There is nothing quite as irritating as getting bitten by mosquitoes on a hot and humid summer day.
Hearing them constantly buzzing around your ears and having to swat them away takes effort too.
I can’t say that I share the same enthusiasm as my cat when it comes to killing mosquitoes. He goes bonkers when he hears or sees one and will chase it around the whole house just to swat it.
He doesn’t eat them but derives great pleasure from being the best mosquito exterminator in the family.
But can cats eat mosquitoes?
Is it really safe for them?
Cats can eat mosquitoes as they don’t really pose a health risk to cats. Even though mosquitoes can carry diseases, your cat’s stomach acid can neutralize them. The danger comes from mosquito bites which can cause serious health problems.
Let’s take a deeper look at how mosquitoes can harm your cat and what you can do to protect your precious feline friend.
What Are Mosquitoes?
Mosquitoes do not need any introduction as they are always found in every part of the world. They are flying winged insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals.
Some mosquitoes can be carriers of viruses and diseases. In fact, they are known to transmit some of the worst illnesses known to mankind like malaria and dengue.
These diseases kill millions of people worldwide every year.
They get infected when they suck the blood of living things that are already infected. They then reinfected other people or even our pets when they bite us.
Mosquitoes identify their targets from carbon dioxide, body heat, movement and smell. Only female mosquitoes feed on blood to nourish their eggs.
Why Cats Love Catching Mosquitoes?
Cats have evolved to be excellent hunters and have one of the best kill ratios in the animal kingdom. Their acute senses and lightning-fast reflexes are almost second to none.
Although we humans struggle to even spot the mosquito, our cats can lock in on their targets in a flash.
Cats love hunting anything that is fluttering in the air or wriggling on the ground. It activates the hunter and predator in them, even for domestic cats.
Most cats kill mosquitoes for fun and won’t find them appetizing as cats don’t eat insects as part of their diet.
To see cats eating mosquitoes is actually uncommon.
Is It Safe For My Cat To Eat A Mosquito?
Most cats are not at risk if they happen to eat a mosquito or two occasionally. Cats eat meat to survive which makes them carnivores. They can eat raw meat without any problems at all.
Many stray and feral cats eat food that isn’t exactly fresh or clean but they don’t suffer from any adverse effects.
Their bodies are designed to handle pathogens that we humans can’t.
When cats eat mosquitoes, their digestive system is strong enough to destroy any contamination in the mosquito.
Another creepy crawly which might seem harmless but can cause an adverse reaction in your cat is the caterpillar. Some species of caterpillars contain toxins that can irritate your cat’s mouth and stomach if ingested.
Do Mosquitoes Bite Cats?
Our cats and pets are not immune to mosquito bites even with their extra protection lawyer of fur.
These mosquitoes are smart and will bite cats where the fur is thinner like the ears and top of the head. This makes it easier for their proboscis to penetrate the skin and draw blood.
If there’s been a mosquito infestation in your neighborhood recently, you might even be able to see a few buzzing around your cat’s head waiting to bite.
How Do I Know If My Cat Has Been Bitten?
While the mosquito is drinking the blood of the cat, it injects its saliva into that area to prevent the blood from clotting.
The skin will start to react to the saliva making it inflamed and itchy.
If your cat has been constantly rubbing or biting at a certain spot on its body, take a look to see if there’s swelling that could be from a mosquito bite.
Can Mosquitoes Hurt Cats?
Well, the answer is yes and no.
Hear me out.
There are about 3000 different species of mosquitoes found around the world. And the good news is, that only a small percentage of these species actually transmit diseases.
The majority of them still bite and drink blood but don’t pass on any viruses or diseases.
Going by the law of probability, even if your cat has a few mosquito bites, it won’t be dangerous.
But hang on.
As loving cat owners, it would be good to know what types of diseases infected mosquitoes can pass to our cats.
What Diseases Can Mosquitoes Transmit to Cats?
Here are the more common health issues that a mosquito can cause for bitten cats.
As scientific as this condition sounds, it actually means mosquito bite hypersensitivity. This refers to cats who are more sensitive to mosquito bites than normal and can develop adverse allergic reactions.
Instead of just getting itchy and swollen bites, cats with this condition develop painful lesions on areas that are least covered with fur.
These lesions often look crusted, raw and watery that require immediate medical attention.
The cat will be given anti-inflammatories to heal the lesions.
Heartworm disease is the most serious threat for cats when it comes to mosquito bites. When a mosquito bites an infected animal with heartworm disease, the heartworm larvae can be injected into your cat’s bloodstream when it gets bitten.
Heartworm in cats can live up to 2-3 years and with each mosquito season, more heartworms can be passed on to your cat.
The bad thing about heartworm disease is that it cannot be cured, only prevented in cats. There is such medication for dogs but it turns harmful when used on felines.
The main reason why it is called heartworm disease is that this parasite resides in the heart of the cat and causes many health problems.
Cats with heartworms will exhibit the following symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty breathing
- Fainting spells
In some cases, it can be serious enough to be fatal. Oral medications like Drontal can help cats combat heartworms.
West Nile Virus
The bite from an infected mosquito can pass on the west nile virus to a cat. This virus comes from infected birds which are carried by the mosquito.
This virus is rarely found in cats and symptoms are mild for a bitten cat. Such cats will show signs of fever, lethargy and restlessness.
There is no specific treatment for this virus but it goes away on its own with general medication.
How To Protect Your Cats From Mosquito Bites?
Given that both humans and cats are not spared when it comes to mosquito bites, it is important to limit your cat’s exposure to them and also repel mosquitoes.
This is even more important if your cat can have a bad allergic reaction to bites.
Don’t Let Your Cats Catch Mosquitoes
Your cat might be the best mosquito killer in the world but if you’re not stopping your cat, you’re encouraging the behavior.
Don’t let your cat regard mosquitoes as playthings.
Restrict your cat’s outdoor access during the dusk and dawn periods as it’s mozzie feeding time.
Use A Pet-Friendly Mosquito Repellant
Even if you restrict your cat’s outdoor access, it is still possible to get bitten by mosquitoes during the day.
You can use a pet-friendly mosquito or insect repellant spray on your cat that can help repel mosquitoes.
Do not use any repellant that is meant for humans or rub essential oils on your cat. These solutions contain ingredients that can do more harm than good to your cat.
Prevent Mosquitoes From Breeding
If you have a garden or backyard, make sure to check that aren’t any pools of stagnant water being collected anywhere.
These make perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes and could lead to an outbreak.
Call a pest exterminator for professional fogging every now and then to really kills them off.
Prevent Access Indoors
Make sure all windows are closed and install screen doors where possible. These methods might not be able to keep those blood-sucking parasites out totally but they can certainly reduce their numbers indoors.
Regular Heartworm Treatment
There is no way to prevent your cat from getting heartworm disease. The best that we can do is to ensure that our cats have regular heartworm treatment to kill off any worms in them.
Doing so can prevent the numbers from escalating and becoming a serious health problem.
As much as we dislike mosquitoes, they have a place in the ecosystem as a food source for birds, insects and small critters.
We still need to be careful during mosquito season or when there’s an outbreak in the neighborhood.
You can effectively protect your cats with the above methods and maybe even yourself.
Iggy Thorne, also known as ‘Iggy the Explorer,’ is a seasoned writer with a flair for adventure and a deep love for animals.
Not only does he craft captivating stories often set in the great outdoors, but he’s also a dedicated pet owner who has owned and fostered both dogs and cats.
His expertise in animal care extends to volunteering at local shelters, making him a credible voice in pet ownership.
With a unique blend of humor and adventure, Iggy’s writing is as engaging as it is informative.