Cat lovers who live outside cities, will eventually ask one crucial question, if they haven’t already: do cats eat squirrels. In the end, squirrels are rodents.
We all know that cats are carnivores, but do cats eat squirrels, too? As you may already know, in addition to being a feline enthusiast, I am also a farmer and I encounter a lot of squirrels in my daily life. As a father of two cats, I need to be very careful of what my kitties hunt and eat because they will hunt something no matter what you do.
Do Cats Eat Squirrels?
Yes, cats do eat squirrels. In fact, many cats enjoy eating squirrels as a tasty treat. Squirrels are a good source of protein for cats and can help them stay healthy and fit. However, there are risks of eating squirrels, too but we will come to that later on.
Cats are actually more opportunistic eaters than we give them credit for. If they see a squirrel that is weak or injured, they will probably go for it and if they see a baby squirrel, they will definitely go for it. However, if the squirrel is young and healthy, it will most likely outrun the kitty because most cats are not as fast as squirrels.
Squirrels are that different from mice or rats from a cat’s perspective. They are small and fast preys that are perfectly OK to play with for some time, hunt, show as trophies to the humans around, throw to the air and catch again for some fun and practice and then eat.
Can Cats Digest Squirrels?
Whether or not a cat can digest a squirrel depends on the size of the squirrel relative to the size of the cat. If the squirrel is too large, the cat may not be able to eat it all, and if it’s too small, the cat may not get enough nutrients from it. In general, though, cats are able to digest squirrels just fine.
Your cat may not be good at digesting dairy products or some other human foods such as ice cream or whipped cream, but they are much better at digesting animals that are smaller than them. Keep in mind that cats are all over the world because we humans used them as rodent hunters and took them with us wherever we went.
However, while digestion itself does not pose a threat, there might be some bacteria, virus or microbes that may seriously make your cat sick and cause serious health issues and a lot of pain for your little friend.
Is Eating Squirrels Harmful to Cats?
There are a lot of things to get concerned if your cat hunts and eats a squirrel. The first concern begins with the hunt itself because just like your little predator, squirrels are not really the cute little things you think they are. They have sharp claws and teeth that can cause serious harm to your kitty.
Let’s say that your cat, being the little killer it is, successfully caught its prey without being harmed. Then another issue comes up which is parasites and worms the squirrel is likely to carry. Also, there are fleas, ticks, mites and other external parasites which are never fun to deal with.
The risks of eating a squirrel does not end there and we haven’t even started talking about the diseases it can carry. Before the diseases, you need to consider the human factor. Yes, the human factor! A lot of people use poisons to keep squirrels away from their environment and guess what happens to your cat if it eats a poisoned squirrel…
In short, there are a lot of really good reasons to keep your cat away from squirrels. But how can you achieve this?
How Can I Prevent My Cat From Hunting Squirrels?
Do cats eat squirrels? Yes. Are there some serious risks associated with cats eating squirrels? Yes. So, you may want to prevent your cat from eating squirrels. It might be obvious but the best way to prevent your cat from going after squirrels is to keep the little troublemaker inside.
It might seem cruel to keep your cat inside especially if it is used to going out but considering the potential injuries from squirrels defending themselves and the possible diseases or parasites carried by these rodents, it is definitely not cruelty to keep your little friend safe.
Is it safe for cats to eat squirrels?
Squirrel meat is not toxic to cats, and we can even say that the meat for squirrels is good for cats because cats are obligate carnivores however squirrels have a serious potential to carry diseases and parasites.
Therefore, eating squirrels may seriously harm a cat’s health just like flies.
What diseases can squirrels pass to cats?
Squirrels are potential carriers for many diseases but the most important ones that may harm your cat are Rabies, Tularemia, Salmonellosis, Leptospirosis, Lyme disease and Plague.
My cat ate a squirrel. What should I do?
If your cat ate a squirrel somehow, don’t start panicking. The chances are nothing bad will happen, but the potential dangers are serious, so it is wise to take your kitty to your regular veterinarian as soon as possible for some tests.
Conclusion – Do Cats Eat Squirrels?
After all the information above, let’s ask it one more time: Do cats eat squirrels? The answer is yes, given the opportunity cats can and will eat squirrels. This being said, most cats will not be able to catch a young and healthy squirrel because squirrels are faster than most cats.
Cats may go after baby, old, injured or sick squirrels and can be successful in hunting them. This poses some dangers to cats such as some nasty diseases and parasites as well as the potential injuries from squirrel claws and teeth.
What you can do to prevent your cat from doing so is keeping it inside because it is simply not possible to keep squirrels away, no matter what you do. If your cat somehow eats a squirrel, please consult to your veterinarian as soon as possible.