Are Fruit Flies Attracted to Cat Food?

Fruit flies are notoriously attracted to ripe fruits and vegetables. But you’ve got some little buzzing critters around your cat food. What’s the deal with that?

Are fruit flies attracted to cat food?

Fruit flies are a common pest anywhere there is food around. While they most often go after rotting fruit, they can be found going after other foods as well, including cat food.

Most foods that attract them have the following characteristics:

  • A sweet smell
  • Being sugary
  • Have a fermented scent

We’ll go into more detail below, and give some tips on controlling fruit fly outbreaks.

Are Fruit Flies Attracted to Cat Food?

Yes, fruit flies are attracted to cat food. Most people do not know this because they think fruit flies are only attracted to fruits. But this is not the case. Fruit flies will swarm around just about any food that sits out for a while.

It can be challenging to keep cat food fresh all day long. It is at risk of being infested by fruit flies.

Cats are such finicky eaters. They habitually eat throughout the day rather than finishing their food immediately.

Yes, fruit flies are attracted to cat food. Most people do not know this because they think fruit flies are only attracted to fruits. But this is not the case. Fruit flies will swarm around just about any food that sits out for a while.

The food will degrade and attract flies if it is left out in the heat. The fruit flies feed on it and lay their eggs

Oh joy.

Identifying Fruit Flies

Adult fruit flies are about an eighth inch long and have red eyes. Their fronts are usually tan and black at the rear. They lay their eggs on almost all types of foods or any moist organic materials.

When they hatch, the tiny larvae feed near the surface of the food. 

If they do this on a fruit or vegetable that is damaged or overly ripened, you might want to cut away that portion or toss it to avoid ingesting any remaining larvae.

Fruit flies have high reproductive potential, and they can lay up to 500 eggs during their lifecycle, which lasts about a week.

You can have an infestation in your home by bringing in over-ripe fruits and vegetables that fruit flies have already infested. In addition, if your house does not have adequate screening on the doors or windows, adult fruit flies can also fly in and infest your home.

Primarily, fruit flies can be called nuisance pests. However, if left unchecked, they can contaminate food with disease-ridden bacteria and other organisms.  

How to Keep Fruit Flies Away from Your Cat Food

The first thing is to change the location of your cat food. If you used to keep your cat’s food out in the sun, try a place away from direct sunlight. Serve your cat in a cool room, preferably inside your house.

Remember, this should also be away from the cat’s litter tray.

Having the food remain cool will help keep it fresh longer.

Having the cat food remain inside a cool room will help keep it fresh longer.

1. Fruit Fly Traps

If the flies are already there and you are looking for how to get rid of them, you can use fly traps. First, use a fly paper or trap near the cat’s food to keep them at bay before they get to the food bowl. 

You can easily make these traps at home. Combine vinegar with dish soap in a jar with a lid. Poke holes in the lid to allow flies to get in, but the lid will make it harder for them to get out (combined with the dish soap).

2. Cover the Bowl

Most of the time, cats do not immediately empty their bowl. Instead, they prefer to walk around, sleep, play, sleep, sleep, look out the window, sleep, and finally return to it later. This can lead to fruit fly infestation.

To prevent this, you can cover the food when your cat is not feeding. In addition, some kitty bowls these days come with lids to keep the flies away and maintain the freshness of the food.   

3. Perhaps it is Time to Change the Food

If your cat’s food has flies buzzing around it, it’s get rid of it by throwing it in the trash outside. It’s already infested with flies, and is contaminated. There are likely fruit fly eggs on the cat’s food.

Prevention is Best

To avoid infesting your food, eliminate anything they can be attracted to. For example, if you have ripe fruits in your home, eat, discard or refrigerate them (keep in mind, though, that fruit flies can live for hours in the fridge).

If fruits are cracked or damaged, cut off the portions and dump them in an outside bin, especially if you suspect larvae are present. Remember also to clear out your recycling bin and clean it regularly.

Your windows and doors should also be tight-fitted to prevent entry from any cracks or spaces.


Keep an eye out for fruit flies on your cat’s food. It’s pretty common to find these buggers swarming around food that’s been sitting out for a while. Your cat doesn’t want to eat fruit fly larva, so throw the food out if you see flies in the vicinity.