Protecting Your Cat’s Food from Insect Infestation: Tips from a Vet

While it’s still fairly warm and our doors to the gardens remain open, an unexpected danger could be lurking in your home, targeting your beloved feline companion. Those annoying insects aren’t only buzzing around your own food, but your cat’s food too. But could this be dangerous for your furry friend?  

Max, from London, experienced this first hand, when he noticed something suspicious in his cat Pan’s food on a summer evening. Max noticed Pan was not eating his food and was being sick often. “I was concerned about my cat Pan not eating, so I took a closer look at his food bowl. There was something that looked like rice in the food. At first, I thought they had started to add rice as an ingredient, so I checked the packet, but didn’t see any rice mentioned in the ingredients.” 

After turning to internet forums, Max had a shock when he quickly realised it wasn’t rice but fly eggs resting on Pan’s food. Max adds; “It seems as though many other pet owners have had similar experiences, as there were endless forums with pictures online that matched how Pan’s food looked. I threw away the food, and the “rice” turned to maggots, confirming my worst suspicions.”  

Dr Matt Spiegle, a veterinarian on platform Vetster, has seen this scenario before. Dr Matt says, “Unlike dogs, who wolf down their food in one go, cats often graze throughout the day. This means we leave their food out, making it vulnerable to pests like flies and ants.” 

“The good news is, if your cat does swallow any fly eggs or pests, they are unlikely to experience any significant illness. Like Pan, they may experience some vomiting. This is a reaction to get the unwelcome visitors out of their digestive tract and usually isn’t an immediate cause for concern.” says Matt, “However, it is always important to rule out any other reasons they might be vomiting. An easy option to do this is to contact a vet online, or via telephone, to do so. This is something we do often at Vetster, and it helps put pet owners’ minds at ease.” 

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to avoid insects infecting your cat’s food, whilst still enjoying a summer breeze. Dr Matt shares his advice below: 

· Work to your cat’s schedule – If you’re willing to answer to your cat’s beckoning needs, wait for them to tell you when they are hungry and only serve food to them when they “ask” Stay with them until they are finished, and then remove the food from insect reach.

· Keep it sealed – Keep any opened cat food in airtight containers, or covered with cling film, to stop any unwanted insects making a bit for your cat’s feline feasts.

· Consider only leaving out dry food – Insects are less attracted to dry food and biscuits. So, if you need to leave food out for your cat, this is a good option.

· Be on the lookout – If you are leaving your doors and windows open, and have spotted some insects in the house, make sure to double-check your cat’s food before you serve it to them. Know the signs of insect infestation, and if anything looks untoward in your cat’s food, throw it away.

· Consider automated cat feeders – If you are worried about your cat’s dry food too, you could consider an automated feeder that dispenses food only when your cat is nearby 

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