Why Do Cats Eat Flies?

Why Do Cats Eat Flies
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Last Updated on May 23, 2023 by Pauline G. Carter

Cats eat flies because they have a natural hunting instinct. It’s not uncommon to see a cat purposefully chasing and catching flies in your home.

While it may seem strange or even gross to us humans, it’s actually a natural behavior for our feline friends. Cats are predators, and as such, they have a strong hunting instinct. They are wired to stalk and pounce on small prey, like mice or birds.

Flies, while not a typical meal for a cat, can still satisfy their need to hunt and catch something. Plus, the buzzing sound and erratic movements of flies can stimulate a cat’s playful side. But is it safe for cats to eat flies? Let’s explore this topic further.

Why Do Cats Eat Flies?

Credit: cathabits.net

The Fascinating World Of Cats

Cats are fascinating animals with a complex and curious nature. They are known for their predatory instincts, fine-tuned over thousands of years of evolution. In this post, we will delve deep into the world of cats and explore why they eat flies.

The Predatory Instinct Of Cats

The predatory instinct of a cat is innate and impossible to suppress. It is not just about survival and getting food, but also a form of entertainment and exercise. They are hardwired to hunt and catch prey, and this instinct has been passed down from their wild ancestors.

Here are the key points about a cat’s predatory instinct:

  • Cats are natural-born hunters, with their eyes designed to track movement and their bodies built for stealth and agility.
  • Unlike dogs, cats are solitary animals, which means they have to hunt on their own to survive.
  • They have different hunting styles, from stalking to chasing and ambush attacks, all of which require patience, focus, and agility.
  • The satisfaction of catching and killing prey is innate and releases endorphins, making it a pleasurable experience for cats.
  • Even domestic cats will hunt, often small animals such as mice, birds, and yes, even flies.

The Evolution Of Cats As Hunters

Cats have been hunting for millions of years, evolving to become expert predators. They are believed to have evolved from small, tree-living mammals that resembled modern-day civets and mongooses. Over time, they developed features that made them better hunters, such as retractable claws, keen senses, and powerful jaws.

Here are the key points about the evolution of cats as hunters:

  • Cats have evolved from small, tree-living mammals that first appeared in the fossil record around 60 million years ago.
  • Over time, they adapted to a predatory lifestyle by developing sharp claws, keen eyesight, and acute hearing to help them detect prey.
  • Their bodies evolved to become more flexible, with a tail that helps them balance and pounce on prey.
  • Cats have also developed specialized teeth, with sharp canines that help them bite and hold onto their prey, and molars designed for cutting and tearing meat.

What They Hunt And Why

Cats are known for catching a wide variety of prey, from mice and birds to insects and even fish. But why do they hunt these animals, and what drives their predatory instinct?

Here are the key points about what cats hunt and why:

  • Cats hunt for many reasons, including food, exercise, and play.
  • They are attracted to small animals such as mice and birds because they are easy to catch and provide a good source of nutrition.
  • Cats are also attracted to insects such as flies, which are small and easy to catch, and provide a good source of protein.
  • Cats may also hunt out of boredom or curiosity, as they are naturally curious animals that enjoy exploring their environment.

Fly-Biting And Fly-Eating: What Is The Reason Behind It?

Cats are fascinating creatures, and their behavior has always puzzled humans. One of the most common feline habits is fly-eating or fly-biting. Have you ever seen your cat chasing a fly, playing with it, and then finally consuming it? If yes, then let’s find out why cats do that.

Why Do Cats Enjoy Playing With Flies?

Playing with flies is a part of a cat’s natural hunting instinct. Cats have a natural instinct to hunt and catch prey, and flies are a perfect target for them. Hunting is also an important way for cats to release energy and stay mentally stimulated.

Here are a few reasons why cats enjoy playing with flies:

  • Flies are fast-moving prey that provide a challenge for cats, so they find it interesting to catch them.
  • Cats enjoy the thrill of the hunt and playing with prey provides them with a fun activity to do.
  • Flies also make a buzzing sound that attracts cats, and this sound further stimulates their hunting instincts.

Nutritional Value Of Flies For Cats

Flies are rich in protein, and as obligate carnivores, cats benefit from a high-protein diet. When cats eat a fly, they are consuming valuable proteins that help build and repair muscles. Moreover, flies also contain other important nutrients like fat and minerals, making them a healthy and nutritious snack for cats.

However, it is important to note that cats should not rely solely on flies as their source of nutrition. A balanced diet that includes complete and balanced cat food is crucial for their overall health and well-being.

Physical And Psychological Effects Of Eating Insects For Cats

Eating insects such as flies can have both physical and psychological effects on cats.

Physical effects:

  • Eating large amounts of flies or other insects can cause gastrointestinal problems like vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Insects can also carry diseases or parasites that can be harmful to cats if they ingest them.
  • In rare cases, a cat may have an allergic reaction to the proteins in the fly, causing symptoms like itchiness or swelling.

Psychological effects:

  • Eating flies can be a source of mental stimulation for cats as it fulfills their natural hunting instincts.
  • Fly-eating can also provide cats with a sense of satisfaction, making them feel accomplished and fulfilled.

