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What To Do If Your Cat Ate A Bee

What happens if a cat eats a bee? Should owners be worried? Will the cat need medical attention? We have the answers and more.

Danielle DeGroot

Last Updated: September 7, 2022 | 7 min read

Tabby cat looking at a flying oriental hornet, attacking the cat nose

Cats are incredibly curious, and do strange things like lick plastic bags, steal socks, and eat things they should not. One of the things they love to eat is insects. They can spend the good part of an afternoon hunting down a fly that snuck inside. One insect feline owners may worry about are bees. They often ask, what to do if my cat ate a bee?

Bees are crafty and, just like flies, can find their way inside. Cats can encounter them outside, as many feline breeds are trained to walk on leashes. This can quickly become chaotic, and owners may be left wondering what to do.

The mix of flying, stinging insects, and felines can be a scary situation all around. Owners will have many questions and be highly concerned about their purr baby. This guide answers the question of what to do if your cat eats a bee.

Reminders

It can be terrifying when a cat is in distress. Owners must do their best to stay calm and remember that the kitty is even more afraid than they are. Do not panic. Act quickly, and make sure to attend to your pet. Keep in mind that the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. It is for informational purposes only. Always seek veterinary treatment as soon as possible if your pet is in great distress.

Are Bees Poisonous To Cats?

The good news is that bees are not toxic to cats. If a kitty eats one, they should be able to digest and pass it. Cats who eat these flying critters and manage not to get stung in the process will usually not have a lot of trouble. However, this issue is not as simple as it seems.

The main issue with kitties eating bees is that they have stingers, which can hurt and sometimes cause severe reactions. Felines risk a sting on the face, mouth, paws, and neck. Sometimes this can even happen after they eat the bee’s body, as the stingers often get separated.

Bee stings can cause pain, swelling, and in some cases, an allergic reaction in felines. They are often stung multiple times, so owners must pay close attention. An allergic reaction can be very serious, so observing a kitty and contacting the veterinarian for advice is crucial.

My Cat Ate A Bee, What Now?

The first thing to do if an owner believes their kitty has eaten a bee is to observe them. Inspect for any signs of stinging or swelling. Felines often get stung inside their mouths and throats. They can also get stung on their paws, legs, and neck. Kitties may start out by playing with a bee, chasing it, and batting it about, leaving themselves vulnerable to a sting.

If a kitty eats a bee, there is a good chance it will digest normally, absorb the boost of protein, and be just fine. The primary concern is the stinger and finding out if they were punctured somewhere. It is common for kitties to be stung if they try to eat a bee. If they do get stung, they may need veterinary treatment.

Signs A Cat Has Been Stung

A kitty that has been hurt will give off some signs. Remember that felines are incredibly good at masking symptoms of pain and illness. Because of this, they often go sick or injured without their owners knowing until it becomes an emergency situation. Sometimes the hints are subtle, but felines may give some behavioral indications that they are not feeling well.

Signs of a sting can include:

  1. Loud meowing and yowling that is normal for them.
  2. Intense focus on a specific body part, likely where they were hurt.
  3. Swelling at the site puncture
  4. Pawing or licking the spot that hurts
  5. Swelling near the throat and airway

Allergic Reactions

Like humans, felines can be allergic to venom when pricked by a bee or wasp. An allergic reaction can occur, and symptoms can sometimes be quite severe. Owners who suspect their kitty is allergic should seek emergency medical treatment as soon as possible.

Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  1. Shortness of breath, rapid breathing, and difficulty breathing
  2. Collapsing, weakness, or lethargy
  3. Pale gums
  4. Vomiting
  5. Diarrhea
  6. Excessive swelling at the site that starts spreading to a larger area.

Anaphylactic shock is a severe reaction. This can include symptoms like cold limbs, trouble breathing, vomiting, excessive drooling, extreme energy or excitement, facial swelling, itchy skin, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, pale gums, and even coma. This needs immediate medical attention.

Any of these symptoms after the sting require immediate contact with your veterinarian. It is always better to air on the side of caution as some insect stings can cause a severe reaction, including anaphylactic shock.

Treatment If A Cat Eats A Bee

If your kitty has eaten a bee and is not stung, there is not much to do other than observe them and wait for the digestive process to work. If they have been stung, they will need treatment.

