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Thread: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

  1. #1
    Stegodon
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    Default Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Today one of our cats, as I've already seen her do several times, caught and ate a lizard (a green lizard, Lacerta bilineata, common species in western europe).

    With my partner we once again mused about the fact that all our lives, we've heard about how harmful it is for cats to eat lizards. It is said it makes them losing weight and they die.
    He told me his ex-bf's cat supposedly ate too much lizards and was rail thin and died shortly after.
    We both don't know if it's true, we doubt it but don't really know.

    Google gave me conflicting information (it's totally fine; it's not bad if they don't eat the head and tail; a little lizard meat is okay but too much can disturb their digestion and cause intestinal occlusions)

    So, anyone here have the straight dope (haha) on this?

    I tried to pry it off her jaws but she doesn't hunt much (that we know) besides lizards and slow-worms (called orvet here, Anguis fragilis) so I didn't have the heart to be too persistent. I kinda hope one day she'll graduate to mice.

  2. #2
    Stegodon
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    No. I've checked in my head for all possible reasons that it could be harmful for cats to eat lizards, and nothing come up. There are lizards that are venomous, but not in Europe, and certainly not Lacerta bilineata. Maybe this myth come from people who cannot tell the difference between lizard and salamander. Salamanders are highly poisonous and eating one could kill a cat.

  3. #3
    Stegodon
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    What do you think small carnivores (including the wild cats domesticated into our house pets) eat in the wild? Lizards, bugs, little fishies maybe, that sort of thing. If it isn't poisonous, I can't possibly see the harm.
    "I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it."
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  4. #4
    Stegodon
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Thanks for the replies!

    Quote Originally posted by puppygod
    Maybe this myth come from people who cannot tell the difference between lizard and salamander. Salamanders are highly poisonous and eating one could kill a cat.
    Mmh it would certainly makes more sense in any case, since yeah folks are prone to mixing up those critters.

    Quote Originally posted by Zsofia
    What do you think small carnivores (including the wild cats domesticated into our house pets) eat in the wild? Lizards, bugs, little fishies maybe, that sort of thing.
    Yes, good point.

  5. #5
    Stegodon
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Q: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    A: Anything that eats a cat, is harmful to it.
    Pirate profiles: here

    Setup thread: here

  6. #6
    For whom nothing is written. Oliveloaf's avatar
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Quote Originally posted by Mangetout
    Q: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    A: Anything that eats a cat, is harmful to it.
    Oh man, I was completely going to post exactly this.
    "I won't kill for money, and I won't marry for it. Other than that, I'm open to just about anything."

    -Jim Rockford

  7. #7
    Stegodon
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    I'm gonna go with the "what do you think they eat if there's no kibble?" stance. However, if you're still worried, call your vet and ask. They went to school for a long time to learn stuff like that.

    Also, they'll be impressed with your taxonomic nomenclature.
    The panther is like the leopard, except it hasn't been peppered.
    If you see a panther crouch, prepare to say "ouch!".
    Better yet, if called by a panther, don't anther.
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  8. #8
    Stegodon
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Yes I hadn't thought at all they might actually like hunting and eating lizards in the wild, I was fixated on cats eating mice, voles and such. And birds.

    Quote Originally posted by phouka
    Also, they'll be impressed with your taxonomic nomenclature.
    If I had only said green lizard I was sure someone would have come along to specifically ask me which species, since it seems in the americas there is like 4579000678 poisonous or venomous critters!

  9. #9
    Stegodon
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    I, for one, find the taxonomic nomenclature hot.
    I must leave this planet, if only for an hour.

  10. #10
    Stegodon
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Quote Originally posted by Malaky
    Yes I hadn't thought at all they might actually like hunting and eating lizards in the wild, I was fixated on cats eating mice, voles and such. And birds.
    They will hunt whatever takes their interest - even toddlers - as I'm sure you know. If they eat something poisonous, well that's evolution in action.

    It's a good point, mind you. Cats have been introduced to areas that they don't belong properly. they then have to learn what they can and cannot eat by trial and error. Must be like the first European who ate a peanut - just as well he didn't have an allergy otherwise they'd be lost to all of us.

    Look at the corpus callosum on that babe!
    Dude. Did you actually cut open her skull or...?
    Anything is possible if you use enough lubricant.

  11. #11
    Clueless but well-meaning Hatshepsut's avatar
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Long-time cat owner in the tropics weighing in here to say it's not usually a problem. I've owned gecko-chomping cats since 1986 (not the same ones, two died at ripe old ages).

    Vets in Indonesia have to me that lizards can be a vector for parasites. But that's not lizard-specific; if a cat eats anything diseased/infested, it runs the risk of picking up the same thing.

  12. #12
    Stegodon
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Quote Originally posted by Guizmeaux

    Quote Originally posted by phouka
    Look at the corpus callosum on that babe!
    Dude. Did you actually cut open her skull or...?
    Um, that would be dudette, and it's my corpus callosum, so no. I got an MRI last Monday and was all excited about the images. Hence, my new avatar. (Though, I am a little concerned about what a bully my right occipital lobe is.)
    The panther is like the leopard, except it hasn't been peppered.
    If you see a panther crouch, prepare to say "ouch!".
    Better yet, if called by a panther, don't anther.
    - Ogden Nash

  13. #13
    Oliphaunt
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Quote Originally posted by phouka
    (Though, I am a little concerned about what a bully my right occipital lobe is.)
    I wouldn't dwell on it. Just keep it in the back of your mind and you'll be okay. :wink:
    Whatever became of the moment when one first knew about death? There must have been one. A moment. In childhood. When it first occurred to you that you don't go on forever. Must have been shattering. Stamped into one's memory. And yet, I can't remember it.

