Ruby’s Reflections: Ruby and the Stink Bug

cat stuffed toy snuggling cute

It’s been a while since I told you about one of my adventures, and I had a doozie last week. It all began with these new toys that started appearing in our basement a couple of weeks ago. They’re black, kind of ugly, with spindly legs, and they jump all over the place. They also make a really interesting noise. Mom says they’re called crickets.

Well, whatever they’re called, they’re awesome! Not only do they jump around on their own, they’re edible! Allegra and I have so much fun playing with them. And after we catch them, we eat them! How cool is that! We only eat their meaty bodies, though, we leave the legs for Mom to clean up. After all, she should have some fun, too! Interestingly enough, they only seem to be in the basement, so one day, I thought I’d surprise Mom, and I brought one upstairs. You’d think she would have been pleased! Oddly, she didn’t seem to appreciate that at all. Instead of effusive praise, all I got was an “oh, Ruby!” and a request to not do that again. Humans!

So I’m not all that used to finding live toys upstairs, but the other day I did. There was a very strange looking live toy crawling up the living room window. It was smaller than the cricket things, and sort of a brownish grey. It looked very interesting, so of course, I went over to investigate. That thing was no fun at all. It was so slow, it wasn’t much of a game to catch it. I thought maybe it would be a nice change from eating the crickets, so I took it in my mouth and bit down on it.

Oh my Cat!!! As soon as I bit down on it, I got this unbelievably vile taste in my mouth, and it burned! I jumped off the sofa, shook my head like crazy, and leaped around the room to get away from that awful taste, but it stayed in my mouth! Yuk yuk yuk!!!

Mom  noticed me acting all weird and tried to catch me, but I was so freaked out, I just kept running around and trying to get away from the awful taste. I batted at my mouth, too, but that didn’t help, either. Finally Mom managed to catch me, and as soon as she picked me up she said “oh you poor baby! You ate a stink bug!” How did she know? She hadn’t eaten it!

Mom put me back down. What? She wasn’t going to help me? But then she came right back, with a syringe in her hand. She picked me up again, and gently opened my mouth and squirted some water in it. I didn’t much like that, but it did make the awful taste go away.

Later that evening, my tummy felt weird, and I had to keep going to the litter box. That continued for the next few days. Not fun at all! I continued to play and purr for Mom and I even ate most of my meals, but I just didn’t feel quite right. I’d get a little better, then a little worse. On Friday, Mom gave me some medicine, and twelve hours later, my tummy was all better.

I think I’m going to be a little more careful about eating bugs from now on!

Ingrid’s note: Stink bugs are not poisonous, but they can cause irritation inside the mouth. I did notice some increased redness inside Ruby’s mouth that gradually receded after about two days. It is not known whether they cause gastro-intestinal upset, and the fact that Ruby’s diarrhea lasted for four days following the bug ingestion makes me think that it was only coincidence, and her upset tummy was caused by something unrelated. The “medicine” I gave her was a homeopathic remedy prescribed by my holistic feline veterinarian.

24 Comments on Ruby’s Reflections: Ruby and the Stink Bug

  1. Theresa Anspaugh
    February 3, 2021 at 6:24 pm (4 months ago)

    Just the title made me cringe! I get them in my condo during the summer now and then. I will make sure I get to them before Tasha does!

  2. Ann
    February 3, 2021 at 11:47 am (4 months ago)

    I wish I’d seen Ruby’s story before my late Tobey discovered his first stinkbug. It took me a while one day to put 2+2 together. The poor thing — I don’t think he ever tried to eat one again after that. This story reminds me of how much I miss his bad self — he was a pistol.

  3. Catmother
    October 15, 2011 at 7:01 am (10 years ago)

    One of the greatest times of fun with my kitties was anytime a moth would get in the house. They’d always fly so high that none of my kids could reach them. So, I’d pick up one of the cats, holding it up in the air just by just its back legs and lower trunk, which would leave the critical front “hunting ones” totally free for action! I”d then run them all over the house so they could bat away at the bug to their hears content. Both they and I loved doing this, although I”m sure we both looked utterly insane doing it! This was a unique and great bonding experience for all of us. They learned quickly that if they saw a bug flying out of reach, that all they had to do is come running to me and then we’d go flying around. It was also a great workout for me, which I always need.

