In the past, cats have been used as some form of pest control. For centuries, farmers have employed them to help keep out mice, rats, bugs, and other tiny pests. But are your feline friends any good at doing the dirty work of keeping roaches out of your home?
Cats may help reduce roach infestation as they will naturally chase down bugs and insects to satisfy their hunting instincts. However, cats are not the most effective method of controlling roaches, and there are certainly better options you can employ to eliminate them for good.
In this article, we will explain how your cat may help with roaches and investigate if cats can attract roaches. We’ll also consider if cockroaches are safe for your cat to eat and explore other more effective ways of controlling roaches.
How Can Cats Help With Fighting Cockroaches?
Cockroaches are definitely one of the most disgusting and hated pests. They are also one of the hardest pests to control; however, some predators have proven to be good exterminators. A wandering roach passing the field of view of a cat should not be surprised if it gets chased and devoured by that cat. They are simply prey.
The smell of roaches gets a cat’s attention, and a cat is averagely inquisitive. A cat will naturally chase down a cockroach just for the thrill of it. As gross as it may seem, most cats will go further to kill and eat the cockroach. According to experts, cats see roaches as things they can play with as well as eat.
Also, roaches will instinctively flee from potential predators such as humans and cats. Cockroaches rely on their compound eyes and range of senses to locate food and water, mark out territory, and detect danger.
Do Cats Attract Roaches?
Cockroaches are naturally attracted to dirty things. If you keep dirt in and around your house, it would likely be home to cockroaches. Cats themselves do not attract roaches. However, dirty cat litter will naturally attract these pests.
As omnivores, cockroaches will consume anything plant and meat-related. Your cat’s litter type also determines how it attracts roaches. One example is biodegradable litter, which is very environmentally-friendly. However, because it is made of plant-based materials such as wheat, pine, soybean, and corn, it can become a source of food for roaches.
As a result, if you’re concerned about your cat’s litter attracting roaches, it’s best to choose one that will not. Other types of cat litters include clay-based and silica-based litter. Clay-based litter has been around for a long time and are the best to avoid attracting cockroaches.
Silica-based cat litters are another option if you’re looking to avoid bringing in cockroaches. They are made from silica-gel and help to neutralize odors. Some silica-based cat litter is also manufactured to be compostable.
Regardless of the type of litter you choose, it’s important always to keep it clean. You can also use deodorizers to keep your cat’s litter smelling nice. A clean litter is less attractive to roaches and helps to maintain a healthy environment for your cat.
Should You Let Your Cat Eat Roaches?
It should come as no surprise to you if you notice your cat has a roach in her mouth. Cats are instinctive hunters (in their own way) and will chase and ingest a roach, incredibly, when hungry.
The ingested roach is highly unlikely to cause any trouble for your cat. Plus, for your cat, there are no benefits to eating a roach other than the protein it comes with. However, a cockroach’s hard exoskeleton may irritate the cat’s stomach as it is hard for them to break it down.
Sometimes, if a cat eats a cockroach, you’ll find pieces of the cockroach’s exoskeleton in its feces. Also, if your cat doesn’t chew it thoroughly, parts of the cockroach’s body may choke them and cause vomiting.
The most dangerous situation for any cat owner is if your cat eats a roach that has been killed with insecticides. If you or a neighbor recently used an insecticide or pesticide, and as a result, dead roaches are scattered around your vicinity, you must prevent your cat from eating them.
When an insecticide kills a cockroach, the chemical formula still lingers around the roach. Eating such a roach, which has insecticide or pesticide all over it, can cause gastrointestinal issues (GI) in your cat, especially when eaten in excess.
Roaches may also carry germs and bacteria. After all, they love anything dirty. If a cat eats a roach carrying bacteria, it may experience vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, dizziness, and difficulty walking.
If you’re sure that your cat hunted and killed the roach by herself, you can rest safe in the knowledge that nothing will happen to her.
However, it’s not a good idea to encourage the habit. Instead, keep your cat busy with toys so she has less interest in hunting roaches or other insects. If your cat eats a cockroach treated with pesticides or develops any of the symptoms mentioned earlier, seek veterinary help immediately, as the situation could be a life-threatening one.
Are Cats an Effective Roach Control Option?
Cats have proven to be an effective means of preventing frequent pest invasion from rodents due to their quintessential predator-prey duo. Like the rodents, cats will chase down stray roaches in its sight or smell range—not only for the hunt but as a mere sport for the cat.
Having a cat in your home may reduce the number of roaches and rodents. However, if you’re battling a large roach infestation, getting a cat to eliminate them is not the best option.
One of the best ways to eliminate cockroaches is to use roach bait. You can prepare a roach bait yourself or buy it from the store. The idea is to have roaches carry the bait to their nests, where they ingest it and die. Roaches aren’t picky about what they eat, so they will eat other roaches killed by the bait.
You can also use boric acid to fight them. Mix boric acid, flour, and sugar in equal amounts and add little water to make a dough. However, it can be extremely dangerous if you have pets around. Place the acid in strategic places such as behind cabinets and drawers and under the refrigerator and stove.
Insecticides can help to control cockroaches, but not to fight an infestation and eliminate them. You may also try gel baits and traps to reduce an infestation. Roaches get caught in the glue and will be trapped inside. However, it is not effective for large infestations.
If all else fails and you struggle to eliminate these persistent creatures, hire a professional pest management exterminator.
Limitations Of Using Cats For Roach Control
Using cats for roach control can be limited in several ways.
Firstly, cats may not effectively control roach populations in large areas or commercial settings. Roaches can hide in small cracks and crevices that cats may not be able to reach. Additionally, cats may be unable to differentiate between roaches and other insects, leading to unnecessary harm to beneficial insects (if that is something you are concerned with).
Finally, it is essential to consider the ethical implications of using cats as a pest control method, as it may be cruel to subject cats to a lifestyle of hunting and killing insects.
Tips to Prevent Roach Infestation
The best way to avoid battling roaches is to prevent them from getting in your home in the first place. Here are some tips to help you manage and prevent roaches:
- Consistent cleaning of the home. Thoroughly clean your home, even the most unused areas of the house.
- Spray liquid concentrates are made to deter roaches into cracks, crevices, and any other roach hideout.
- Seal up holes, crevices, and any other potential entry points.
- Clear out the clutter.
- Clear out or recycle cardboard boxes and old newspapers.
Cats are a good enough way of preventing or reducing the number of roaches in your home. However, as discussed in the article, they’re not the best way to fight a roach infestation. If you’re looking to get rid of roaches permanently, try poison baits, boric acid, glue traps, liquid concentrates, or pesticides.
To prevent roaches from getting into your home, cut off their food supply by constantly cleaning spilled food or leftover food in the kitchen. Also, block crevices and entry points, clean your cabinets and get rid of old boxes and newspapers.