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Why Do Cats Eat Flies?

Cat looks at the fly.

It’s common for pets to engage in behaviors that confuse their owners, but sometimes we wonder whether we should be concerned. Most cat owners who have seen their cat catch and eat a fly have wondered why they do it, and whether it’s unhealthy.

Reasons Why Cats Eat Flies

Domestic cats may not have to hunt for their food as their evolutionary ancestors did, but the hunting instincts have not been bred out of them. Most of the time, they will still hunt anything that they encounter and can reasonably view as “prey” including rodents, bugs, and other household or neighborhood pests. Owners of outdoor cats, in particular, are typically no stranger to being brought a “gift” of a mouse or gopher by their pet. Sometimes, catching flies is essentially the same thing on a smaller scale.

Cat Play With Flies.

Catching and eating flies can also be an amusing activity for cats, like chasing a toy or laser pointer when their owner wants to play with them. Even if they choose to eat the fly after catching it, it’s unlikely that their main goal was to find a meal; they are mostly keeping themselves entertained and having a good time. Of course, the natural progression of chasing and catching small “prey” is to eat it, so most cats would never think of leaving a fly or letting it go after managing to catch it. So, essentially, cats catch and eat flies because their instincts make it the natural thing for them to do.

Is It Bad for Cats to Eat Flies?

When our cats’ behavior seems strange to us, it’s natural that we might wonder whether it’s unhealthy. Cats eating flies is a perfect example of this; it’s not an obvious problem, but it’s unusual enough for us to give it a second thought and question if it’s something we should interfere with.

In general, cats eating flies isn’t a problem when it happens one time, or if it happens very occasionally. You can’t do much to stop your cat from eating a random fly, and there’s nothing you need to do when your cat eats a fly to stop them from being sick; one fly won’t have a noticeable impact.

Cat Hunting A Fly.

However, if you notice your cat eating flies on a regular basis, you should take steps to prevent it. For one thing, you don’t want enough flies around your home for your cat to eat them often anyways, but for another, eating a lot of flies can be harmful to your cat.

Flies are not clean creatures, and ingesting them can cause gastrointestinal distress, parasites, or even exposure to poison. Always take your cat to the vet if you notice changes in their health or behavior, even if cats eating flies seem like a silly concern.


Hopefully, you now know why cats might eat flies and when it can be a problem. To learn more about giving your cat the best care, check out our cat product reviews.

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