A common phenomenon in cats is sitting by a window and making a chattering sound. The exact reason for this sound is unknown, but it occurs when they see potential prey. These prey can vary in size and species. They can do it when they see a bird, a rodent, or other small mammals. However, they can also do it when they see small insects like flies. Although it may not happen all the time, when the fly is around, they can spend a lot of time chasing it and wanting to catch it.
Although we feed our cat well, it is common for us to see it eat flies regularly. Is it bad for them to eat flies? We discuss it below.
Why do cats hunt and eat flies?
Even at home, cats are still predatory animals. They have a hunting instinct that leads them to adopt a hunting behavior. Their wild counterparts survive on prey that often consists primarily of small mammals and birds, but also includes reptiles and even insects. This is because they all contain the protein necessary for the cat’s body to survive.
A house cat does not have to hunt prey in the same way as a wild cat. We provide them with food. Although they may be nutritionally satiated, their hunting instinct does not stop. This is important, as the cat will need to find a way to survive if he is to be separated from his guardians for any reason.
Despite the possible need to hunt, it is important to note that the need to hunt also exists regardless of hunger. Even if a cat has eaten, you may see it chasing and hunting potential prey, including flies. The sounds mentioned in the introduction are not fully understood, but are part of their hunting behavior.
We can also see that the cat can move its head from side to side. The purpose is to calculate the distance that separates them from the prey so that they do not get lost when they attack. If we are concerned about the type of prey the cat is going to chase, we must bear in mind that cats generally do not attack prey that is larger or more dangerous than they are. However, we must know that there are some potential risks even with small dams.
Why do cats play with flies before killing them?
In addition to trying to obtain food, hunting has other important functions in cats. We can see this when the cat catches a fly, but does not eat it immediately or does not eat it. In these cases, we often see the cat stun the fly and then play with it. They can allow the fly to drift away a bit before pouncing on them again and then repeating this action. This may seem cruel, but it serves important purposes for the cat. The reasons for this behavior include:
- Skill Development: Kittens have an innate hunting instinct, but they must also hone this instinct by developing skills. Their mother will teach them certain techniques, but they will also practice with her siblings to better understand abilities and limits. When the cat is separated from its mother and siblings, they will find other participants to keep these skills honed. These could be other companion animals in the home, their human companions, small critters like flies, and even inanimate objects.
- Health: hunting in this way is also important for well-being. If a cat does not have the opportunity to use his instinct, he will feel physically unstimulated and emotionally bored. When this happens, behavior problems will develop and they may even become aggressive. This is one of the reasons why the cat will not only try to eat flies, but will spend a lot of time doing it and playing with its prey.
- Maternal instinct: It is known that female cats tend to play with their prey more than males. The reason behind this is believed to be the maternal instinct that cats have to care for their kittens. Since kittens need to learn by themselves, mother cats often bring partially live prey to kittens so that they can practice hunting. Males do not care for kittens in the same way, although they may play with flies before eating them.
- Safety: Finally, the cats will also prolong their hunt to make sure they are not in danger. Although cats will try to hunt smaller creatures, some prey can cause them harm. For example, rats have sharp teeth and bees have stings. For this reason, the cat will need to stun the prey before approaching to kill. This hesitancy can even apply to flies if the cat is not completely sure of its safety.
Is it okay for cats to eat flies?
As we have seen, it is not uncommon for our cat to hunt and eat a fly. Due to their small size, eating small insects should not cause them any harm. In fact, the fly can add some natural protein to its diet. But there is concern about whether the fly will carry certain pathogens that can damage the cat’s immune system. In this sense, the flies that carry certain diseases can do so in such small quantities that they do not pose any health problem.
However, there are some circumstances in which the fly can cause harm to the cat after ingestion. It is possible that there are powerful bacteria and microbes that can harm the cat’s body after ingestion. Parasites can also be present in the fly, which then infest the cat’s gastrointestinal system. This is because cats can get worms from eating flies. There are even some flies that act as parasites by burrowing into the cat’s fur, such as bot flies.
Whether we see our cat eating flies or not, we must be on the lookout for any symptoms of digestive problems. These include vomiting and diarrhea, in addition to noticing the presence of eggs in the stool. If you think your cat has a disease from eating flies, talk to your vet right away. Deworming and vaccinating your cat is also vital to prevent diseases that can occur from eating flies. Follow vaccination and deworming programs closely!