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Are earwigs dangerous to cats?

Are earwigs dangerous to cats?

September 18, 2023

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Earwigs are a common insect found in many parts of the world, including the United States. While they might not be the most pleasant creatures to look at, many cat owners find themselves wondering if these insects pose a threat to their feline friends. Let’s dive into this topic and explore whether earwigs are dangerous to cats.

The Nature of Earwigs

Are earwigs dangerous to cats?

Earwigs are small insects that typically measure about 5-25 millimeters in length. They are easily identifiable by their long, slender bodies and distinctive pincer-like appendages at their rear ends. Despite their somewhat menacing appearance, earwigs are generally harmless to humans and pets. According to the University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, earwigs do not transmit diseases nor are they venomous.

Cats and Earwigs Interaction

Being natural hunters, cats may be drawn to the movement of earwigs and other small insects. However, this interaction is usually more of a curiosity or play behavior for the cat rather than a source of danger. In fact, according to Dr. Justine Lee, a board-certified veterinary specialist in emergency/critical care and toxicology, earwigs do not pose a significant threat to cats.

Are Earwigs Poisonous to Cats?

Despite some popular myths, earwigs are not poisonous or venomous. They do have the ability to pinch with their forceps (the pincer-like appendages), but this rarely breaks the skin and is not typically harmful. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, there is no evidence that an earwig’s pinch can transmit disease or cause other health issues in cats.

Can Earwigs Infest Cats?

While earwigs are known to hide in dark, damp places during the day, they are not parasites and do not infest animals or humans. The University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program asserts that earwigs do not burrow into people’s ears or bodies—a common myth about these insects.

Preventing Cat and Earwig Encounters

While earwigs are generally harmless to cats, some cat owners may still want to prevent their pets from interacting with these insects. Here are some tips:

  • Regularly clean and vacuum your home to eliminate potential hiding spots for earwigs.
  • Maintain a dry environment as earwigs are attracted to damp areas.
  • Seal any cracks or openings in your home where earwigs could enter.
  • If you notice a large number of earwigs in your home or yard, consider consulting with a pest control professional.


In conclusion, while they might be a little creepy to look at, earwigs pose no significant threat to cats. They are not venomous or disease carriers, and they do not infest animals. However, if you wish to limit your cat’s interaction with these insects, regular cleaning and maintaining a dry environment can help keep them at bay. When in doubt, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian or pest control professional for advice tailored to your specific situation.

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