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Can My Cat Eat a Lizard? Do This, Don’t Panic

Cats are predators, as we know, and even though they have been domesticated for literally thousands of years, cats have still managed to retain pretty much all of their hunting instincts.

can my cat eat a lizard?

If you have an outdoor cat, chances are they’re going to spend a lot of their time chasing small animals and potentially eating them.

Some of those small animals will be lizards, which raises the question: Can my cat eat a lizard?

We’ll take look at not only whether or not your cat can eat a lizard but but what lizards may be harmful and what to do in an emergency.

Key Takeaways

  • While not poisonous, lizards can transmit parasites like liver flukes or diseases like salmonella to cats who eat them. This can cause serious illness.
  • Signs of illness after a cat eats a lizard can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, loss of appetite. Act quickly if these occur.
  • Know your local lizards; Certain lizard species like Gila monsters or Komodo dragons are venomous and can be fatal if eaten by a cat. 
  • Preventative measures like keeping cats indoors, securing enclosures, and blocking lizard access points can stop cats from eating lizards.

Related: Check out our buyers guide – Best Wet Cat Food For Indoor Cats.

Can my cat eat a lizard?

Most common lizards are not not toxic to cats however, It’s generally not a good idea to let your cat eat lizards, or any other wild animal for that matter. While it is usually safe for cats to eat lizards, there is still some risk involved.

Some can carry a parasitic liver fluke that can seriously harm your car if they eat it, or they might be carrying diseases like salmonella that can be dangerous to cats.

Can Cats Get Sick from Eating Lizards?

Yes, cats can get sick from eating lizards. While lizards aren’t poisonous, as we’ve mentioned, they can sometimes carry diseases and parasites that can potentially be fatal to your cat.

Many lizards, particularly those that live in the southern United States and Hawaii, are host to a parasitic liver fluke called Platynosomum fastosum. P. fastosum is not harmful to lizards but can be very harmful to cats when eaten.

If a cat eats a lizard infected with Platynosomum fastosum, (read more here) the parasite will travel to the cat’s liver and make itself at home while it matures. This can cause a potentially fatal inflammation of the liver, and may also block your cat’s bile ducts.

Lizards often transmit Salmonella bacteria, which isn’t as dangerous to cats but can still present a bit of a risk.

Healthy cats don’t usually get infected when consuming Salmonella-contaminated meat, but it can sometimes happen nonetheless. But they can get sick from slimy water bowls.

Yikes! Not only can lizards be poisonous, but they can carry parasites such as liver flukes that may kill the cat in as little as 12 weeks.

What Are the Signs of Poisoning in Cats?

The signs of poisoning in cats can vary, depending on what kind of poison it is and how your cat managed to come into contact with it. In any case, however, it’s usually pretty obvious if your cat has been poisoned.

Some of the symptoms of poisoning in cats include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Excessive urinating or thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Trembling or seizures
  • Loss of appetite
  • Physical weakness
  • Unsteady movement
  • Coma

If you think your cat is displaying any of the signs of poisoning, take them to an emergency vet right away.  Read can read more about symptoms of cat poisoning here.

cat outside

What To Do If Your Cat Eats a Lizard

If your cat eats a lizard and you’re either concerned about the species of lizard the cat ate or just all around worried, here’s the list of things you can do. Spoiler Alert: Get your vet involved!

  • Act Immediately
  • Look for Symptoms
  • Take preventative steps
  • Get and understand diagnostic tests
  • Try first aid if needed
  • Know your treatment options
  • Know the prognosis
  • Provide aftercare

Act Immediately

If you see your cat eat a lizard, contact your vet right away. Even if your cat seems perfectly fine, it’s important to let your vet know so they can advise you on next steps. Bring the lizard remains with you if possible so the vet can try to identify what kind it was. Some lizards carry more risks than others. Getting ahead of any potential issues is key.

Look For Symptoms

Over the next few hours and days, keep a close eye on your cat for any signs of illness. Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, weakness, or excessive drooling could indicate a problem. Make note of any symptoms you see and report them to your vet. The sooner you catch any illness, the better.

Take Preventative Steps

Even if your cat seems healthy, have your vet examine them as a precaution. They may also recommend giving your cat a deworming medication just in case the lizard was carrying any parasites. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Understand Diagnostic Tests

To check for potential issues, your vet may run tests like a fecal exam to check for parasites, bloodwork to look for infections, or imaging tests if symptoms are severe. Don’t be alarmed by testing – your vet just wants to cover all their bases.

Try First Aid if Needed

Only try to induce vomiting if your vet explicitly recommends it. Otherwise, focus on keeping your cat hydrated and comfortable until you can get to the vet. Time is of the essence, so get them checked out ASAP.

Treatment Options

If needed, treatment may include anti-parasitic medications, fluids, anti-nausea medication, or hospitalization for severe cases. Trust your vet to choose the right treatment plan for your cat’s situation.

Know the Prognosis From Your

The prognosis is excellent if any resulting illness is treated promptly. However, it becomes more guarded the longer treatment is delayed. So again, timely vet care is key!

Provide Aftercare

Once treatment is complete, follow up with exams to confirm your cat’s full recovery. Preventative care can help stop reinfection. Monitor your cat closely and alert your vet to any concerns. With proper care, your cat can bounce back from a lizard encounter.