  14. #14
    Elephant
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Quote Originally posted by Malaky
    If I had only said green lizard I was sure someone would have come along to specifically ask me which species, since it seems in the americas there is like 4579000678 poisonous or venomous critters!
    Heh. Actually, while there are a lot of venomous spiders and snakes, plus a lot of insects, frogs and salamanders that will make predators sick, there are (IIRC) only two venomous lizards in the world, the gila monster and the beaded lizard. And I'd be very impressed if your cat managed to eat either of those.
    No cage, thank you. I'm a human being.

  15. #15
    Stegodon
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Quote Originally posted by sublight
    Quote Originally posted by Malaky
    If I had only said green lizard I was sure someone would have come along to specifically ask me which species, since it seems in the americas there is like 4579000678 poisonous or venomous critters!
    Heh. Actually, while there are a lot of venomous spiders and snakes, plus a lot of insects, frogs and salamanders that will make predators sick, there are (IIRC) only two venomous lizards in the world, the gila monster and the beaded lizard. And I'd be very impressed if your cat managed to eat either of those.
    Actually, relatively recently monitor lizards were discovered to be venomous, and some data suggest the same may be the case with some agamids. Their venom is rather mild (and in small quantity) and seems to be more of a evolutionary relic than fully functional weapon, but still it might be not so good idea to get bitten. Anyway, number of species of venomous lizards (and snakes) seems to be much higher than previously (before 2003) thought.

  16. #16
    Stegodon
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Quote Originally posted by phouka
    Um, that would be dudette, and it's my corpus callosum, so no. I got an MRI last Monday and was all excited about the images. Hence, my new avatar. (Though, I am a little concerned about what a bully my right occipital lobe is.)
    Ah - terribly sorry. Why is it that so many of us seem to assume, unless other evidence presents itself, that an internet person is a man? Whatever, I hope they found that all is well in your noggin.

    Anyway, back to the original question. I grew up in Florida which is awash with reptiles of one sort or another. I lost track of the times that my cat Sabs came home with a scaly tail hanging out of her mouth*. Odd thing though - there were always unidentifiable bits left behind when she was done. Perhaps something that the cat found unpalatable. I've noticed this with mousers/ratters, too. My parent's cats will always leave the kidneys and some other bits**. Maybe they learn from experience that some bits will make them sick?



    * Lizards, not alligator.
    ** One of mine, Giz, was an extremely skilled mouser/ratter but he never ate his kills. The other, Juaque, has shown no hunting tendencies since I have known him, though he was a feral that was adopted by Giz and so must have hunted at one time. Go figure.
    Anything is possible if you use enough lubricant.

  17. #17
    Oliphaunt featherlou's avatar
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    My cat, Feather, is a hunter and eater of bugs. Last year we discovered that she would eat wasps, but spit out the stinger. I don't worry too much about my cats eating things they shouldn't - they seem to be a lot pickier than dogs.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    My cat in Cameroon took out a lizard every other day or so. No problems.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Hello, I have a castrated male cat of 2+ years. He was a well filled out kitten and since he decided that he liked to catch and eat lizards he is skin and bones. He eats A LOT of wet and dry food, he'd eat all day long the wet food if I kept giving it to him. I asked my Vet about this (here in France) and she told me that a diet of lizards will take away nutrients from the cat. She said it is not life threatening, but it is known to happen to cats who eat lizards frequently. Hope this helps.

  20. #20
    Stegodon
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Quote Originally posted by wildgift
    Hello, I have a castrated male cat of 2+ years. He was a well filled out kitten and since he decided that he liked to catch and eat lizards he is skin and bones. He eats A LOT of wet and dry food, he'd eat all day long the wet food if I kept giving it to him. I asked my Vet about this (here in France) and she told me that a diet of lizards will take away nutrients from the cat. She said it is not life threatening, but it is known to happen to cats who eat lizards frequently. Hope this helps.
    That's very interesting. Did she mention what the nutrients were that would be lost?

    I ask because this site states that catfish and canned tuna can reduce the cat's level of vitamins B1 and E respectively.

    It doesn't explain why catfish does this, but it does say that tinned tuna causes it because of mercury in the can. It would be interesing to know if the lizards are an allegory.
    Anything is possible if you use enough lubricant.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Quote Originally posted by Guizmeaux
    It would be interesing to know if the lizards are an allegory.
    I will ask the vet next time we are in what the real deal is. I think I'll even ask for blood work, because I'd really like to know how to bulk him back up.

  22. #22
    Oliphaunt dread pirate jimbo's avatar
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    I suddenly have the urge to feed our pudgy cat a lizard to see if that might drop her weight by a pound or so...
    Hell is other people.

  23. #23
    Oliphaunt featherlou's avatar
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Ah HA! So you admit she's pudgy!

  24. #24
    Sophmoric Existentialist
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Quote Originally posted by Mangetout
    Q: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    A: Anything that eats a cat, is harmful to it.
    My thoughts exactly.
    Sophmoric Existentialist

  25. #25
    Oliphaunt dread pirate jimbo's avatar
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    Default Re: Are lizards harmful to cats if they eat them?

    Quote Originally posted by featherlou
    Ah HA! So you admit she's pudgy!
    Well,more pudgy than Max who is not pudgy at all and also doesn't eat all the food in the house.
    Hell is other people.

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