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Can Cats Eat Silverfish? Vet-Approved Health & Safety Guide

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

Can Cat Eat silverfish

Vet approved

Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The silverfish is a common insect that has been around for eons. Their shiny silver bodies and fish-like movements give way to their name, but they aren’t a sight any homeowner wants to see. Although these bugs are pretty harmless, they can do real damage to your belongings.

If your cat meets one of these things, you might worry that they may be a toxic risk. While their appearance may be icky, silverfish pose no danger to your cats. But let’s find out more about these little nuisances.


What Are Silverfish?

Silverfish is a type of insect in the order Zygentoma. These insects grow up to ¾ of an inch at most, so they stay relatively small even when full-grown.

Silverfish are found throughout the United States, enjoying warm, humid places tucked out of sight. You can often find them in basements, attics, crawl spaces, and bathrooms.

Silverfish eat a diet of:
  • Cereal
  • Flour
  • Starch
  • Vegetables
  • Fibers
  • Sugars
  • Fabrics
  • Glue
  • Grain

Because of their personal menu, you can see how having these critters in your home might be concerning for your closets and keepsakes.

silverfish hiding
Photo Credit: Hans, Pixabay

hepper cat paw divider

Is It Normal for Cats to Eat Silverfish?

It might not necessarily be normal for cats to desire eating silverfish. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t if the opportunity is right. Like many insects, silverfish move in a fast, wiggly pattern that sparks the prey drive in your cat.

So, if you find your cat batting around a silverfish, know that they make the perfect targets for physical exertion. Your kitty might be much more interested in conquering the silverfish rather than eating it.

If anything, it will add a little kick of protein to their diet. However, we do not recommend trying to feed your cat silverfish as a snack! But if you haven’t managed to get the silverfish out of your fierce kitty’s jaws, nothing on the silverfish poses a risk for your feline.

Detecting a Silverfish Problem

What might be more troubling than your cat eating silverfish is realizing you might have a silverfish problem. While silverfish are not harmful to humans either, you probably aren’t crazy about the idea of sharing your home with them.

Some signs of a silverfish infestation include:
  • Feeding marks
  • Yellow stains
  • Scale remnants
  • Feces (tiny black pellets)

And of course, the biggest sign you have a silverfish problem is seeing them in the home.

Other Issues

If you have any allergy sufferers in your home, you might notice a reaction if you have a silverfish infestation. These insects shed a protein called tropomyosin, which can trigger an allergic response.

Because silverfish are herbivores that love starches, you might find them contaminating your flour and other starch like products. They can also be detrimental to the binding in books. If you have any very expensive or rare books, they could be especially susceptible.


Getting Rid of Silverfish

Regardless of your biggest hang-up, you will want to get those silverfish out of your home for good. Here are a few methods to remove these pesky creatures from your kitty’s paws.

Natural Methods

There are several natural methods you can try to ward off these shiny little bugs.

  • Use cedar or cedar oil
  • Make at-home sticky traps
  • Rely on bay leaves
  • Sprinkle some cinnamon
  • Use diatomaceous earth
  • Sprinkle boric acid
  • Put out cucumber peels

When treating your home, make sure any method you use is safe for all your pets.

Image Credit: karen_escobar84, Pixabay

Chemical Baits

If you go to any pest-specific or department store, you can find chemical bait traps that can take care of your problem. Keep in mind that some of these products can be very poisonous to cats. If you use any chemical products, make sure you keep your cat or other pet away from those chemicals.

Pest Control

If you’re uncertain if you can handle the problem on your own, fear not. The professionals will always be around to help you. You can call pest control for a consultation and treatment recommendation.


Final Thoughts

So, now you can rest easy knowing that silverfish pose no danger to your cats. However, silverfish in your home might cause some damage in other ways—like eating your flour and fabrics.

Depending on the severity of your infestation, you might be able to self-help, or you may need the help of the professionals. Either way, it’s best to keep insects outside where they belong, even if your cat thinks they make fun toys and tasty snacks.

Featured Image Credit: divotomezove, Pixabay

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