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C2007-13

Dear Christopher Cat

My cat Cricket stalks and kills the centipedes that slip into our house this time of year. She eats every one she catches. Are centipedes toxic to cats?

Christopher Responds

I occasionally see centipedes in my house, too, but they shuffle down the shower drain before I can catch them.

Cricket is obviously a most accomplished hunter.

You’ll be relieved to learn that the relatively mild toxin in the common centipede of northeastern United States isn’t toxic when ingested.

Nevertheless, overindulging on centipedes might upset Cricket’s stomach.

What worries me more is the centipede’s bite. While centipedes feed on small insects, they still can bite us cats -– and even you humans.

Though the bite isn’t dangerous, it burns like a bee sting.

Bites of other species of centipedes, particularly the tropical centipedes that some people keep as pets, are more dangerous, because their venom is very toxic.

My advice is to help Cricket with pest control by escorting the centipedes outdoors on a piece of paper.

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