Shooo Fly. Why you need to cover your food.

There’s a stray cat that’s been coming around my house for the past couple of months. It’s the nicest cat in the world.

She’s small, scabby and covered in fleas. She has no teeth. At all.

I love her.

But I can’t take her in. I just can’t. I already took in a stray cat a few years ago and I cannot become that person. The crazy cat lady with 538 cats and a room full of lint rollers.

So another neighbour and I have set about trying to find this cat a home. In the meantime we’re both feeding her and making sure she’s O.K. I got her a flea treatment and gave it to her and the neighbour is looking into an organization that finds homes for nice cats like her.

I call her Sugarbear after the mesmerizing character on the show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Neither one of them has teeth.

Although I’ve recently discovered that I think Sugarbear (from the show Here Comes Honey Boo Boo) does indeed have teeth. They’re just very small. Like bits of rice pressed into his gums.

This is Sugarbear. Isn’t she sweet? I’m at my stray cat quota already, so if you’d like to adopt Sugarbear, email me at [email protected]


I’d been giving her dry food, which she was eating just fine, but when I realized she had no teeth I thought she might rather wet food.  I took a bowl out and put it on the porch then ran inside for some reason.  I came back out approximately 2 minutes later and the food hadn’t been touched.

By her.


Meat Maggot Eggs


It had, however, been touched by approximately 3 billion flies.  And all of their relatives.


Fly On Meat
In the two minutes I was in the house a swarm of flies descended on the cat food and started laying eggs.   In those two minutes they laid enough eggs that you could see them with the naked eye.  Just laying there.  Waiting to become maggots.
Maggot Eggs


How long does it take for an egg to become a maggot?  Well if it’s warm and humid out, less than 8 hours.
Maggot Eggs 2


So you know when you’re preparing something in the kitchen, or you’re eating dinner outside and you notice a fly on your food and you just shoo it away?



Cover your food!

And be nice to cats.

And take care of your teeth.



  1. mia pratt says:

    Here in Mexico, no proper hut or casa is without a “dome” made out of screen that you place over prepared food, bowls of fruit, cakes, etc. to keep the flies out. The screen mesh is very fine, to keep out fruit flies. I have a half-dozen of them in all sizes and when I make something like a bowl of oatmeal etc., I can just set the screen dome over it and go about making coffee, etc. until I’m ready to eat. I never saw one in the states but I do remember my grandmother having one that she placed over her pies while they cooled – so there must be some official name for them, like screeny-pie-cover or something. Enlighten me, anyone?

  2. susan w says:

    ohmyohmyohmy ick ick ick

    and shudder..

  3. Barbie says:

    I just found a kitty in my garden this last week and we are soooo happy! We are hoping he catches our vole!

  4. Tigersmom says:

    Aw, Sugarbear looks just like my beloved, now deceased, favorite cat ever.

    We’re full up here as I have placed a moratorium on introducing anything else that poops into the house until one of the things we currently have passes or leaves. I can only handle so much poop.

    Hope you find her a wonderful home soon.

    I can’t even talk about the flies.

  5. Lynne says:

    Yuck !!!! I don’t think I’ll ever eat outside ever again.

    Very cute kitty – she looks just like my Tegan – but he has some teeth. And she sounds just as loveable as my tabby. They truly are wonderful animals. We already have two that were “rescues” so I think we’re done for now. I’m sure you’ll find her a new home – it’s very kind you and your neighbour have been looking after her.

  6. Joanna says:

    This post really tugged at my heart strings… well written! Thank you!!!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I have been thinking about this all day and I can’t even express to you how grossed out I am! And I can’t help but wonder how many maggot eggs I’ve eaten in my life time at picnics! SICK!!!

  8. Meg says:

    hahah I think I’m the only one here that’s like OH MAGGOTS interesting, wow just 8 hours?! I have a horrible maggot story from when I was a child. That encounter made a grown man projectile vomit, so ya know, I’ve always been an overly-curious weirdo apparently.

    And yeah good on you for trying to adopt out Ms. Sugarbear! I just was suckered into a kitten, by my friend who’s recently adopted stray was preggers. It’s kitten season at the shelters, so he couldn’t offload them there either. Hope she finds a loving home, sans maggots!

