Do you have a cat who likes to hunt little creatures outside? Did you recently adopt a kitten and have always wanted a gecko?
A gecko can be dangerous to cats in some situations. It is necessary to take specific precautions to keep your cat safe.
If you have an indoor cat and are thinking of getting a gecko, or if you have an outdoor cat who likes to hunt, read below for more information!
What makes geckos dangerous to your cat? (4 reasons)
There may be conditions where it is problematic to keep a cat away from geckos. Typically, the harm caused to a cat by a gecko comes from the cat biting or consuming the gecko.
Some of the potential illnesses are discussed below in detail.
One of the more common illnesses a cat can develop after eating a gecko is something called Liver fluke. These are parasites that sometimes exist in geckos.
It is more common for cats to pick up liver flukes by hunting and eating geckos outside; however, all geckos are susceptible to ingesting the parasite.
This can put even your indoor cat in harm’s way. Once inside the cat, this parasite or fluke will make its way to the biliary duct and gallbladder, causing your cat to become sick.
Cats can carry liver flukes and not have any problems. In some cases, though, the disease can overwhelm the immune system and cause harm to your cat.
Salmonella is an infection caused by the salmonella bacteria. While cats seem to have somewhat of a natural immunity to salmonella, they can be infected if they eat an animal that is carrying the disease.
Salmonellosis, or salmonella, is considered a zoonotic bacterial disease. Zoonotic diseases are a sickness that can be transmitted to humans.
A lungworm is an infection that is indeed caused by a worm. The most common spread of lungworm happens when your gecko eats an infected slug or other infected food.
Lungworm is caused by a parasitic worm that makes its way to the lungs through the bloodstream.
If a cat ingests a gecko with lungworm, the larvae of the lungworm may pass into your cat’s intestine, causing illness.
Cats can occasionally become sick with Toxoplasmosis after eating a gecko if the gecko carries the infectious parasite Toxoplasma gondii.
Once inside your cat, the parasite will replicate in the gastrointestinal tract and move throughout the body.
Toxoplasmosis is hard to notice as it generally depends on which organ the parasite has affected.
It is one of the most common parasitic diseases and can infect humans as well as animals. While Toxoplasmosis can be detrimental in humans, cats are often safe.
However, if you have a kitten or an immunosuppressed cat, you will want to watch your pet closely for signs of infection.
How to tell if your cat has eaten a gecko?
If your cat has eaten a gecko, you might notice some signs of distress in its eyes. These can include:
- Crossed Eyes
- Overall irritation
The change in your cat’s appetite is a strong indicator that something is wrong. If you think your cat has eaten a gecko carrying parasites, it is imperative to monitor appetite changes.
A change in appetite may not be serious, but watch for these symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Poor appetite
- Distended belly
Cats will sleep between twelve and eighteen hours a day on average. Your cat may sleep a little more than that. If your cat is lethargic, it could be sleeping even more than normal.
They may be less energetic or shy away from contact. Look out for these signs of lethargic cats:
- Lack of alertness
When unsure if your cat is healthy, pay attention to areas of its body that may seem tender or out of the ordinary.
Your cat may be vocal in letting you know that part of its body doesn’t feel good.
Signs of tenderness due to infection can include:
- A sore stomach due to distension
- A sore jaw due to open-mouthed breathing
- Sore lungs due to wheezing
Any of these signs are an indication that your cat is in pain.
For most cat owners, cleaning the litter box is their least favorite responsibility. However, if you think your cat might be sick, this is one area to pay close attention to.
Changes in a cat’s fecal matter are indicative of a potential problem.
Most cats will poop once a day, and it will be a shade of deep brown. Many cats that are sick from eating a gecko will often have diarrhea as that bacteria works through their system.
What to do if your cat has eaten a gecko?
Watch for signs of infection
As pet owners, you know your animals better than anybody else. Your cat may seem less energetic than normal, their litter box may look different, and they may have changed their eating habits.
If it seems like your cat is acting out of the ordinary, watch them for possible signs of infection.
Many symptoms will appear between 24 hours and four days, including some of the abovementioned concerns.
If you think your cat may be sick, there are at-home tips you can try to make them feel better. Refresh their water consistently and give them only water for several hours if they have been vomiting or have diarrhea.
If they have irritated eyes, try to flush them with water or artificial tears. If they seem hungry, you can try giving them very bland tuna.
Continue to pay close attention to the overall demeanor of your cat if they are not themselves. Monitor the cat for at least 24 hours and try these remedies to see if your pet improves.
Call your veterinarian
It is devastating to lose a pet, and not something a person can prepare for. It would be terrible to lose your gecko and then have to worry about any potential infections in your cat.
If you feel your cat is exhibiting any of the above symptoms discussed and at-home remedies did not help, the next step is to contact the veterinarian.
The vet may be able to walk you through some recommendations over the phone. In some situations, they may request that you bring your pet into the office.
Luckily, many of the illnesses caused to a cat by eating a gecko can be treated easily and quickly. Taking the cat to the vet will get them assessed and treated to get them back to health.
Safe ways to keep both geckos and cats as pets
It is essential to remember that cats are predators, and geckos are considered their prey. When left to their own devices, a cat may hunt your gecko.
Keep the cat separate from the gecko
Most of the research indicates the best way to keep cats and geckos as pets in the same house is to keep them separate from each other.
This means, first and foremost, not allowing the gecko to roam free without supervision.
It would be best to keep the gecko cage in a separate and, if possible, locked room while you are out of the house.
Deter the cat from the cage
There are some ways to keep a cat from going near a gecko cage. Often, cats like to sit on top of the cage because of the heat and because it gives them a higher vantage point.
Ensure you have the tank on a sturdy shelving unit that is preferably out of the cat’s line of vision. Reinforce the lid with lid clips, a metal grate, and a solid lock.
If you don’t have access to put the gecko out of sight, you can purchase something called a scat mat.
The scat mat can be placed around the gecko cage and will cause a safe yet startling correction if your cat steps on it.
For a more cost-effective option, you can try tin foil strips or plastic bags, as cats don’t like the texture.
The option I’ve found to work the best is a water bottle. Because cats are not usually fans of water, you can spray them when they get too close to the cage, which will deter them from going near it.
Entertain your cat
Are cats always lazy? I guess that depends on the cat! To keep your cat safe, make sure they get enough entertainment.
If your cat likes to chase or hunt things as mine does, get a laser light toy and have them go after that for 10-15 minutes a day.
Whatever you can do for your cat, make sure you change it up frequently to keep them from getting interested in your gecko!
While geckos can be dangerous to your feline friend if consumed, there are ways to keep your cat safe.
Because geckos can cause illnesses that are sometimes hard to notice, it is important to monitor your cat for changes in behavior.
Cat owners must always be aware of their pets and where they are. They must keep their cats entertained and supervised.
They should always watch out for the cat’s well-being, especially around potentially harmful geckos. If you are unsure about your cat’s health, reach out to your vet.