Can Cats Eat Ants? 3 Benefits And 5 Proven Risks You Must Watch

3/14/2023 - 2 Comments

Nowadays, ants are a typical worry in almost every modern home. Despite their tiny size, these insects may be rather bothersome.

Your adorable cat may be a vicious predator, always prepared to pounce on a target animal. Many cats like chasing and playing with ants.

But, can cats eat ants? You shouldn't worry if your cat eats ants because it often doesn't create any issues.

Your cat can eat black ants without becoming sick, which can benefit them. In some circumstances, though, feeding your cat ants can be harmful.

This post will cover all you need to know about cats eating ants and its potential dangers. Let's get going!

Can Cats Eat Ants? 

A cat

Do cats eat ants? Indeed, cats can eat ants, and this is a common occurrence. Don't need to be worried because cats only eat several ants.

Most ants don't have any components in them that would seriously endanger cats. They are, therefore, secure in that regard.

Ants also carry other nutrients. After consuming enough, ants are rich in calcium, zinc, iron, and protein.

They are also low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. If your cat consumes ants, there can be some benefits.

Source Of Protein

Eating ants will give your cats a protein source is one of the most evident advantages. It can help a cat's nutritional requirements as it grows.

Protein is crucial for muscle development and repair and helps supply the energy required for everyday tasks. Also, as cats need adequate calories from protein sources to maintain weight, it can aid in weight management.

Provide Nutrients 

Ants provide cats extra dietary advantages besides only protein. Creating energy and developing red blood cells in cats are examples of metabolic activities that require critical amino acids and vitamins, such as B vitamins.

Moreover, ants include nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus, promoting the health of cats' bones, teeth, muscles, and skin.

Sense Stimulation

Consuming ants have a less evident advantage of stimulating a cat's senses. The pheromones given out by ants can cause cats to engage in this innate behavior, which enhances their capacity for cerebral stimulation and physical activity.

Cats can also enjoy the tactile sensation of ant hunting. They usually collect ants when they walk outdoors, on the ground, or hanging from trees or plants.

Risks When Your Cat Eats Ants 

Golden ants

When your cat consumes ants, there are dangers. If cats consume too many ants, they could occasionally get stomach problems or flatulence.

Your cat may drool excessively or develop breathing problems if too many ants bite him in the neck region. Formic acid may cause an allergic reaction in particular cats. Find out some of the potential dangers of cats eating ants:

Be Bitten By Ants

Carpenter ants that are larger can sting. If your cat comes across many of them, it's one of the worst ants stings they may have.

Cat ant bites are often accompanied by itching, redness, and lameness. Use an ice pack wrapped in a wet tea towel for five to ten minutes if an ant has bitten your pet.

To prevent frostbite, take it off every few minutes. If the bite is on the foot, you can soak the person's foot in a cold water bath for 5–10 minutes.

Fire Ants

Your cat may mistakenly consume fire ants if he ventures outside in quest of small, swift-moving ants. Fire ants pose extra risks due to their formic acid.

Formic acid is an ant venom used to poison or kills other insects. Ants won't usually hurt your cat if he eats one fire ant, but he can have mouth and throat discomfort if he eats numerous fire ants.

Although this venomous bite usually doesn't result in death, an allergic reaction might cause death. That would be severe, and when the cat's bites mount up, your pet may end up dying if it is unable to escape a mound in time.

Keep your cats away from red ants, to cut a long story short. Eliminate them as soon as you become aware of any in your yard, and take their bodies with you.

Poison & Insecticides

An ant trap

Cats are little pets. Therefore the quantity of ant venom that might cause them injury or death may be less than you think. 

You must be cautious in eliminating the ant population. When consumed, ants exposed to poison or pesticides might hurt your cat.

Because the poison is frequently used to keep ants away, your cat may be at risk if it consumes ants that may have ingested ant poison or walk through it. If your cat contacts pesticides, it may also experience other symptoms.

Depending on the amount of poison he consumed, he could experience pain, convulsions, nausea, or paralysis. If a pesticide is ingested in excess, it may be lethal.

You do not want your cat to consume ant bait, even if it is less poisonous than chemical sprays. Ant baits include boric acid, which the EPA classifies as a moderately acutely hazardous substance.

It can be harmful if your cat consumes or contacts it directly. By cleaning itself, the cat can consume the insecticides.

A significant quantity of boric acid would need to be present for a healthy adult cat to get seriously sick. The consequences can be more severe in kittens, senior cats, and cats with chronic illnesses.

Specific bait may include Arsenic, which is more harmful than boric acid. Chronic exposure will reduce appetite and harm nerves, while excessive levels will result in death.

So, depending on the kind and quantity of harmful compounds they contain, ant bait and ant traps may result in the death of your cat. Call your veterinarian if you think your cat may have eaten or been bitten by a harmful bug.

Using an ultrasonic pest repeller or a pet-safe exterminator service is the safest approach to getting rid of the bugs without endangering your cat. These gadgets use electricity to repel ants and insects without endangering your pets.


If the cat becomes used to eating insects like ants, he can start eating bugs he sees outside. Because not all bugs and insects are acceptable, you don't want your pet to develop undesired risks.

See more cat pictures at: Cat Images

Diseases And Parasites

Another cause for caution is that eating ants might expose your cat to diseases and parasites. Certain ants do carry pathogens that can harm your pet. It is less likely to happen if your cat ate anything like a flea or a mosquito.

One of the bacterial illnesses that ants may spread is salmonella. They could also be tapeworms and other parasite carriers.