  9. toekneetoni says:

    All the best with pretty Sugarbear. You are resourceful and will find a solution for her, i’m sure.
    The pics of the fly larvae on cat food=gagging. But this gives rise to a question. Years ago after a large family dinner a “covered” pyrex dish was accidentally left in the microwave for 1 week! After my grandparent’s anniversary dinner, we all departed to spend a week with them in their timeshare. It was May in Fla. When we returned to the warmish house, there was a faint odor of something bad, but we couldn’t figure it out. The next day as I’m driving back to the northeast with my aunt and said microwave in the back of the car,(my grandparents got a new microwave as a gift and gave away the old one)my aunt and I could not understand why my SUV was breeding baby flies at 90 mph on I-95 North. Lo & behold we discovered the forgotten 10-day old dish in the microwave full of maggots turning into flies and God knows what other hellish creatures!!! We were speechless, it was vile. Here is my question and I need the truth: how did maggots get into the covered dish? It’s hard for me to imagine that a fly landed on the food while being prepared or served. My grandparents had central air and they don’t tolerate insects in the house. I have often wondered and asked (the wrong individuals apparently) how this happened!!! Please, someone help me wrap my brain around this!!!
    p.s. ** dead ** @ this comment: “…Sugarbear does indeed have teeth. They’re just very small. Like bits of rice pressed into his gums.”

  10. Angela N says:

    Gross! Gross! Gross! Should have had a “Don’t read while you are eating!” warning!! YUCK!!!!!!

    I too am a sucker for strays. We have 3. lol Hope you find a home for that sweet kitty soon.

  11. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I have 6..cats that is not flies..If I had the extra money I would drive up and get her Karen..she sounds like a sweetie..and so are you for taking care of her..Also..I have learned more today about flies than I ever wanted to

  12. magali says:

    even though I purposely waited to read this post because I knew what was coming I still couldn’t finish my lunch because it’s happened to me before. For a little while my cat was sick and could only eat wet food. One time when he didn’t eat it right away I found fly eggs on it and it grossed me out so much. The image came rushing back and my plate of pasta went in the garbage! (Even though I have since eaten dried and seasoned darkling beetle larvae for my work at the Insectarium. And a scorpion.)

  13. LeeAnne says:

    We have 3 cats. Can I fwd this blog post onto friends though? Will warn about the cat food part. No sense grossing out people looking for nice cat pics seeing maggots.

  14. Katrina says:

    Gha! the idea of someone who has rice pressed into their gums, made my stomach churn enough and then fly eggs pushed me into a full on dry heave. Thanks for that, Karen.

    But I hope that the sweet kitty finds a home soon and never has to deal with fly eggs in her food ever again.

  15. Cheryl says:

    She looks just like the cat that found me when I was out for a jog . My cat is named Graysee and she is very sweet too.

  16. Nicki Woo says:

    Oh my. I’m going to be sick.

  17. Nancy says:

    I used to work in a major University in biology and would accept shipments of fruit fly larvae – when they came on Fridays I had to open the boxes so they could breathe over the weekend. They were all in nice blue gel stuff that they liked to eat. it didn’t smell or anything but every time I opened it I thought ewwwww maggots. The guys laughed at me…. they saw far worse stuff.

  18. Tara says:

    I thought you were going to say that you couldn’t take in another stray because last time you did, he got your linen pillowcase all sweaty.

  19. Ashley W says:

    That beautiful kitty could actually help with the fly problems people are talking about!

    My rescue cat Atlas is a superb fly catcher. No chance for egg laying at my place.

    Also Karen, try Toronto Cat Rescue for help with Sugarbear.


    • Karen says:

      Hi Ashely – Most of the cat shelters we’ve contacted are completely loaded up with cats. :( The one thing she has going for her is how adoptable she is because she’s so friendly. ~ karen!

  20. SuzyM says:

    Let me tell you about a picnic I once went to next to a dairy cow farm in the middle of the summer. I still retch just thinking about it.

    Very cute kitty. Hope you find a good home for him.

  21. Kristin says:

    Thank you so much for that info about the flies.

    I’ve always known it but my kids think I have a mental issue because of how I drop every thing I’m doing just to get rid of a single fly that has managed to invade our home.

    It drives me crazy when I see that a fly has made it in and believe me….it doesn’t last long.
    I seriously go into “Rambo” mode.
    I take it personally and there are usually NO survivors!

    I’m going to make sure my daughter sees this post because now she’ll see for herself what I’ve been trying to tell her about how flies can lay eggs on your food the minute you turn your back.

    Great post…..I don’t care how gross it looks…it certainly will open eyes…and possibly make some people gag a little if they’re eating breakfast while reading…lol!!!

  22. Crystal says:

    I knew from the title that I was going to regret reading that… Ugh, maggots, thanks.

