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Can Cats Eat Scorpions? What You Need to Know

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Can Cat Eat Scorpions

Scorpions are a common sight in many parts of the world and can be found in a variety of climates and environments. With their widespread habitat, it’s highly likely that your cat is bound to come across a scorpion at some stage, and just as likely that your cat will be interested in interacting with the scorpion too! Cats are exceedingly curious animals, and a scorpion — or any other small arachnid or insect for that matter — is bound to pique their curiosity.

But are scorpions dangerous to cats? Can cats eat scorpions? The answer is somewhat complicated, as there are many different scorpions out there with varying degrees of toxicity. That said, cats can safely eat scorpions for the most part, although a sting will certainly be painful and may even result in a trip to the vet.

If you live in an area where there are a lot of scorpions around, it helps to be able to identify the different species and know what to do when your cat consumes or gets stung by one.

Can Cats Safely Eat Scorpions?

In general, cats can and will eat a scorpion if they get the chance, but this certainly doesn’t mean they should! If your cat eats a scorpion without getting stung, there’s really nothing to be concerned about, though. Cats are nimble and proficient hunters and can usually handle a scorpion well enough without getting stung. Also, they are agile animals and have thick fur that can be difficult for a scorpion sting to penetrate. Luckily, the vast majority of scorpions your cat is likely to encounter are not severely poisonous, and even if they get stung, mild pain is all there is to be concerned about.

There are roughly 2,000 scorpion species worldwide, and only 20 or 30 of them have a strong enough poison to kill a human. Even if you get stung by one of these dangerous varieties, death is very rare, and antivenins are typically readily available in areas where these varieties are found.

close up macro image of devil scorpion
Image Credit: Rob Hainer, Shutterstock

Can a Scorpion Kill a Cat?

Again, this depends on the species of scorpion your cat comes into contact with. Of the 2,000 species of scorpions in existence, only about 90 are found in the United States and are only found in a few select areas like Arizona and California. Of these, only two species are particularly dangerous, the Arizona Bark Scorpion and the Stripebacked Scorpion.

These scorpions pose a real threat to cats, and while deaths from these scorpions are exceedingly rare, they are possible. Also, even if the sting doesn’t kill your cat, they will still inflict a great deal of pain for your kitty, and a vet visit is absolutely necessary.

Most of the time, though, your cat will scare the scorpion enough that it runs away and hides, as scorpions are far more likely to flee than sting. Even if the scorpion goes into defense mode, they are far more likely to defend themselves with their pincers that use their stinger, which may be slightly painful for your cat but won’t harm them and will hopefully be enough to scare them off before they get stung!

Are Cats Immune to Scorpion Stings?

There is a persistent rumor that cats are impervious to scorpion stings, but this is simply not true. The rumor likely came about simply because cats are so adept at not getting stung, and because scorpions will only usually sting as a last resort. A cat’s fur acts as a natural barrier to a scorpion’s stinger, the hair stops the typically small stinger from reaching a cat’s skin, and cats are far less likely to accidentally stand on a scorpion — a common reason for humans getting stung.

gray tabby cat carried by the vet
Image Credit: lev.studio, Shutterstock

Symptoms of a Scorpion Sting in Cats

Cats are very good at hiding pain and may even hide from you after being stung by a scorpion.

If you have scorpions in the area you live and suspect your cat may have been stung, look out for the following symptoms:
  • Licking of the sting site
  • Increased vocalization
  • Head shaking
  • Limping
  • Swelling
  • Tremors
  • Drooling
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy

If your cat displays any of the above symptoms, it’s best to take them to a vet right away. If you can find the scorpion, try and bring it to the vet with you, or at least get a photo of it for identification so your vet can treat your cat accordingly. In most cases, your cat should be back to normal within 24 hours, albeit a little shaken! Hopefully, the experience will be enough for them to leave scorpions alone in the future!

Final Thoughts

There are only a few areas in the US where there is a high concentration of scorpions, but if you live in one of these areas — Arizona, California, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado — your cat is likely to come across one as some point. In general, eating a scorpion will not cause any harm to your cat, and even getting stung is unlikely and only mildly painful in most cases.

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Featured Image Credit: Sharath G., Pexels

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