Let me know if you would like me to modify or expand on any part of this draft blog post. I aimed to make it practical and easy to understand.

zootoca vivpara lizard

What Lizards Are Poisonous to Cats?

While there are no truly poisonous lizards native to the United States, some common backyard lizards can potentially pose a risk to cats if eaten.

Certain species like Gila Monsters found in the Southwest are venomous and can be harmful if a cat attempts to eat one. More often though, risk comes from parasites or bacteria lizards may carry, rather than toxins in their bodies.

For example, Salmonella is frequently found in reptiles and can sicken a cat if ingested. Some lizards also harbor parasitic worms or flukes in their intestines or liver that cats can contract.

So while an American cat owner does not need to worry about poisonous lizards, it is still wise to discourage hunting of native lizards to prevent illness from bacteria, parasites, or in rare cases venom. With basic precautions, cats and lizards can safely coexist in a backyard environment.

It’s important to note here that “poisonous” is not the same as “venomous”, although the two terms are often used interchangeably.

“Poisonous” refers to toxins that are introduced into the body by eating the thing that is poisonous, while “venomous” refers to toxins that are physically injected into the body via a bite or a sting.

While there aren’t any poisonous lizards, there are a few venomous ones. It was recently discovered that Komodo dragons actually possess venom, although unless you live in Indonesia you’ll never encounter this fearsome lizard.

List of Common Lizards

Remember to consult your vet with specific lizard questions you may have!

LizardPoisonous to CatsCarries ParasitesParasite NameCarries Liver Flukes
Green AnoleNoNoNo
Bearded DragonNoNoNo
Blue-Tongued SkinkNoNoNo
Leopard GeckoNoNoNo
GeckoNoYesSalmonellaYes
ChuckwallaNoNoNo
TeguNoNoNo
Monitor LizardYesYesSalmonellaYes
Gila MonsterYesNoNo
Beaded LizardYesNoNo
Komodo DragonYesYesSalmonella, cryptoNo
IguanaNoYesSalmonellaYes
AnoleNoNoNo
Fence LizardNoNoNo
Alligator LizardNoNoNo
Glass LizardNoNoNo
Legless LizardNoNoNo
SkinkNoNoNo
SwiftsNoNoNo
Night LizardNoNoNo

Do Cats Die After Eating Lizards?

Always keep in mind that it’s always possible for your cat to get very sick and possibly die after eating a lizard.

Keep this in mind;

Whether or not your cat will be affected can depend on the species of lizard, how toxic that lizard is and whether or not there are any parasites that the lizard may be carrying.

Get to know what lizards lurk in your area.

If you live in the southwestern States or Mexico, however, your cat might be at risk of running into a Gila monster or a beaded lizard. While these lizards aren’t generally found in urban areas, you or your cat might end up coming into contact with one if you live out in the country.

While the venom of these lizards isn’t usually fatal to humans, it is incredibly painful and will almost certainly be deadly for an animal like a cat.

There are also plenty of animals similar to lizards that are in fact poisonous when eaten. Salamanders and newts are not technically lizards, but do resemble lizards pretty closely and are small enough to potentially be eaten by a cat.

Most salamanders and newts have poisonous skin and eating one can lead to pretty serious illness.

Many frogs and toads also have toxic skin, so if you live anywhere near a place where you might regularly encounter these amphibians, it’s probably best to keep your cat inside.

gila monster

Is It OK for Cats to Eat House Lizards?

Odds are if a lizard actually makes its way into your house, your cat will probably not suffer if it ends up eating it.

Any lizards or other cold-blooded animals that decide to enter your house are probably not going to be poisonous, so you don’t have to worry about your cat being poisoned from eating a lizard that happens to get inside.

That being said, there is always the risk that your cat will pick up a liver fluke from eating a lizard, as we’ve mentioned.

If you suspect that your cat has eaten a lizard, it’s probably best to call your vet and let them know; they might want to give your cat a checkup, just to be safe.

How to Prevent Your Cats from Eating Lizards

It can be tough to stop your cat from trying to eat lizards, especially if you live in an area where lizards are plentiful in your yard including trees. However, there are several things you can do to prevent this.

Here’s a quick list of things you can do:

  • Keep your cat indoors
  • Secure your patio or porch
  • Teach you cat to ignore it
  • Close doors and windows
  • Is your cat on the hunting and stalking? Distract them
  • Pet lizard? keep it out of reach

Firstly, consider keeping your cat strictly indoors. While a lot of people think that keeping a cat indoors is “cruel”, in truth it’s actually a lot better for your cat’s health for them to remain indoors.

Indoor cats are less likely to be hit by cars or attacked by other animals, and they’re also less likely to eat things that aren’t good for them.

If you have a pet lizard aside from your cat, take care to make sure it is secured inside its cage at all times, and keep its cage out of your cat’s reach. 

Finally, if you find that lizards keep getting into your home, you should try and keep your windows and doors closed as much as you can and look for any gaps around your home that lizards could potentially get in from.

Can my cat eat a lizard… Summary

Can my cat eat a lizard? In most cases, if your cat eats a lizard, there isn’t really a huge cause for concern.

However, eating a lizard can potentially cause some serious health problems for cats, so you should do what you can to prevent this from happening. If your cat does eat a lizard, have them checked out by a vet just to be on the safe side.

Related Article: Is It OK To Mix Wet and Dry Cat Food?

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