Shield or stink bugs refer to a group of pesky insects named so due to their shielded body that has five sides or their ability to produce secretions with an obnoxious smell to deter predators from capturing, killing and eating them.
They belong to the family Pentatomidae and their examples include two-spotted, arboreal, Red-shouldered, spined soldier, rice, green and brown marmorated Pentatomidae. The last one is considered a very invasive and major agricultural pest that was accidentally introduced into the US.
These insects are come in various sizes (can be almost 2 centimeters in sizes but are 13-18mm in most instances) and have different colors. They do not sting or bite animals or human beings. Instead, they rely on plants, i.e., they have suckers they use to suck sap from leaves, stem, or roots of various plants including fruits, farm crops, and vegetables.
Can cats eat stink bugs?
Besides capturing, killing, and mice, rats, shrews, rabbits, small birds, and reptiles, cats and dogs will from time to time chase, capture, and eat various bugs such as grasshoppers, crickets, termites, flies, beetles including the June beetle and many others.
What about shield bugs, are they poisonous or safe to your feline friend? Should you let them have these malodorous insects?
If your cat ate stink bugs, you should not be worried since they are not poisonous to this pet or even dogs. However, their secretions might not only irritate this pet’s mouth lining (tongue, lips, and gums) or eyes (if they get into the eye) but also irritate the gastrointestinal tract.
Therefore, you should expect your feline to drool, vomit, and show signs of gastrointestinal disturbances. Most of these symptoms will resolve on their own after some time.
Furthermore, their nasty taste is likely to make most cats not to munch them. They might kill them but not eat them. In very rare occasions do these pets capture and ingest these insects.
Finally, if you often spray these insects with the various insecticides, they have ingredients that are toxic to these animals. Ensure your feline does not ingest those that are soaked in insecticides.
Whereas bugs are not harmful to your cats, you need to know there are some that are poisonous to these animals such as the fireflies and lovebugs. Some such as the black widow spider can bite this pet while it is trying to eat it and cause several health issues.
Leaving aside the issue of stink bugs and cats, you should not ignore the fact that some insects are vectors for several diseases. Furthermore, some may also help spread various internal parasites to your cats. Therefore, if possible, discourage any of your pets from eating them.