Cats Eating Pantry Moths: Can Cats Eat Pantry Moths?

Can Cats Eat Pantry Moths

Cats are curious and adventurous pets that don’t care what they put in their mouths most of the time. They are also fascinated by moving objects, especially those crawling and flying like insects. Insects such as butterflies and moths are easy to spot by cats indoors or outdoors. But now to answer the question, ‘can cats eat pantry moths?’

Yes, cats can eat pantry moths, but this is not permitted for you to allow them to eat them. Too many pantry moths can have diverse effects on cats and their digestive system, especially moths in contact with insect repellant. 

You could even see your cat chasing after moths and feasting on them. So naturally, this will cause you to worry, especially if you don’t know whether moths are harmless or unsafe to your feline companion.

How to know if you have pantry moths?

To know if you have a pantry moth infestation, check the edges of food packages or the goods inside, flour, or cereal items with an unpleasant odor. Another sign is sticky secretions that cause grains to clump together; these indicate pantry moth infestations.

Are moths toxic to cats?

No, moths are not toxic to cats. A cat can consume a few moths without suffering any negative consequences. Furthermore, cats are known to thrive on a diet of animal-based items, yet moths are technically animals. As a result, it’s reasonable to assume that your feline buddy might gain nutritionally from a moth or two.

Is it safe for cats to eat moths?

Yes, however, you should generally keep your cat away from moths and other flying insects. Eating a few moths is alright for cats, as I just explained. However, as you will see, allowing your kitten to eat moths at will is not a good idea.

While one moth may not be harmful to your cat, eating many of these insects may be poisonous. This could cost you a trip to the vet, and some of the signs are vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lethargy, all symptoms of moth poisoning.

The Garden Tiger Moth is the most complained about by pet owners who claim it causes severe poisoning in cats. Even the Garden Tiger Moth, on the other hand, is unlikely to harm your cat.

It’s also worth mentioning that most cats prefer to play with moths rather than chase them down and consume them. Furthermore, the toxicity of moths for cats is due mainly to the insecticides used to repel or eliminate these pests. 

Moths belong to Lepidoptera, which includes all not butterflies insects. There are thousands of different moth species, and only a few of these species have received extensive research. 

Most moth species are active at night (nocturnal), and you’ll see them near the light at night. However, some moth species are active during the day or active at dawn and dusk.

Moths like gloomy regions with plenty of food to nibble on and light sources. They usually access storage facilities and crawl in via open doors or ripped windows.

Difference between moth and butterfly

Moths and butterflies display many similar characteristics, and it can be difficult to tell them apart. The fundamental distinction between these insect groups is that butterflies are monophyletic, but moths, which make up the rest of the Lepidoptera order, are not.

Butterflies may also be identified by their tiny antennae with little balls at the end of each. On the other hand, Moth antennae are usually feathery and lack balls at the tips.

Moths developed far earlier than butterflies, despite their physical distinctions. Another essential fact about moths is that they start as caterpillars.

Why does my cat eat moths?

Cats are known to eat moths for a variety of reasons. However, during seasons of moth infestation, it’s relatively uncommon to see cats racing after and eating these insects. So is it harmful to cats to eat moths? 

Before we get into the safety or possible concerns of moths for cats, it’s vital first to understand if cats like moths.

So, why does my cat eat moths and butterflies?

Cats are curious creatures that are especially interested in moving objects. A cat will rarely turn down the chance to go after lizards or moths, both crawling creatures. It’s all part of their natural progression.

Before cats became domestic pets, they were sneaky and vicious predators and managed to preserve most of their natural traits; this includes a high hunting drive. So a flying moth around the home is enough to pique your cat’s interest and trigger his hunting instincts.

It’s also worth mentioning that most cats are nocturnal, although some are crepuscular. Unfortunately, these are also the times of the year when moths are most active, and cats spend their awake time eating moths.

Why are cats able to eat moths?

Cats are carnivores by nature. They get their nutrition from animal products such as lean meat, blood, skin, and bones. Moths are classified as animals, so it’s alright that your cat eats moths.

Sometimes you will find cats eating plant-based meals, so moths are entirely safe for cats in terms of nutrition. However, they still pose a threat to cats.

Effects of cats eating moths

On the wings of moths is a poisonous granular material. While this compound is typically harmless to moths, it has the potential to trigger a slew of intestinal issues in cats. 

The most prevalent adverse symptoms of moth poisoning in cats are vomiting and diarrhea. Depending on the severity of these symptoms, further issues such as loss of appetite, dehydration, and tiredness may develop.

