Do Cats Eat Frogs?

Do Cats Eat Frogs?

Cats are fun-loving animals with a zest for adventure and they like to check out their surroundings especially if they have access to the outdoors. Since they are natural hunters they like to chase and catch small prey like birds, rodents and bugs. However, frogs and toads are also appealing to felines because of the way they move.

Do cats eat frogs?

Yes, cats do eat frogs. Some cats may only chase and play with a frog or may inflict wounds to the frog just to immobilize the frog as they paw it around.  If your cat happens to eat one there is no need to worry since most garden frogs are not poisonous and are safe to eat. However, your cat may vomit, become sick and lose her appetite if she ingested a poisonous frog at which point you should have her checked by the vet. 

Are frogs poisonous to cats?

While there are poisonous frogs, most of them are not poisonous to cats. However, frogs that inhabit tropical forests may be highly toxic for cats. In the US, the only known poisonous frog native to the area is the pickerel frog with the scientific name “rana palustris”. This frog produces toxic skin secretions in case of an attack. 

Here is a list of poisonous frogs with high levels of toxicity that are mostly found in Central America:

  • golden poison dart frog 
  • blue poison dart frog 
  • black-legged poison dart frog 
  • dyeing dart frog 
  • phantasmal dart frog 
  • strawberry poison dart frog 
  • lovely poison frog 
  • kokoe poison dart frog 
  • golfodulcean poison frog 
  • variable poison frog 
  • red-backed poison frog 
  • green and black poison dart frog 
  • yellow-banded poison dart frog 
  • granular poison frog 
  • harlequin poison frog 
  • corroboree frog 

How to keep your cat away from frogs?

Cats that have access to the outdoors may chase, kill and eat small prey and this may include frogs. However, you can always figure out ways to keep your cat away from these sneaky amphibians. 

Here are some of the things you can do to keep your cat away from frogs:

  • Keep a close eye on your cat each time she is outdoors and make sure she does not venture out too far away from the premises.
  • If there are areas near your home that have small ponds, these are the most likely habitat for frogs so keep your cat away from them. 
  • Sweep out any standing water and remove water puddles in your vicinity as this attracts frogs.
  • If you notice the presence of frogs near your yard, you may opt to relocate them to a nearby pond so they won’t get caught and possibly eaten by your cat.

Do cats eat toads?

Yes, cats may eat toads just as they would eat frogs. There are stark differences between these two. Frogs have smooth, slimy skin and long hind legs while toads have thick, dry and warty skin and shorter legs. 

Are toads poisonous to cats?

Yes, toads are potentially poisonous to cats since almost all of the more or less 50 species have poisonous skin secretions as their defense against predators. The substance present in these secretions, bufotoxin, may cause death to small animals and allergic reactions in humans. However, only a few are fatally dangerous to cats including the cane toad found in Florida, Hawaii and Southern Texas and the Colorado River toad which is found in Arizona, California and New Mexico. 

The symptoms of toad poisoning may include the following:

  • vigorous head shaking
  • pawing at the eyes and/or mouth
  • vomiting or retching
  • drooling of saliva and frothing from the mouth
  • an inflamed or pale color of the membranes of the mouth 
  • difficulty breathing 
  • seizures and high temperature
  • unsteady movements
  • collapsing  

Cats may also experience great discomfort if they ingested a poisonous toad.  The symptoms may last from a few hours to several days so make sure to bring your cat to the vet. 

What to do if your cat licked or ingested a toad?

If you suspect that your cat licked or ingested a toad and manifesting the symptoms mentioned above, do your best to bring her to the vet right away.  However, you should also minimize your cat’s discomfort while waiting for the vet or while on your way to the vet. There is no antidote to treat toad poisoning so the first thing that you must do is to wash the cat’s mouth with clean water. This may not be easy to do since cats hate water but you need to be persistent as it is important to flush the saliva and frothing from the mouth. 

While preparing to transport your cat to the vet, try your best to take a snap of the toad that your cat came in contact with. This will help your vet to identify the specific species. 

Final thoughts 

Cats are hunters by nature and it is instinctive for them to chase and eat small prey like frogs despite being domesticated. However, not all cats will eat frogs since some may just chase, injure or kill them just as they would with other small prey like birds.

Image: / Nils Jacobi