scampering movements of the cockroach easily catch the attention of this animal. In addition, cockroaches are larger than many bugs allowing cats to see them better than other insects. 

The color and hard shell make it easier for cats to catch and play with them, too. 

Remember, though, your pet cat may only play to kill the roach and not eat it. This may sound fine, but if the insect is broken up into tiny bits, your cat may scatter the pieces. This will spread the disease-causing pathogens present on the roach all over your home. 

a cat hunting cockroach

Hunt Them 

Cats may be domesticated animals, but powerful hunting instincts are present in their DNA. 

In fact, the playful behavior in cats stems from their hunting instincts. Cats tend to tire out their hunt by playing with it. This is to stop the cats from getting hurt during the hunt.  

A tired prey won’t fight back, minimizing any chances of injury. 

Housecats, in particular, may engage in this behavior to practice their hunting skills, especially since they don’t get to experience their hunting instinct all that much. 

Eat Them 

Cats may be eating cockroaches in your home for several reasons. For starters, cats are mesopredators, meaning they hunt smaller animals and roaches fall in that category. 

However, just because your cat is eating roaches doesn’t mean it should. 

Sure, it may be a good source of protein, but it is not the preferred meal for cats, especially if there are other options available. 

Since cat-owners provide their cats with the right food, pets may often eat roaches because of PICA. This is when your pet is compelled to eat non-food items due to boredom or compulsive eating. If you believe this is the case, take your fur baby to the vet ASAP. 

As A Gift

Has your cat ever brought you a dead or almost dead roach? It may be gross, but that is the cat’s way of telling you are family. 

Cats are pack animals which means they share what they catch with their clan. This is particularly true for female cats, who would teach their young how to hunt. 

So your cat bringing you a roach is its way of sharing its meal with you and teaching you ways you can hunt. Isn’t that cute? 

Which Cat Breed Is Better To Deter Roaches? 

All types of cats will deter roaches. This is because these pests view cats as predators and keep their distance. 

However, some specific cats have been selectively bred to be better pest-hunters. Although this primarily concerns mice and not roaches, cats can apply the same set of skills to hunting these insects as well.

Most cats have the following characteristics: 

  • Fast reaction time: To catch pests that move fast 
  • Agility: To catch pests that are small and agile and tend to hide in small spaces
  • Persistent hunting skills: To continuously hunt for the pest until found and killed

Since these cats have been bred to hunt pests, they will do a fine job locating roaches in your home. Examples include Persians, Manx, Siberian, Siamese, and American Shorthairs. 

Can Cats Benefit From Eating Cockroaches?

Apart from adding a high source of protein to your cat’s diet, your cat won’t receive any real benefit from eating roaches. 

However, the main benefit to having roaches in your house is the exercise your pet will get from chasing these bugs. 

It is usual for cats, especially domesticated ones, to play with their food before consuming it. In some cases, they may kill it but not eat it. 

Cats Hunting Roaches: Can Cats Eat Cockroaches?

Are There Any Risks Involved In Eating Cockroaches?

It is not beneficial, and there are numerous risks involved in eating cockroaches. Therefore it is best to check on your cats if there are roaches in your home. 


You must have heard the disturbing crunch sound if you’ve ever squashed a cockroach. This sound comes from the breaking exoskeleton that surrounds the insect’s body. 

Even if cats chew the roach well, shards of this hard exoskeleton can be rough or even become lodged in your cat’s throat, choking them. 

If your cat manages to swallow the roach safely, the shell pieces can choke your cat when it coughs up a hairball. 

In addition, regular consumption of roaches has long-term health effects as well. For example, the rough texture of the exoskeleton may ruin your cat’s teeth. 

Indigestible Shell 

You would think the digestive tract will take care of the hard exoskeleton, but unfortunately, these shells are indigestible.

You may find pieces of the exoskeleton in your cat’s litter box. However, even if your cat safely passes these pieces, ingesting cockroaches may cause other digestive problems. 

For example, your cat’s digestive juices may attempt to break down this solid armor, but the bigger pieces remain intact, irritating the digestive tract and causing the cat to throw up. 

Roaches May Be Poisonous 

Although roaches themselves are not venomous creatures, they may poison your pet in other ways. 

These household pests are a nuisance, and people use various chemicals and poisons to eradicate them. This means if your cat eats too many of these chemically treated cockroaches, it may fall sick. 

Although many pesticides claim to be safe for pets, repeated or heavy exposure is another story. For example, your cat may be fine if it inhales the chemicals or cleans it off its fur, but eating cockroaches dowsed in poison may be harmful.  

In addition, cats use their noses to explore and may inhale or ingest more of the pesticide. 

Symptoms of poisoning may include irritation of the mouth and throat, toxicosis, and digestive problems. 

