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Metro Vancouver moth outbreak 'great fun' for indoor cats

Last Updated Sep 12, 2020 at 7:24 pm PDT

Lisa Steacy, NEWS 1130 photo.

Hunting moths is good exercise, mentally stimulating for indoor cats

The species' of moths that we're seeing in the region aren't poisonous or toxic for cats

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) —  Metro Vancouver’s moth outbreak is good news for indoor cats that are listless, lazy, or a little plump.

Swatting away the infiltrating insects isn’t much fun for humans but chasing them around is akin to an indoor sport for felines, according to a Lower Mainland veterinarian.

“It’s great fun for the cat, not so much for the moth,” says Dr. Adrian Walton, owner of Maple Ridge’s Dewdney Animal Hospital.

“One of the things that I tell every cat owner they should have when their cats start getting a little bit on the chunky side is to get a laser light pen, and just have them chase the dot around the room. It’s great exercise for them.”

It also gives kitties a chance to hone their hunting skills, which provides mental stimulation particularly for cats who don’t get outdoors.

“These are predatory animals. The reason why they are so damaging when they’re outside killing off all of our native wildlife is for them this is a way of mental stimulation, a sport so to speak. Not only is hunting moths great exercise for them but it’s actually great for their basic well-being,” Walton says.

With smoke from U.S. wildfires blanketing the Lower Mainland, Walton says keeping cats indoors is the safest option.

“Really keep an eye on them in these smoggy conditions because it’s really hard on their breathing, make sure that they’re kept as calm as possible during these smoky conditions,” Walton says.

He advises humans to make sure their furry friends aren’t over-exerting themselves in pursuit of fluttering prey, adding so-called “smush-faced” breeds, like Persians, are particularly vulnerable to respiratory issues.

As far as snacking on moths is concerned, Walton says the species’ of that we’re seeing in the region aren’t toxic or poisonous to cats.

However, due to powder carried on the moths’ wings, their eyes or mouths may become irritated.

With files from Kareem Gouda