Another reason cats should avoid moths is that these insects may harm your feline friend. This is particularly true for moths in the larval stage. Caterpillars are well-known for causing severe stings with chemicals on the tips of their barbs or the hairs that cover their body.

Your cat might be in unbearable discomfort as a result of the stings. It’s also worth noting that, although most caterpillar stings are innocuous, the stings of certain exotic caterpillars may be dangerous.

However, some bug sprays routinely used to control these insects are the source of the most risk for cats. For example, Mothballs are a kind of insect spray used to repel or kill moths and may be hazardous to cats.

Mothballs are solid insecticides that emit a mist that repels or kills moths over time. Unfortunately, insecticides can also kill larvae of moths and a variety of other insects. Some people even use them to keep snakes, rats, and other animals away from their homes.

Are mothballs harmful to cats?

Yes, cats are badly poisoned by mothballs. Each of these substances used in making mothballs like paradichlorobenzene (PDB), naphthalene, and camphor can be harmful to cats. When cats consume the substances, they become toxic.

Below are some of the most typical adverse effects of mothball toxicity:

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Bloating
  • Stomach discomfort

These are all the symptoms of gastrointestinal problems. In addition, dehydration is a common side effect of vomiting and diarrhea. 

  • Symptoms of anemia, such as increased bleeding risks, tiredness, an elevated heart rate, difficulty breathing, and fever.
  • Seizures are a kind of neurologic symptom.
  • Vomiting, lack of appetite, increased or reduced drinking and urine, and foul-smelling breath are signs of kidney impairment. 
  • Vomiting, a loss of appetite, diarrhea, tiredness, darkening of the stool and urine, and jaundice are all symptoms of liver impairment.

Can cats consume mothballs?

No, cats aren’t supposed to consume mothballs. Even a tiny quantity of mothballs might be fatal to your cat. Your cat-consuming mothballs don’t often cause mothball poisoning. It may also happen if your cat consumes moths that have been poisoned with pesticides.

How many moths can my cat eat safely?

There is no hard rule for deciding how many moths cats may consume. Instead, it is determined by various variables, including your cat’s age, size, and general health.

Foods and chemicals that are hazardous to cats, in general, are usually more toxic to kittens and smaller cat breeds.

The same rule applies to cats that have had their immunity reduced. Pregnant or nursing cats, senior cats, ailing cats, and cats recuperating from surgery are just a few examples.

What to do if cats eat moths

If your cat ate a moth, the first thing to do is keep an eye out for any of the signs and symptoms. The severity of your cat’s symptoms will tell you how many moths they have been eating.

If your cat enjoys catching and eating moths, one or two moths will not hurt your cat, as we’ve said throughout this article. However, consuming an excessive number of moths might have severe repercussions.

You should take corrective steps to prevent early signs from progressing into a life-threatening situation. For example, give the cat activated charcoal, and to induce vomiting, use hydrogen peroxide.

Above all, keep in mind that they are just temporary procedures to stabilize your cat while you prepare to take the cat to a veterinarian.

Like with other harmful chemicals for cats, the standard advice is to keep your cat from ingesting mothballs in the first place.

You may do so by following the guidelines below:

  • Provide your cat with ample physical and mental stimulation using toys or exercise. 
  • To keep moths out of your home, use cat-safe insecticides
  • Prevent moths from entering your home by sealing door gaps and blocking hollow screens.

Are pantry moths harmful to cats?

The bug does not cause sickness, that’s the good news, even if you cook and eat a few larvae by mistake, and it does not escape from your meal to munch its way through your textiles or furnishings. Instead, it enjoys the same meals as you and your animals.

What smells do pantry moths hate?

Fill sachets with dried lavender or use lavender essential oil to coat cotton balls. After that, store them in your closets, drawers, and boxes. Although lavender smells wonderful to humans, it is very repellant to moths and other insects.

What is the fastest way to get rid of pantry moths?

After cleaning the interior of the pantry or cabinet with soap and water:

  1. Use a mild bleach solution to disinfect it.
  2. Rinse with water, vinegar, and peppermint oil solutions to destroy eggs and repel moths.
  3. Grab a toothpick and wipe up the small peg holes if you have adjustable shelves or pegboard!

Can pantry moths survive in the fridge?

No. Pantry moths may dwell in practically any place in the house. However, they cannot survive in areas where the temperature is below freezing. For this reason, it is recommended to keep food grain items in the refrigerator for a few days after grocery shopping.


Like butterflies and many other insects, moths are bugs that cats may eat. However, the fact that cats can eat moths does not imply they should.

Consumption of too many moths, like other pests, may harm your cat. It’s much worse if the moths have been exposed to mothballs or other insecticides that are very poisonous to cats.

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