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Are cockroaches safe for cats to eat?

Cats love to hunt bugs, including cockroaches. When a cat’s predatory instincts are strong, it’ll eat the cockroaches they’ve caught. Can cats get sick from eating cockroaches?

While cockroaches contain protein and vitamin B12, they’re unsanitary insects that harbor parasitic worms and bacteria that make cats sick. Their strong exoskeletons can cause oral irritation and gastrointestinal upset so, if a cat eats a poisoned cockroach, it can become ill. Are Cockroaches Good for Cats?

Dead cockroach on floor

Cats need a nutritionally balanced diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals. Without this, they’ll become malnourished and prone to various health conditions.


Cockroaches are a good source of animal protein. While cats would need to eat many cockroaches at a time to get the protein they need, they’re a complete source and provide cats with a protein boost.

Cockroaches have more protein than crickets, containing 35% compared to a cricket’s 21%. Cockroaches have all the amino acids – the building blocks of protein – that a cat needs to remain healthy.

Vitamin B12

Cockroaches contain large amounts of vitamin B12. A study by Food Chemistry shows that cockroaches are higher in vitamin B12 than mealworms, crickets, and grasshoppers. Vitamin B12 is essential for the immune system, digestive system, digestive tract, and cognitive function.

Can Cockroaches Hurt Cats?

Cockroaches aren’t toxic for cats to eat, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe.

Cockroaches are unsafe for cats to eat for the following reasons:


The cockroach that your cat has eaten may have been poisoned. Unfortunately, poisoned cockroaches are often slow and sluggish as the toxins kill them, making them easier to catch and eat.


Even small traces of poison are enough to make your cat sick through secondary poisoning. If your cat has eaten more than one cockroach, it may become unwell quickly.

Oral Irritation

Cockroaches have protective exoskeletons (thick, cartilage-like coverings).

The Department of Integrative Biology found that cockroaches can withstand weights up to 300 times their own in small crevices and 900 times their weight in other situations.

They’re able to do this due to their flexible, strong exoskeleton. So, cats can suffer from oral irritation from the small pieces after chewing on them, causing inflammation and pain inside the mouth.

Gastrointestinal Upset

While the exoskeleton causes oral irritation, it can cause stomach problems. Large, rough exoskeleton pieces irritate the stomach as they’re digested, causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Cats with food intolerances or allergies are most likely to have an adverse reaction to eating a cockroach.


Cockroaches have been found to carry 33 different bacteria and 6 parasites, many of which are responsible for causing harmful diseases that cats are prone to.

Bacterial diseases are usually caused by contaminated food, including cockroaches. Cats with weakened immune systems are most affected because they can’t fight off the harmful bacteria.

Worms can infect cats and live inside their intestines, feeding off the body’s nutrients. Cockroaches found by cats in toilets are most likely to carry worms, followed by cockroaches found in kitchens.


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