  23. Ella says:

    At first I thought those white things in the cat food were Sugarbear’s teeth.

  24. Holly says:

    Omg! So gross but loved the blog. I always shooed them away since they land on dog poop and then landed on you food. Just as gross. Thanks Karen, I am almost glad summer is over, lol.

  25. Cindy says:

    That’s super horrible. (The flies, not the cat.) I’m glad you got her a flea treatment, especially since she likes to hang with you! I’m flea phobic.

    I hope you can find Sugarbear a good home!

  26. Janie says:

    I rescue cats. At one time I had 21 (17 of them feral). I’m down to 5 now but, I would still take her…..if you lived closer. 2 or 3 cats is not as bad you think.

  27. mayr says:

    AWWWWW. Youda best.

  28. Ev says:

    Well done Karen. Can’t blame you for not taking the poor, sweet, toothless, lovable, homeless kitty in…at least you are caring for her. I would consider getting her, but my two are outdoor cats because of our allergies. We still pet them and talk “to” Norman, and “with” Blue (vocal one) every day and love them. Our doggie is best friends with Norman, and we all hangout on the deck together as much as we can, even in winter. We also live in Ohio, a good mile or 300 from you! I hope someone nice gets her. You are a good person Karen.

  29. Maureen Locke says:

    Oh WOW, that is so disgusting. I’ve had maggots in my outdoor compost bucket but thankfully nowhere else. I’ve never seen a fly egg before so as gross as this post is, it’s really interesting and informative. I’ve got to share this on my wall so all my friends can see. It freaks me out how many people just shoo flies away from their food. If a fly lands on something of mine, I won’t eat it because I was always told that a fly poops as soon as he lands. Gross, not sure if that’s true or not but I’m not willing to take the chance. Thanks Karen for sharing this most delightful

  30. Ann says:

    I agree that this cat found you. If she is not fixed then I would suggest you get her fixed and then just feed her when she shows up. A fixed feral actually helps to stabilize and reduce feral populations. She could come and go as she pleases and you wouldn’t have to say she is yours.

    And that has to be the grossest set of pictures ever!! But my guineas would be in love with that dish of potential maggots!

  31. karol says:

    Note to self… Don’t eat breakfast while looking at Karen’s posts. Ew-uh.

  32. Jody says:

    Second half of the post–dis-gus-ting! Now about Sugarbear. He/she seems to already own you. Laying about on the porch furniture getting both hard AND soft food. Make it official!

  33. KimC says:

    The first part of your post is very sweet. Kudos to you and the neighbour for looking out for Sugarbear until she finds a new home. The second part of your post. Gross, just gross! Message received.Lol:-)

  34. Susan Dulley says:

    Karen, she is precious, I have always had an affinity for Tabby Cats. You said you gave her a flea treatment. While that may take some time to work, especially if she if infested. For years I have bathed my cat, with JOY Dishwashing Liquid. I know it sound strange, however, there is something in the liquid that repels and even kills the fleas. If you are brave enough, make a tub of warm water, outside, preferable away from the house, put 1/2 cup of Joy Dishwashing Liquid in the water and place her in the water. Try to hold her as still as possible while gently massaging the solution into her fur. Don’t forget the head, especially behind the ears and yes even the back quarters. You will be amazed at the number of fleas that float to the top of the water. A good 10 minutes should do the trick, Then apply the flea treatment. When she is dry, of course. I know it is a lot of work, but, she will thank you. It truly is the best thing I have ever found. I think perhaps the lemon juice or even the de-greasing agent in the product that make it work so well. Try this, she will love you. And then find a home for her. I know the feeling, they are irresistible and can grow on you before you know it. Good Luck!

  35. gabrielle says:

    As a person who has had multiple cats/rollers in my house, I have to say that cat behaviour is very complex, and you are right to be very careful in inviting another cat into your established cat’s home. Especially adding a female; this can possibly spark trouble (tho not always – cats tend to be matriarchal in organization). Cat behaviour ebbs and flows seasonally, so initial peace does not equal permanent peace.

    Consider doing 2 things: a. create an inviting, safe place for her to hang out to keep her off the streets and assured of food. An electric catbed warmer will be very favoured, but make sure there is room off the warmer if she prefers. b. many cats swallow their kibble whole, but if you can get her to quickly snaffle up something moist, you could add a single de-worming pill mixed in with the food. This will help her enormously and is not expensive at the vet’s. Low-sodium tuna is not the healthiest option, although may be quickly eaten (by cats and maggots, ugh!); also try microwave chicken in water as a coercive treat. Good luck!

