Are betta fish poisonous to cats?

In this blog, we will discuss whether betta fish is poisonous to cats or not. 


In this blog

  • Are betta fish poisonous to cats?
  • Why do cats eat betta fish?
  • Can your cat die after eating a betta fish?
  • How to avoid your cat and betta fish interaction?
  • Do cats bring stress to your betta fish?
  • What to do if your cat swallowed a dead or poisonous betta fish?
  • Summary 
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference

Are betta fish poisonous to cats?

Unlike other toxic aquarium fish like puffers which secrete a harmful chemical as a defense mechanism, betta fish are non-poisonous to cats. 

Cats are notorious creatures and do whatever they want. If you have a sober cat then be relieved, but if your cat has attention deficiency symptom disorder they will do antics to divert their owner’s attention towards them. 

I don’t know why, but I think cats have a problem when it comes to getting attention from their owners. They seem to want it more than anything, but when they finally get it, they don’t usually respond very well. I can’t understand cats, I give up, I surrender.

I have seen various videos online of cats eating fish, or sometimes they spend hours looking at fish in aquariums. I guess it depends on the cat’s mood when it comes to eating a fish or anything because it is difficult to predict what they are going to do next.

To know more about this interesting topic, because a cat is involved in this, keep reading to learn more about whether or not cats can eat betta fish and, if they do, whether or not they could potentially harm themselves if they ingested one accidentally.

Why do cats eat betta fish?

We have been hearing about the relationship between cats and fish for a long time, that some cats attacked fish or ingested a dead or poisonous fish in an aquarium

But it also depends on your cat’s nature, if they are cute and quiet they will not attack your aquarium fish, but if they are naughty and constantly inspecting and destroying things in your house then be prepared that they will attack yours too, they will attack or eat your betta fish too.

Even if you feed your cat a few times, it will still eat whatever it wants to eat, be it anything. Your betta fish will be entertained by cats and you will not be able to tell when they are eating them. They do it just for their own satisfaction, without any other motive. 

It has been reported that cats cannot digest betta fish and if they have eaten it, they may experience digestive problems and vomiting. To avoid such incidents, keep a betta aquarium out of your cat’s reach.

Can your cat die after eating a betta fish?

Cats can eat betta fish, but it will be difficult to consume them because of their thick skin. They may face some digestive issues or may vomit after consuming them. If they eat dead or sick betta fish, they could die. 

Betta fish live in a controlled environment and the water parameters constantly fluctuate because of ammonia pollution and other biological waste. When bettas themselves cannot tolerate water conditions like this, how can you expect a cat who has ingested a sick betta fish to remain healthy?

It is therefore important to maintain water parameters in betta fish tanks by testing their water using a master test kit to know the levels of ammonia and other pollutants in bettas tanks.

How to avoid your cat and betta fish interaction?

It can be difficult to avoid the interactions between cats and betta fish because cats can find ways to interact with them. 

It is your responsibility as a betta fish owner to come up with a plan to keep your betta fish away from your cat’s reach.

  • Hiding spots in betta fish tank.
  • Place your betta fish aquarium in a safe place like strong stands.
  • Use screen tops or tank lids for your betta fish tank.

Hiding spots in betta fish tank

Betta fish like to hide when they feel threatened, so if you provide plenty of hiding places in your fish tank, your fish will be alarmed whenever they see your cat approaching their tank. 

Betta fish knows everything that happens outside their tank, so they will be cautious of your cat and may hide in their hideouts.

Place your betta fish aquarium in a safe place like strong stands

This is a bit tough to do because cats can reach anywhere. They can reach high places and small spaces. You teach your cats not to attack your betta fish or other fish in the tank.

And if that also doesn’t work, place your fish tank where your cats find it difficult to reach. You need to decide which is the safest place for your betta fish tank.

Use screen tops or tank lids for your betta fish tank

Betta fish are great jumpers and betta owners already keep screen tops or tank lids in their fish aquarium if you are not aware of this kindly do it for one more reason if you have a cat in your home. Tank tops will not let your cat catch a betta fish inside the aquarium.

Do cats bring stress to your betta fish?

Betta fish may get stressed if your cats poke them or harass them by regularly coming close to their tank and trying to touch or grab the betta fish. If the fish is feeling stressed, it will stay hidden in its hiding spots and be reluctant to swim freely or  easily in the tank.

The best way to avoid this problem is to keep your cat away from the room where you have placed the betta fish tank. It will be difficult for betta fish to cope with your cat’s nagging behavior. Stress can harm your fish’s appetite, as they may not eat as much or may lose interest in food.

If your betta fish stop eating or start skipping their meals due to the cat’s behavior they will become weak and will die if not paid attention.

It is important to eliminate stressors both inside and outside the betta’s tank. I am not anti-cats, but I think that cat and fish interactions should be kept to a minimum to avoid such incidents. Cats are without a doubt very intelligent and beautiful creatures and are also very famous for their antics.

It is your duty as a betta fish owner to think about what could be safe for your cat and betta fish both.

What to do if your cat swallowed a dead or poisonous betta fish?

If your beloved cat accidentally eats a dead or a poisonous betta fish then don’t panic, because such situations need to be handled mindfully. 

The very first thing you do is to see if they are showing any symptoms like vomiting, unconsciousness, or any other signs that suggest they may need more attention.

If they are simply roaming here and there then be relaxed, your cat is fine or perhaps symptoms will develop later. 

If your pet becomes unconscious or vomits, take it to your veterinarian for treatment. If it is not severe, your vet will give your cat some medication and it will recover in a few days.

If they don’t recover even after the medication, take care of your cat as best you can because ingesting a poisonous fish is more deadly than a dead fish. All you can do is keep a close eye on your cat during its medication, and look for any improvements.


Betta fish are not harmful to your cats, but if your cat consumes a sick or poisonous betta fish, it can be fatal to them.

Your cat might find it tough to digest your betta fish because of its tough skin, but they won’t die. 

Keep your tank away from cats’ reach and even if your fish try to reach your betta aquarium, cover the tank with a screen top or a tank lid.

Hiding spots can also protect betta fish from your cat’s attack. So add as many hideouts as you can to make your betta fish safe and secure.

You should not worry if your cat accidentally or deliberately eats a betta fish. Worry when they attack your betta fish or eat a sick or dead betta fish.

Frequently asked questions

Can your cat digest betta fish?

Even if your cat eats a betta fish, it will face difficulties in digesting it. They might face vomiting and other stomach upsets.

Will tank covers protect betta fish from cats?

Yes, tank covers will definitely protect your betta fish from cats.

Will hideouts protect betta fish from cats?

Yes, hideouts will protect betta fish from cats. Betta fish feel safe and secure in their hiding spots. It is a good idea to add many hideouts in betta fish tanks.