Are Silverfish Harmful to Cats?

Are Silverfish Harmful to Cats?

Our pet cats enjoy prodding and playing with whatever tiny creature they come across inside or outside your house. It is due to a cat’s inquisitive nature and hunting instinct. Often, they just play with it or swat at it with a paw, but sometimes they get a little too curious and start wondering how they taste.

As a responsible pet owner, we should be observant about all of the things our cats put in their mouths. One wrong thing ingested by your fur baby can cause serious issues. We cannot be with our fur babies twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, so it can be nerve wracking thinking of all the things your cat has been shoving into its mouth while you were at work. 

Indoor cats do not have the same variety of potential victims and prey compared to an outdoor cat. Outdoor cats have birds and small rodents to chase around to fill up their day. 

The indoor cat has its toys, but there will come a time when they get bored with them. He’ll take to looking at the ceiling or the walls for signs of movement. Usually there really is nothing for the indoor cat to catch, except for insects.

A common insect found in some houses are silverfish. They crawl up and down walls and can grab a cat’s attention easily. They are quite nimble and quick which makes it an enticing target to the eyes of a prey-driven housecat.

So, what exactly are silverfish? Do I have to worry if my cat eats one? What do I do if my cat does eat one? Does a silverfish bite or sting humans? Do they carry diseases or toxins I should be afraid of?

In this article, we’ll answer all those questions and much more regarding your cat and silverfish. By the end, we hope that we’ve eased your worries and made everything crystal clear.

What are silverfish?

Let’s start with explaining what exactly silverfish are. 

Silverfish are carrot-shaped, wingless, flat-bodied insects with silver and gray scales. They have two antennae and three tail-like appendages. The measure somewhere between 0.8 to 1.9 cm long.

Silverfish are believed to be one of the oldest insects in the world, which means they have survived due to their resilience. They can live for long periods of time without food. They also reproduce in large numbers. This is, unfortunately, also the reason why homeowners always have a hard time removing them from houses. They are notoriously difficult to eradicate.

Just like most creepy crawlies, silverfish prefer moving around at night. It may be hard to spot them in the daylight, but by the night time, they come out of the woodwork, literally.

Silverfish thrive in moisture. They can be seen in parts of the house with a lot of humidity, like the bathroom, laundry area, and basement.

Silverfish have a distinct way of moving. They wiggle as they walk, which is how the name silverfish came to be as they look like swimming silver colored fish. Once you’ve seen a silverfish on the go, it becomes easier to spot their signature moves.

Do cats eat silverfish?

Yes, cats do eat silverfish. Cats will eat an abundant array of insects and creatures, those that crawl and those that fly. Cats enjoy the thrill of the hunt, so the harder to catch, the more pleasure they get in finally taking it down. 

Cats eat flies, dragonflies, crickets, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and grasshoppers.

It can be difficult for a squeamish cat owner to see their cat chewing on bugs, and cannot bear the possibility of the cat rubbing those chewed up bug guts all over your clothes or furniture.

If at all possible, stop your cat from ingesting any insects. But there is only so much time in a day to actually be able to keep an eye on your cat.

Are silverfish harmfull to cats?

No silverfish are not poisonous to cats.

Experts say that silverfish are harmless. They do not bite or sting or expel some kind of chemical to deter predators. Silverfish are not known to carry or host any bacteria or virus that may cause illness or disease.

So, despite being annoying to have around the house there is no need to panic for you or your cat’s health. Although, there have been cases of people having allergic reactions to shed silverfish skin. To avoid this possibility, no matter how slim, make sure you clean and vacuum the areas the silverfish frequent, to completely clear your house of any silverfish remnants.

Can cats eat silverfish?

Technically speaking, yes, cats can eat silverfish and they won’t experience any adverse effects. It’s just really gross when they do. And because they don’t need silverfish for a balanced diet, as much as you can keep your cat from eating them, the better.

Image: / Leonid Eremeychuk