If you see your cat experiencing any of these symptoms, cease using the pesticide immediately and seek medical help. 

Cockroaches Are Dirty 

Cockroaches rummage through garbage, fecal matter, rotten food, and other things ridden with bacteria and parasites. As a result, these insects carry and spread diseases. 

According to Parasite Epidemiology and Control, cockroaches carry multiple parasites, with the most prevalent hookworm (63%). This means that your cat may acquire this intestinal parasite from eating cockroaches. 

Symptoms and complications of hookworms include: 

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Dark stool
  • Anemia (from internal blood loss)
  • Death

Therefore keep a check on your cat and get it dewormed regularly.  

In addition, roaches may contribute to the formation of other infections. For example, the bits of the exoskeleton may cut or scratch your cat’s oral cavity. This open wound, combined with the pathogens that cockroaches carry may give your cat an oral infection. 

Do Cats Invite Cockroaches? 

Since cats are predators of cockroaches, cockroaches run away from cats. However, some factors surrounding cats may invite cockroaches into your home. 

For example, not emptying your cat’s food bowl or leaving it out in the open may attract these insects. Therefore remember to store cat food in an airtight container so the bugs cannot sniff this out. 

In addition, remember to regularly clean out your cat’s litter box as roaches are attracted to fecal matter. 

Roaches may also be attracted to the litter box itself, depending on what kind it is. Sand, silica, and clay-based litter boxes are not edible and won’t interest these insects. 

On the other hand, using cardboard or other recyclable cat litter made with wheat, corn, or beets will entice cockroaches, attracting them to your home. 

Do Cats Invite Cockroaches?

What To Do When You See Your Cat With a Roach 

You probably know by now that roaches are not suitable for your cats to be playing with. Therefore, there are certain things you can try to keep your pet away from these pests. 

Eradicate the Roaches 

You can try many natural methods to eliminate roaches, like using Diatomaceous earth, baking soda, and Boric acid. You can also use pesticides if you believe these methods aren’t sufficient. 

In addition, keep your home clean. Clean up any spills and grease with lemon and water or vinegar and water to ensure no stains are left behind. Keep food in airtight containers, so no roaches come sniffing around. 

You can also use strong-smelling scents like essential oils to deter roaches since these insects cannot stand powerful smells. 

However, if you have a roach infestation, it is best to seek professional help. Getting rid of cockroaches is the first step to keeping yourself, your cat, and your home pest-free. 

Take Your Cat To The Vet

If you’ve seen your cat eating a roach, it’s best to take it to the vet. Deworm your cat and observe any symptoms of pesticide toxicity.

If your cat was eating roaches because of PICA, removal of roaches isn’t enough. You need to treat your cat to stop it from eating non-food items.

Replace Roaches With Gifts 

Unfortunately, the eradication of roaches and treatment of your cat isn’t enough. Cats are hunters and will continue bringing you dead animals as part of their normal behavior.

Of course, you cannot suppress this instinct. Therefore, the best thing to do is replace their prey with toys that satisfy their desire to hunt. 

Toys that require your cat to chase and catch will be mentally stimulating for your pet. Such toys include laser pointers and other moving playthings. 

This mental stimulation is vital in cats as it can prevent behavioral problems. For example, if your kitty is not given enough playtime, they may pounce at your feet or climb on things to catch “prey.” 

Although some kitties are satisfied with laser pointers, others want to feel they have “killed” their prey too. Therefore, if your pet seems frustrated and is constantly attacking things it finds on the floor, you need to provide it with the killing satisfaction. 

You can do this by giving your cat a stuffed animal or something similar that it feels like it has “killed” it. 

If you have an outdoor cat, it will hunt the native wildlife in your area. You can avoid this by tying a bell around the cat’s neck to alert any animals. 

Are Cats Better Roach Hunters Than Dogs? 

Like cats, cockroaches are not a safe treat for dogs. Their exoskeleton is indigestible, they carry bacteria, and the use of insecticides may be poisonous to your dog.

As for hunting, you can train your dog to kill cockroaches without eating them. Moreover, you can also buy a particular breed of dog selectively bred to eliminate pests. 

However, like cats, dogs aren’t the ideal solution to removing pests, and you should seek other means of removal. 

Closing Thoughts 

Your cat may do a great job keeping these pesky pests at bay by either ingesting them or hunting them for fun. 

However, your fur baby won’t be able to do much to end a cockroach infestation.

This is because your cat hunts any stray roaches in its smell or sight range. So eliminating one or two cockroaches won’t affect the roach nest in your home, where the population continues to multiply.  

Therefore, if you believe that your home has a roach infestation, the only solution to completely eradicating these pests is by seeking professional help immediately. 

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