Do cats eat ants? (Is it dangerous?!)

The short answer is yes, cats do eat ants. It’s usual for cats to eat ants since they are also eating bugs like flies and spiders. Further, eating ants has a calming effect on cats. Thus, these feline animals have a specific response upon encountering such tiny creatures. The dead ants attract cats the most, which is why cats killing and eating them would be nothing but ordinary.

But why do ants attract cats? What’s with a dead ant that makes them attractive to cats?

Let’s find out.

Ants as Prey to Cats

As tiny as they are, it’s quite puzzling to think that ants would gain the eyes of many cats.

Ants seldom attract our attention. At most times, they usually would if they venture out into our food. Other than that, they are nothing more but tiny animals roaming around like they have their world.

For cats, however, ants are a completely different thing.

Are Cats Attracted To Ants?

Ants contain certain chemicals that attract cats so much. The said chemical is the Oleic Acid, and ants have a lot of this acid.

Oleic Acid to cats: What is Oleic Acid?

Oleic Acid is a fatty acid, available in ants and cats. In the naked eye, this acid comes in the form of an odorless and colorless oil.

This particular acid acts as pheromones for the ants. What it does is it helps them communicate with other ants about ant-life types of things.

Cats similarly use these acids: to interact with each other and with the world around them. Thus, they can sense it with ease, especially with ants that emit them as they die.

As cats sense these pheromones from ants, they won’t be able to resist. The reason is that these chemicals coming from ants have a calming effect on them.

Now, the question is, where do cats usually find ants.

Let’s start with the home of ants.

Where do ants live?

Ants are animals that live with a kind of structure. Thus, they live in nest communities, which form a type of harmony in itself.

Most ants live underground, in ground-level mounds, or even in trees.

Due to a cat’s playful spirit, it may end up destroying a mound and cause ants to disperse. But, that’s not the usual way the two animals meet.

Most cats see ants crawling in the house, looking for food if they haven’t yet found any.

Ants usually form a single file when they have gotten food already. It can be amusing to a playful cat, so it’s likely they would become an object of a cat play.

The other thing, which is likely to happen, is that cats found ants in their food.

Now, how do they eat such small animals?

How do cats eat ants?

Unlike other prey, an ant is an easy-to-get treat for a cat. Since it’s small enough, it won’t likely get to escape.

Further, a single stomp from a cat can take the life out of many ants.

Wherever both animals encounter each other, be it in walls, grass, or food, the cat will likely have its way.

Even so, ants can also become a nuisance to cats.

Related – What about squirrels? Check out – Do cats eat squirrels?

Do ants bother cats?

Ants don’t usually bother cats. Most of these tiny animals only mind their business, searching for food to bring into their homes.

The only reason why they would bother cats is if these feline animals attack them first.

Cats are curious animals, and they would play with ants immediately upon sight.

Other than these instances, ants usually go in their way and won’t disturb a cat that pays no attention to them.

Are Ants Harmful To Cats?

Despite their tiny size, ants can be quite harmful to cats.

First, ants can bite, and it can sting.

Despite their size, most ants can bite pretty strong. Further, while their bite already stings enough, a colony is out there to increase that pain.

While most ants are harmless for cats, other types can lead cats to serious trouble.

Ants, especially fire ants, can become a danger for cats. This type of ant contains venomous bites that are not only painful. In worse cases, it can even cause a severe allergic reaction.

Second, ants that die out of ant traps can be toxic for cats.

Cats are playful enough to discard the consequences of eating ants that die due to toxins.

While a few ants with toxins may be harmless, eating out a colony with toxic chemicals in them may be dangerous.

RelatedDo cats eat ferrets?

Why do cats like dead ants?

Dead ants attract cats stronger than the live ones.

While cats are usually suckers for moving animals, they would sense dead ants more than the live ones.

As stated above, ants contain oleic acid, which is something that cats find attractive.

Ants that died due to stomping emits this acid, which is easy to sense for cats.

The oleic acid, which becomes comforting for cats, becomes a factor for cats to rub their paws in it and eat it.

Are ant traps safe for cats?

It’s not unusual that cats may notice ant traps and play with it.

As much as these traps invite the senses of ants, it can also entice cats to play with it.

Typical ant traps may be fatal for ants. For more prominent animals like cats, however, it is less likely to take any adverse effect.

While these may be true, a significant ant trap intake may cause an upset stomach for your cat.

Thus, it’s best to prevent your cat from noticing such ant traps, or place it where your cat won’t see.

Since cats can access almost anything, it’s ideal for putting it in an enclosed space where ants can still go through.

Do you want to know if cats eat snails or bats? Check it out!

How to get rid of ants in your cat?

If ants get in your cat and bite a lot, it can be quite irritating for your pet.

In this situation, you can repel the ant with some chemical sprays, but it can also be harmful to your cat.

The best solution is to use vinegar as an ant repellant. With a 3:1 ratio of vinegar to the water, spray the mixture to your cat. The acidity of the vinegar will work its way to ants.

While your cat may not like the taste of vinegar, it’s entirely harmless for them. In some cases, ants may get into your cat from the food you feed.

Ants usually target unattended food. These little animals will usually go to your cat’s bowl if your cat leaves the remaining crumbs. To prevent such from happening, always clean the area after your cat finishes a meal.

What other animals eat ants?

Setting cats aside, there are other animals out there that eat ants as well. Most animals that survive by eating insects eat ants as well.

Some of the insects and small animals that include ants in their diet are:

  • Flies, caterpillar, and beetles
  • Spiders like jumping spiders and black widow spiders
  • Snails and other organisms with hard shells
  • Various types of snakes
  • Some fishes and lizards
  • Birds like sparrows, starlings, and grouse
  • Mammals such as bears and coyotes

Other animals use ants to help them survive and procreate. For some flies they will lay their eggs on the bodies of ants. When their larvae are born, it will eat the ants around.

Some spiders will attract ants and spin them with their web into little bite-sized snacks.

Bears, in some instances, will consume ants as a sweet treat. It usually happens when they discover wild honey stash.


  • Cats do eat ants. As cats eat a lot of bugs and insects, ants can also take part in their diet. Cats have a specific response with ants, as these tiny crawlers are attractive to them.
  • Ants are prey to cats because they are everywhere. Ants are attractive for cats due to their oleic acid.
  • Oleic acid works as pheromones to both animals. It serves as their way of interacting with their fellow animals. For cats, these pheromones are cozy, and it makes them happy.
  • Ants live mostly everywhere. Even so, they usually encounter cats when they are searching for food. Cats eat ants mostly after they play with them. Cats prefer playing with them, rubbing them because of the oleic acid they emit.
  • Ants don’t bother cats unless cats attack and disturb them first. They can be dangerous to cats as they bite, and their death may be toxic for cats due to ant traps.
  • Dead ants emit oleic acid inside them, making them a strong attraction to cats.
  • While ant traps may be safe for cats, it’s best to put it somewhere unreachable for your cat. The best way to get rid of ants in cats is to spray with a vinegar solution. Further, prevent ants from getting near your cats. Do this by always cleaning up crumbs left to avoid ants in your home.
  • Aside from cats, other animals eat ants.
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