Are Centipedes Poisonous To Cats?

Are Centipedes Poisonous To Cats?

Cats like to chase small prey like insects and may also eat spider webs. They are also attracted to crawling arthropods like centipedes because they move fast across floorboards and woodpiles. But, you may be wondering, if it is safe for your cat to pursue these arthropods and can that pose risks for your cat. 

Are centipedes poisonous to cats?

Yes, some centipedes are poisonous to cats, although generally not severely so. While they emit toxins when they bite, they do not pose any great danger to cats. The amount of venom in the system of most centipedes is not enough to cause serious harm to cats. However, some larger centipedes can cause mild to severe reactions. 

Centipedes are arthropods like millipedes although they are anatomically different. They have elongated bodies with multiple segments and they move very quickly. They have one pair of legs for each body segment and more or less 100 legs although some do not have this exact number of legs. They have antennae, forward-facing mouthparts and a set of poison-injecting pincers called forcipules while they use their legs to scoop their prey, also called the lassoing technique.

These fast crawlers have different markings like stripes and yellow or brown in color. They are nocturnal critters and usually spend their time in the dirt or loose soil which makes them difficult to spot except when they skitter across the floor in your home. 

Are centipedes dangerous?

No, centipedes are generally not dangerous. These arthropods can enter homes during cold weather to hunt food like insects and to complete their life cycle. They have toxins that they emit through their pincers which they use to hunt food and disable their prey. However, the toxins are not enough to harm cats or humans.  

The side effects from a centipede bite may include swelling and mild pain for humans while cats can develop an allergic reaction. The symptoms that cats experience may include vomiting, redness and itchy skin.  If your cat was bitten by a centipede, wash the affected area with cold water and rub gently with a damp cloth.  If the symptoms persist after a few hours, contact your vet so he can do a thorough checkup. 

Should I kill house centipedes?

No, you should not kill house centipedes. They kill and feed on insects and pests like moths, flies, termites and roaches that lurk under floorboards and furniture. These arthropods are mostly harmless as they do not destroy clothing or furniture and do not wreak destruction in your pantry, unlike ants.  

However, it can be annoying and scary if they start to populate your home. To prevent this seal the edges of your home’s doors and windows as well as the structural gaps allowing the entry of pipes and wires. Reduce the moisture with a dehumidifier since these creatures inhabit damp places like the bathroom, kitchen and basement.

Remove their hiding places like trash cans and spray the unsealed areas of your home with insecticide to prevent these crawlers from getting inside or vacuum them if you find them under carpets and furniture. Eradicating insects, their main food source, is ideal so these crawlers will not invade your home again. 


Cats like to chase and eat insects including crawling creatures like centipedes. These arthropods contain toxins that they use to hunt food but they are not severely poisonous although they can result in reactions like vomiting, redness and itchy skin when your cat gets bitten by them.  If your cat feels ill and the symptoms do not disappear after a few hours, it is best to consult your vet. 

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