An adult millipede looks like a tiny spider.
They are approximately 1 to 2 inches in size. Due to their tiny size, they are easily spread around by crawling up walls and getting into cracks and crevices in homes and businesses.
While they are harmless to cats, they do pose a health hazard to pets and small children. So, are millipedes poisonous to cats?
Millipedes have a bad reputation for supposedly being poisonous to cats. However, this reputation is undeserved.
First off, millipedes can’t poison cats because millipedes don’t have poison glands. However, they secrete a brown liquid that can harm cats if ingested in large quantities.
Therefore, millipedes should be kept away from cats. However, there’s no evidence that cats actually die from eating millipedes.
Furthermore, some cat owners claim that their cats love eating millipedes, so there’s no reason to keep them away from cats.
- 1 Are Millipedes Poisonous To Cats?
- 2 Can Cats Eat Millipedes?
- 3 What Are Millipedes?
- 4 Is It Possible to Consume Millipedes?
- 5 What Happens When A Cat Eat A Millipede?
- 6 Are Centipedes Toxic to Cats?
- 7 Do Millipedes Hurt You?
- 8 Can Millipedes Bite Cats?
- 9 Final Words
Are Millipedes Poisonous To Cats?
No, millipedes are not poisonous to cats and they don’t bite them either.
Some species, however, produce defense secretions that cause irritation or burning of the eyes and skin of cats and dogs if eaten in large amounts.
Hydrochloric acid, organic acids, phenol, cresols, hydrogen cyanide, benzoquinones and hydroquinone are among the substances identified in the secretion.
Can Cats Eat Millipedes?
Cats and millipedes may seem like an unlikely pairing, but it’s actually not uncommon for cats to eat millipedes.
Cats may eat millipedes for a variety of reasons, but most often it’s because the millipedes taste delicious or they are attracted to the scent of the millipede.
Although millipedes aren’t poisonous to cats, the millipedes can cause some mild side effects in cats if the cat eats too many millipedes. So, should cats eat millipedes?
Millipedes don’t pose any risks to cats when eaten in small quantities.
However, when cats eat too many millipedes, they may experience some side effects, such as diarrhea.
Cats may also experience an allergic reaction when eating millipedes.
Cats may not immediately stop eating millipedes if they start experiencing ill effects, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or loss of appetite.
Instead, they may continue to eat the millipedes in an attempt to relieve the symptoms.
This often makes the symptoms worse because millipedes contain toxins that can affect a cat’s overall health.
Millipedes can irritate a cat’s stomach and cause vomiting and diarrhea.
In some cases, eating too many millipedes can also cause an allergic reaction in cats that may lead to difficulty breathing, swelling of the face, and excessive itching.
So, the answer is no. Cats shouldn’t eat millipedes because they can cause severe side effects in cats if eaten in large amounts or for a long period of time.
What Are Millipedes?
Millipedes are legless arthropods characterized by thousands of segments.
They are easily identifiable by their segmented body and six legs. Often, millipedes lack wings.
Instead, they have a pair of antennae on top of their head for sensory perception. Although their appearance is off-putting, millipedes are beneficial insects and are an important component of our ecosystem.
They provide food to other animals, act as natural pest controllers, and recycle matter.
Types of Millipedes
There are 12,000 species of millipedes in the world with 5,000 species in North America alone.
They come in many different shapes and sizes. Some millipedes grow over 2 feet long while others come in a size of only 1/16 of an inch.
Millipedes are classified into types depending on their body structure:
- The centipedes have fewer segments than millipedes. Centipedes usually have between 15 and 114 body segments. Centipedes are predatory in nature and feed on insects.
- The millipedes have more segments than centipedes. Millipedes usually have between 15 and 750 body segments. Millipedes are predatory in nature as well and feed on insects, worms, and other small animals.
Millipedes have an exoskeleton which is made up of calcium carbonate.
The exoskeleton allows the animal to be durable but also protects it from predators. The exoskeleton comes in two layers: an outer hard shell and an inner soft shell.
Female millipedes lay eggs when their bodies are full of eggs. The female millipedes will roll up on itself and emit a hormone that attracts males.
The eggs are then deposited in the soil. The female millipede then dies after laying the eggs.
For up to 8 weeks, the eggs stay in the soil where they receive nourishment from organic materials.
The eggs develop into larvae after a few weeks. The larvae molt (they shed their skins) four times until they become adults.
Habits and Behavior
Millipedes eat decaying matter, dead insects, and other small animals. They usually stay underground during the day and come out at night to search for food.
Is It Possible to Consume Millipedes?
No, if eaten, they may cause serious side effects in cats including: breathing difficulties, inflammation of the mouth, throat swelling, increased heart rate, coma and death if ingested in large quantities or for a long period time.
However, if the millipede was producing defense chemicals, it might cause an allergic reaction in some people such as asthma or wheezing attacks when touched or inhaled.
She will vomit, meow excessively, and be restless if she feels threatened.
What Happens When A Cat Eat A Millipede?
A cat’s instinct to eat a millipede is very strong but what happens if the cat eats a millipede? The answers to these questions are below.
A cat’s instinct to eat a millipede is very strong.
Millipedes are meant to be eaten by other small insects or animals and not by cats.
In fact, millipedes are dangerous and poisonous to cats. However, some cats might eat a millipede if they smell it or find it on the floor.
Cats can die if they eat a millipede. The millipede’s poison can kill a cat.
A cat can also die from eating a millipede if it is too big for it to swallow.
Even if the cat survives after swallowing the millipede, it can still make the cat very sick and it can also irritate its stomach.
Are Centipedes Toxic to Cats?
Cats are poisoned by the toxicity of the toxic secretions from certain body parts of these animals such as their tail end and their claws.
Larger centipedes with venom may bite a cat causing severe pain to the animal as it causes swelling and bleeding in the tissue around the bite site.
If you believe your cat was bitten by a centiped that poses danger to your cat, immediately take him/her to the vet for treatment as it can be fatal if not treated properly.
The Giant Red-headed centipede and the Texas Red-headed centipede are poisonous to cats and can cause death within a few hours of ingestion.
Do Millipedes Hurt You?
No, millipedes do not harm humans. To humans, millipedes have no skin or hair so they can’t hurt humans.
Millipedes do have millions of microscopic hooks that can irritate the skin if you touch them. The hooks can cause small cuts and scratches on the skin.
However, these do not pose any threat to human health.
Most millipedes contain chemicals that make them distasteful or taste bad to humans.
They are not aggressive and normally run away when you approach them.
When they are really threatened, however, they can produce a defense chemical that smells like garlic.
The irritant fluid includes hydrochloric acid, calcium oxalate crystals, urease, histamines and lactic acid which can damage the mouth, throat and cause burning of the skin on contact.
Can Millipedes Bite Cats?
Millipedes do not attack cats because their major defense strategy against predators is to run away.
However, millipedes can bite a cat if the cat has grabbed the millipede by its legs or is tightly holding on.
The bite could be very small and may cause irritation.
To determine whether the millipede has bitten the cat or not, check the area to see if there is any sign of bite marks.
Also Read: Is Calandiva Poisonous To Cats?
Cats are naturally curious, and when they see something new they will probably want to try it out.
Millipedes, like beetles and butterflies, are interesting to look at and may catch the attention of a curious cat.
Although millipedes are not harmful to cats, you should still keep them away from your kitty and keep them out of reach.