  4. Trillian
    October 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm (10 years ago)

    Oh MY!! I have newly adopted my large twolegs…I was so very small when I told her I was coming up on her shoulder, I shouldn’t have left my mummy yet but I guess I was ‘feral’ and my twolegged mummy didn’t want me out with winter coming. She doesn’t know anything about the feline species though, she’s always had those silly dog things. So…she doesn’t know if she should let me bite and chew on her fingers and chin…maybe you older cats could offer her some advice? I can’t wait to find my first bug! My new mummy hates spiders!!

    • Ingrid
      October 9, 2011 at 7:52 pm (10 years ago)

      Congratulations on adopting your human mummy, Trillian! I think she shouldn’t let you bite her fingers and chin. Why don’t you ask her to get you some toys that you can chew on instead.

      As for the bugs: Ruby says stay away from stink bugs! Spiders can be a bit of a problem, too – some spiders are dangerous for kitties. Crickets, however, are okay to catch and eat (even if your human may not appreciate cleaning up the leftovers…)

  5. Esme
    October 7, 2011 at 10:21 am (10 years ago)

    Poor Ruby, these little babies are truly curious. Mine like to check out the spiders which I always take outside. We had an issue with roaches at the old house and I would find the bodies around the house, just separated.

  6. Bernie
    October 6, 2011 at 12:27 am (10 years ago)

    Ruby, I know you are still a little one but you are learning. Steeler says, you can play with them, push them around on the floor, that is great fun. They will fly up and away if you let them. So next time just push it around like I do.

    You are lucky your Mom knew how to take that bad taste away. She has her hands full with you. 🙂

  7. Val
    October 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm (10 years ago)


    We learned a similar lesson, but with Box Elder bugs. They taste awful and we got thousands of them every year about this time. Mom can’t make them stay out of the house in the fall/winter and they march back the the marsh next door in the spring.

    Gus, Andy and Kiefer

  8. Marg
    October 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm (10 years ago)

    Oh no Ruby, I bet that stink bug did taste bad. Probably not a good idea to eat them . Hope you don’t eat another one. Stick to those crickets. Or maybe just some nice treats from Mom. We love to chase grasshoppers but we don’t eat them.
    You all have a wonderful evening.

    • Ingrid
      October 5, 2011 at 8:57 pm (10 years ago)

      Marg, I sure hope she won’t eat another one. I’d much prefer she sticks with crickets if she has to eat bugs!

    • Cindy
      February 13, 2014 at 11:36 pm (7 years ago)

      My childhood cat ate crickets to keep them away from her newborn kittens. She didn’t digest them and The Kittens were affected. She died & 3 of the 4 kittens died. An autopsy revealed the crickets wet not digested & some were still alive. She was an outside cat but wanted to come in to deliver her kittwns. Mom fixed up the baby carriage & brought her in. The crickets were in the cwllaar. It was an outside trap door to the cellar.

      • Ingrid
        February 14, 2014 at 6:17 am (7 years ago)

        I’m so sorry about your cat, Cindy. I’ve never heard of this happen.

  9. Anna
    October 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm (10 years ago)

    Oh Ruby, that musn’t have been fun! I’m so glad you’re feeling better now!!

    • Ingrid
      October 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm (10 years ago)

      Thanks, Anna!

  10. Rachel
    October 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm (10 years ago)

    Ha ha – my cats both love to play with / eat bugs too (but in my house, it tends to be moths or flies).

    My tripod cat in particular suddenly becomes much more athletic when a bug gets in the house.

    • Ingrid
      October 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm (10 years ago)

      Bugs as exercise incentive – I hadn’t thought of that, Rachel!

  11. Layla Morgan Wilde
    October 5, 2011 at 11:03 am (10 years ago)

    Oh poor Ruby, what a week. Your cute round kitten eyes have taken on the wisdom of an older cat.

    • Ingrid
      October 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm (10 years ago)

      They grow up so fast, Layla.

  12. Bernadette
    October 5, 2011 at 10:21 am (10 years ago)

    Ruby, those sorts of toys are the best! I catch and eat as many as I can, even those awful stinkbugs. You get used to it after a while! [Kelly, your fellow tortie!]

    • Ingrid
      October 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm (10 years ago)

      Don’t give her any ideas, Kelly!


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