Fly-eating or fly-biting is a natural feline behavior that serves a beneficial purpose. As long as it does not cause any harm, we can let our feline friends enjoy this quirky habit. However, it is essential to ensure that they also receive a balanced diet, regular vet check-ups, and a comfortable habitat.

The Pros And Cons Of Cats Eating Flies

As natural hunters, cats will kill and eat almost anything that moves in their vicinity, including flies. While some felines prefer to catch and play with flies, others will consume them if given the opportunity. In this blog post, we discuss the pros and cons of cats eating flies, from their nutritional value to potential health risks.

Advantages Of Eating Flies

  • Source of nutrients: Flies are an excellent source of protein, which is essential for a cat’s growth and development as well as maintaining their overall health.
  • Hunting practice: Catching and eating flies is an excellent way for cats to hone their hunting skills and improve their agility and reflexes.
  • Weight management: Eating flies can be a way for cats to control their weight as they are low in calories but high in protein.

Disadvantages Of Eating Flies

  • Possible health risks: Flies are known to carry a range of diseases and parasites, and there is a risk that cats who consume them may become ill and require veterinary treatment.
  • Pesticides: Flies and other insects can come into contact with pesticides, which can be toxic to cats if ingested.
  • Dental problems: Chewing on hard fly chitin could lead to dental problems such as broken teeth or damage to the gums.

While there are some potential benefits to cats eating flies, the risks are high. It’s essential for owners to provide their feline companions with a healthy, balanced diet to ensure they receive all the necessary nutrients. Owners should also discourage their cats from consuming flies, as it could put their health at risk.

By doing so, cats can continue to enjoy chasing and playing with the occasional fly without putting their wellbeing in danger.

Conclusion: The Fascinating Eating Habits Of Cats

Cats are fascinating creatures known for their quirky behaviors, including their love for chasing and eating flies. While some cats may seem finicky when it comes to their food, their predatory instincts are always present. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at why cats eat flies and what responsible pet ownership entails.

Recap Of The Predatory Instinct Of Cats

Cats are natural-born predators, and their hunting skills are hardwired into their dna. Even domesticated cats have an innate drive to hunt, stalk, and catch prey. This predatory instinct is triggered by any movement, sound, or scent that signals the presence of potential prey.

Cats are known for their stealth and agility, making them effective hunters.

Summary Of Reasons Why Cats Eat Flies

While cats primarily hunt small animals like mice, birds, and insects, they are also known to ingest non-food items such as grass, hair, and even flies. Here are some reasons why cats eat flies:

  • Nutritional value: Although flies are not a significant source of nutrition, they do contain protein and other essential nutrients that cats need to maintain good health.
  • Playfulness and curiosity: Cats are naturally curious and playful. They enjoy exploring their surroundings and pouncing on anything that moves, including flies.
  • Cleanliness: Cats are notoriously clean animals and spend a significant amount of time grooming themselves. Eating flies may help them keep their fur and surroundings free of unwanted insects.
  • Instincts: Hunting and consuming prey are innate behaviors for cats. Eating flies allows them to practice their hunting skills and maintain their predatory instincts.

Final Thoughts On Responsible Pet Ownership

As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to provide our cats with a safe and healthy environment that fulfills their needs. Here are some tips for being a responsible cat owner:

  • Provide a balanced and nutritious diet that meets your cat’s nutritional needs.
  • Make sure your cat has access to clean and fresh water at all times.
  • Provide opportunities for exercise and play, such as interactive toys and scratching posts.
  • Keep your cat’s living environment clean and free of hazards.
  • Regularly schedule visits with a veterinarian to ensure your cat’s health and well-being.

While eating flies may seem like a strange behavior for cats, it is perfectly natural and a part of their instinctual behavior. As pet owners, we should strive to promote the well-being of our furry friends and provide them with a safe and healthy environment.

Frequently Asked Questions On Why Do Cats Eat Flies?

Why Do Cats Eat Flies?

Cats eat flies because they are instinctual hunters. Flies are a source of protein and entertainment.

Is It Safe For Cats To Eat Flies?

Eating flies is generally safe for cats as long as the fly hasn’t been exposed to any toxins or pesticides.

Can Cats Get Sick From Eating Flies?

Cats can contract illnesses from eating flies that have been exposed to pesticides or parasites. It’s best to prevent your cat from eating flies whenever possible.

Why Do Cats Play With Flies Before Eating Them?

Cats play with flies before eating them to mimic their hunting instinct. They stalk and bat at the fly to tire it out before finally consuming it.

What Should I Do If My Cat Eats A Fly?

If your cat eats a fly, monitor them closely for any signs of illness or distress. If you notice any abnormal behavior or symptoms, consult with your veterinarian.


Cats are natural predators and hunters, which is why they have a strong instinct to chase and catch anything that moves. Flies, being small and agile, provide them with the perfect opportunity to hone their hunting skills and satisfy their predatory nature.

The act of catching and eating flies also provides cats with a form of mental and physical stimulation that is important for their overall wellbeing. However, it’s important to ensure that your cat is not consuming an excessive amount of flies as they can carry diseases and toxins that can be harmful to your cat.

As a responsible cat owner, it’s important to monitor your cat’s behavior and diet to ensure their health and safety. While fly-eating behavior may seem strange to us humans, it’s a natural and common behavior for cats that has been observed for centuries.

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