If you have an outdoor cat, chances are they have come across a variety of insects during their adventures. One insect that can capture a cat’s attention is the cicada. These large, buzzing creatures are hard to miss, and it’s not uncommon for cats to be fascinated by their loud noises and erratic flight patterns.
But, as a responsible cat owner, it’s important to know if cicadas are also potentially dangerous for your feline friend. Can cats safely chase and consume cicadas without any adverse effects? Or should you be concerned about the potential toxicity of these insects?
The good news is that cicadas are generally not considered poisonous to cats. While it’s never ideal for your cat to consume insects, especially in large quantities, cicadas are not known to contain any toxic substances that could harm your furry companion. However, this doesn’t mean you should encourage your cat to snack on cicadas.
What are cicadas?
Cicadas are insects that belong to the order Hemiptera and the family Cicadidae. They are known for their distinct sound, which is produced by the males as a mating call. Cicadas are large insects, typically measuring between 1 to 2 inches in length. They have transparent wings and a hard exoskeleton, which is often green or brown in color.
Cicadas have a life cycle that consists of three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The nymphs live underground and feed on tree roots, while the adults emerge from the ground, shed their nymph exoskeleton, and begin their short adult stage. Cicadas are often found in large numbers and are known for their mass emergences called “broods”. These broods can contain thousands or even millions of cicadas.
Cicadas are herbivorous insects and feed on plant fluids. They have piercing-sucking mouthparts that allow them to extract sap from plants. While cicadas may cause damage to trees and shrubs, their feeding habits are generally not harmful to the overall health of the plant.
Overall, cicadas play an important role in ecosystems as a source of food for birds, mammals, and other insects. They also help to aerate the soil and contribute to nutrient cycling. However, their sound can be quite loud and annoying to humans, especially when they emerge in large numbers.
Can cicadas harm cats?
Cicadas are insects that are known for their distinct buzzing sound and are often found in large numbers during the summer months. While cicadas may be a nuisance to humans, it is important to consider their potential impact on our feline companions.
While cicadas themselves are not poisonous to cats, there are some factors to consider. The exoskeleton of a cicada can be tough and difficult to digest, especially for cats with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues. Ingesting a large number of cicadas may cause gastrointestinal upset, leading to symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea.
Additionally, some cicadas are known to produce defensive chemicals or toxins, which they release when threatened. These chemicals are designed to deter predators and may cause irritation or discomfort if they come into contact with a cat’s skin or eyes.
It is important to monitor your cat’s behavior if they come into contact with cicadas. If you notice any signs of gastrointestinal upset or irritation, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian. They can provide guidance and recommend appropriate treatment options based on your cat’s specific needs.
In conclusion, while cicadas themselves are not inherently poisonous to cats, they can cause digestive upset and potential irritation. It is important to be aware of your cat’s interactions with cicadas and seek veterinary care if any issues arise.
Symptoms of cicada poisoning in cats
If a cat ingests a cicada, it may experience various symptoms of poisoning. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:
1. Vomiting: Cats may vomit shortly after ingesting a cicada. The vomit may contain parts of the insect or appear foamy.
2. Diarrhea: Cats may experience diarrhea, which can be watery or contain blood. The stool may have a foul odor and may be more frequent than usual.
3. Abdominal pain: Cats may show signs of discomfort or pain in the abdominal area. They may exhibit restlessness, pacing, or abnormal postures.
4. Decreased appetite: Cats may lose interest in their food and show a decreased appetite. They may refuse to eat or eat smaller amounts than usual.
5. Lethargy: Cats may become lethargic and show a lack of energy. They may seem tired and spend more time sleeping or resting than usual.
6. Excessive drooling: Cats may drool more than usual, and their mouth may appear wet or foamy. This excessive drooling can be a sign of discomfort or toxicity.
7. Difficulty breathing: In severe cases, cats may have difficulty breathing. They may exhibit rapid or shallow breathing, wheezing, or gasping for air.
8. Uncoordinated movements: Cats may show signs of unsteady or wobbly movements. They may have difficulty walking or jumping and may appear disoriented.
It is important to note that these symptoms may vary depending on the individual cat and the severity of the poisoning. If you suspect your cat has ingested a cicada or is showing any of these symptoms, it is recommended to seek veterinary attention immediately.
How to deal with cicada poisoning in cats
If you suspect that your cat has been poisoned by cicadas, it is important to take immediate action to ensure their safety and well-being. Here are the steps you should take:
- Remove the source: If you see any cicadas in your cat’s vicinity, make sure to remove them as quickly as possible. This will help prevent further exposure and reduce the risk of additional poisonings.
- Observe your cat: Keep a close eye on your cat’s behavior and look out for any symptoms of cicada poisoning. These symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation, difficulty breathing, and loss of coordination.
- Contact your vet: If you notice any concerning symptoms or if you strongly suspect that your cat has been poisoned, contact your veterinarian immediately. They will be able to provide you with the appropriate guidance and treatment options.
- Collect a sample: If possible, try to collect a sample of the cicada or any remnants that your cat may have eaten. This can be helpful for your vet to identify the specific species and provide accurate treatment.
- Follow your vet’s instructions: After consulting with your vet, follow their instructions carefully. They may recommend inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal, or providing other supportive care to help your cat recover.
- Monitor your cat: Once your cat is receiving treatment, closely monitor their condition. Watch for any improvements or worsening of symptoms, and report any changes to your vet promptly.
- Prevent future poisonings: Take steps to prevent future cicada poisonings by keeping your cat indoors during periods of high cicada activity. Ensure that your home and backyard are free from cicada swarms, and keep an eye on your cat when outdoors.
Remember, prevention is key when it comes to cicada poisoning in cats. By being vigilant and taking prompt action, you can help keep your furry friend safe from harm.