It might be challenging to pinpoint the specific source of your cat's tapeworm or salmonella infection. Thus, it can be something to consider if your cat often consumes ants.

The symptoms your cat experiences, if he has a disease or parasite spread to him by ants, will depend on that sickness or parasite.

So let's say you have reason to believe your cats have been eating ants; let your veterinarian know because it may be challenging to determine the exact cause of some parasites and bacterial diseases.

Are Ants Toxic To Cats? 

Black ants

Even though your cat might like playing with some ants, you shouldn't worry that they'll end up in their stomach. For your pet, ants are neither harmful nor hazardous.

But it would help if you didn't let your cat consume the little fire ants. They will cause the mouth of your cat to smoke.

Maybe a more significant issue is giant black ants. Although a black ant won't kill your cat if your cat eats it, if they don't eat it right away, it might bite your tongue.

Eating live ants wouldn't endanger the cat. The same chemicals that kill the ants enter your cat's system when it eats insects that insecticides have killed.

Can Cats Get Worms From Eating Ants 

Cats often get worms by consuming flies or coming into contact with fleas carrying worm-causing larvae. Ants provide a far lower threat to your pet than fleas and flies.

Hence, it would help if you could stop your cat eating ants to prevent him from getting worms from ants.

Why Do Cats Like To Eat Ants? 

Red ants

Cats enjoy catching ants because it stimulates their minds and aids them in improving their hunting abilities. If your cat pursues and consumes ants groveling on the sidewalk, his innate hunting instincts are undoubtedly at work.

As weird as it may sound, your cat enjoys eating ants because they make them happy. Some even believe it gives your cat a "high" feeling.

Formic and oleic acids are abundant in ants. In addition, one of the primary ingredients of cat pheromones is oleic acid.

Cats and ants both contain this fatty acid. Cats' face pheromone has been shown to include between 43 and 65% oleic acid, which implies that this may be the reason why they react violently to crushed ants.

Because when ants are squashed, most pheromones are released. Your cat enjoys the pleasant sensation it gets when dead ants emit their potent pheromones.

Hence, a cat could chase one ant as part of its natural reaction to motion. Yet after pursuing and destroying the bug, your cat will be motivated to pursue other ants after smelling the potent pheromones.

In addition, he can't get rid of the ants on his meal, so he eats them along with it. Some cats, especially those who grow sufficiently hungry, may not care whether their meal contains ants. 

However, other cats may. As long as the ants don't bother or hurt him, your cat can't see why he shouldn't be permitted to enjoy them.

The Consequences Of Eating Fire Ants By Cats 

Cat vomit

Cats have to pay the price if they wish to play with fire ants or red ants. Red ants respond quickly when their home is threatened and do it in great numbers.

Red ants are a severe menace to cats since they can be poisoned to death by their stings. Their bite can give people a severe allergic reaction and blistering, swelling, and other side effects.

The red ant injects its victim with a poisonous alkaloid, immediately causing blistering and stinging. It would be severe since the cat's bites may kill your pet if it cannot escape a mound.

If it's alive, red ants will also bite. Being bitten somewhere else, like the throat on the way down, will cause swelling in the cat's windpipe. Suffocation will hit suddenly if this occurs.

Do Ants Make Cats High?

A “high” cat

Cats can detect the presence of oleic acid, which is present in crushed ants. When cats brush their cheeks and chins against objects, they release a pheromone-like oleic acid.

Oleic acid has a calming scent that promotes typical feline behavior. It may explain why your cat acts "high" around ants and even tries to squash more of them.

How To Keep Ants Off Of Cat Food?

Cat food with ants

Ants will undoubtedly answer the dinner bell once they realize a bowl of cat food is waiting for them. It affects some people more than others, and the severity of the issue varies by location. Here are a few ideas:

  • Put cat food in a pail or bucket made of plastic.
  • Place the food dish in the middle of a tray that can hold a modest amount of water. Ants cannot dive. Thus if they attempt to strike the bowl, they will perish.
  • To prevent a problem with stagnant water, it is a good idea to empty the water when the cat has eaten. Water that has remained still attracts insects.
  • By maintaining clean feeding places, ants have little need to explore the field.
  • Put the infected food in the trash immediately, seal the bag, and take it outside. Ants won't be able to re-enter the cat's nutrition this way.
  • When your cat finishes eating, tidy the area surrounding the food and wash the dish.
  • Employ natural ant-repellent agents like vinegar, lemon, chalk, ash, aromatic oils, cinnamon, petroleum jelly, or petroleum.

Find some easy methods by watching the following video:


Can cats eat ants? Cats eat ants for entertainment or because they are in their cat food. The good news is that eating ants usually won't hurt your cat.

Don't panic if you see your cat pursuing and chomping on black ants. Like red ants, they don't sting and discharge venom.

Yet, there are several circumstances in which a cat shouldn't consume an ant. Get rid of any red ant mounds you notice nearby.

Suppose you want to be safe and prevent your cat from eating ants when outside. Keep a close eye on him. Lastly, ensure no ants are on his food by checking it.

See more:

Can Cats Eat Rotisserie Chicken? All You Must Know

Can Cats Eat Lobster? 5 Proven Advice That You Need To Consider

Can Cats Eat Prosciutto? 2 Benefits & 4 Risks Of Feeding Cats

Can Cats Eat Smoked Salmon? 7 Possible Risks You Must Know

Can Cats Eat Rotisserie Chicken? All You Must Know

About Billy Nguyen
I'm Billy Nguyen, currently CEO/Founder Cat Images, with over 3 years of experience in cat care and training. I hope the knowledge I share brings useful value to promote your pet care effectively.

Leave a Comment