  1. Locate the sting.
  2. If the stinger is still embedded in your cat’s skin, it will need to be removed. If it happens in the kitty’s mouth or throat, it is best to let a veterinarian remove the stinger. There is a good chance kitties will bite you if you try.
  3. In some cases, like in a paw, or leg, for example, the stinger can be removed. The owner can try and do so carefully without squeezing or pulling on it. Doing that will release more of the venom. Instead, use a flat, blunt tool like a nail file, a butter knife, a credit card, or even a piece of stiff cardboard. You must scrape the stinger out. Never pull on it. If you cannot remove it easily, contact the vet.
  4. Once the stinger is removed, use an ice pack on the injury site. Try to get ice on the site as soon as possible. This can be tricky, as kitties may not like it. Owners will need to be patient and try to calm their purr baby down. Even if ice can only be applied for a short time and then repeated, keep doing that.
  5. Call the vet as soon as possible. Always call the vet if your cat has been stung. Even if it was just once and you got the stinger out, always contact the vet for a checkup. They may want to see the animal that day and, in some cases, can prescribe an antihistamine. Never try to give a kitty human antihistamine. Always check with the vet before giving any medication. Corticosteroids are also sometimes prescribed. Do not use any products intended for humans on pets. Only do so unless instructed to by your veterinarian.

Kitties with more severe or multiple stings may need more intense treatment. IV fluids, corticosteroids, epinephrine, and even hospitalization at the vet clinic might be required. The cost of treatment may be pricey. Pet insurance is an option that owners can look into to offset the cost of regular veterinary care as well as emergencies.

My Cat Ate A Wasp

Wasps and bees both sting but are not the same insects. Wasps are carnivores and can be very aggressive. Bees are vegetarians, which is why they are most often found around flowering plants and gardens. A feline eating a wasp is much the same scenario as them eating a bee. If they can swallow the wasp whole without getting punctured, they will likely pass it without much trouble. If they get stung, they will experience some of the same symptoms as a bee sting.

Because wasps sting repeatedly, there may be several spots of concern and swelling. Kitties may be uncomfortable, in pain, and confused. Make sure to observe them for any signs of odd behavior and examine them for signs of a sting. Contact your veterinarian for specific instructions on home care and to determine if your kitty will need to be seen by the vet.

How Long Will A Bee Sting Last?

The swelling from a sting will remain for several days afterward. It will take some time for the swelling to go down and the pain to subside. Expect your pet to be a bit moody and unhappy. The sooner they receive treatment after a sting, the better their prognosis for recovery. Early treatment will also prevent symptoms from getting extremely bad. Your purr baby should to start to feel better about a week or so after a sting. This will all depend on the number of times they were stuck and their individual health and comfort needs.

It is best not to allow your cat to play with or be around stinging insects if possible. Of course, life is unpredictable, and owners may unexpectedly find themselves dealing with a stung cat. Remain calm, seek veterinary advice, and be ready to comfort and care for your pet as long as needed until she feels better.

Fun Facts

Happy and content gray and white cat with pink nose sniffs flying bee yellow jacket wasp
Bees are one of those bugs that can make a grown adult run away in fear, so it is no surprise that cat owners will get concerned and upset if their cat eats or gets stung by a bee.

Only female bees sting. This is because the stinger is a modified egg-laying organ, and only females have them.

Honeybees are the only bee species that die after stinging. Other stinging insects, such as bumblebees, yellow jackets, and wasps, can sting more than once and do not die when they sting. This is important to know for humans and pets alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my cat be ok if they ate a bee?

If your cat eats a bee without getting stung, they will likely be fine. If they get stung, there is a possibility it could cause serious injury or an allergic reaction. Hopefully, with prompt treatment, your kitty will recover fully from a sting. This can potentially be very dangerous for felines, so they should always be taken seriously.

My cat ate a dead bee, will he be ok?

A cat eating a dead bee should be treated the same way as a cat eating a live one. There is always the possibility that they can be stung, and owners will need to inspect kitties thoroughly to ensure no stingers are stuck in them anywhere and observe them for signs of allergic reaction. Always contact your vet if you suspect your cat has eaten a stinging insect, dead or alive.

Can a cat be stung by a dead bee?

Yes, a kitty can be stung by a dead bee. They usually only attack when they feel their lives are threatened or to defend the colony. Stingers remain venomous after death and, if stepped on or pushed upon the right way, can still cause damage.

Final Thoughts

Bees and felines are not a good combination. Felines should not eat bees, and owners should take care to make sure they keep their kitties away from these kinds of pests. If kitties go outside in an enclosed space, owners can put out traps to lessen the population. If a cat is being walked, steer clear of flowering plants and gardens, common places for these flying insects to be found. Should your kitty eat one, inspect them for injury. Contact your veterinarian for guidance. If your fur baby seems to be experiencing allergic symptoms, take them to the nearest emergency vet. Hopefully, most purr parents will never have to personally find out the answer to what happens if a cat eats a bee.

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