  36. Laura Bee says:

    Tou’re a good soul. And wise. I’d have many, many cats if I could…but we just have two & that’s enough. And we have promised to take two budgies who will need a home sooner than a million years from now. Flies – urp. I’m going to have the heebie jeebies all day.

  37. Nadine says:

    There is a slight fly problem in my house because of the restaurant downstairs. This didn’t help to feel better about it… Oh well, at least it teaches me tydiness. Thanks! ;)

  38. Jo says:

    Greetings from the mad cat woman in Wales !
    Sugarbear will be absolutely fine with the pills. Even though she can’t chew them she will digest them just fine. She has probably lost her teeth because of gingivitus caused by the Calici virus. (One of the cat flue viruses that most stray cats has) Don’t worry about it, they usually have an outbreak when they catch it as kittens, then gets sick for a week or two, and then the virus will be dormant for the rest of their life, only causing an outbreak if the cat gets really stressed.

  39. Jcrn says:

    And flies also spit digestic juices on food before they eat it. A nurse passed on this info and then an exterminator verified it,.

    Bu even though that is very gross they don’t generally pass diseases that way. Most serious germs come from ther feet because ” Just before they landed on your plate they may have been feasting on manure or the innards of some road kill or other bacteria-laden goodies.

    Source: ” Ask the Externinator” and just about any professional enty…. Entymol…bug expert.

  40. Lauren from Winnipeg says:

    Thanks for looking out for the tabby. She could be my Snickers twin. Totally understand about preferring to find a good home for her. It can get a bit out of control (says the woman with 3 rescue cats and 2 rescue greyhounds).

    Did you know that cats don’t have a strong thirst drive, which is why they should be fed wet food? They don’t get enough water if only fed dry, which can lead to health problems later in life.

    Just a crazy fact for you. I had no idea. I thought one of our cats just loved water. She was diagnosed with diabetes. Who knew?

    Good luck finding the cutie a home. I hope it will be soon.

  41. dana says:

    There was a cat lady in my nhood growing up. Her front window was full of flies. The neighbors took pity on her & bought her cans of cat food. She rarely went out. After she died it became known that she had almost 100 cats & they were emaciated. She had been eating the cat food. So you are going to need a lot more cats. and a spoon. and a strong stomach.

    • jesse.anne.o says:

      100 cats are a LOT to feed. That would be like 250 14oz cans of cat food needed per week for 100 cats and almost 1k per month. No matter how many cans kindly neighbors gave her, I’m sure it was not enough to feed 100 cats. You’d need to be trucking in palettes of cans of cat food for 100 cats!

  42. Kat says:

    Holy Crap!!! That is all I have to say about that!

  43. Auntiepatch says:

    I have 4 cats (all rescues) and if a fly happens to get into our house…….well, let’s just say, it starts the Great Fly Hunt! You wouldn’t believe the flying an soaring around the house(and that’s the cats)! That fly doesn’t stand a chance in H*** of getting out alive.

  44. Stephanie Hobson says:

    OMG! That is all.

  45. Katie says:

    We have a big fly population in our yard and therefore our kitchen, and sometimes when I swat them the little babies literally crawl OUT of the squished body and wiggle around the floor. It’s gross. REALLY gross. And they make the dead fly twitch about when they start emerging from the carcass too. The flies in and around my house have already been giving me mental problems and now your lovely macro pictures are just making them worse.

  46. Jane says:

    Hey Karen…we’re kindred spirits…all stray cats find me….luckily I only have one who lives here now, but another comes to eat, then leaves…I cannot turn my back on them either…poor little Sugarbear….and I watch the real Sugarbear, too…he’s kind of sweet in a weird way!! Hope you find Sugarbear a new home soon….and those pictures did gross me out!! Eewww!

  47. [email protected] DesignLove says:

    Speaking of flies….I have been on the hunt for something dead in my house. I have never had flies before like this, but all of a sudden they are everywhere, and when I get them out, the next day they are all back! So what’s the dealio? Very strange….

    That pic re-enforces why I must find the source!!! Disgusting. And to top it off my electric fly-swatter doesn’t work.


    • Rhonda SmartyPants says:

      I’ve got it – what’s dead in your house, I mean – the battery to your electric fly swatter? (Sorry, could not resist.) I’ve never seen an electric fly swatter, didn’t even know there was such an invention. Pray tell, how does the thingamajig work; that is, when it’s working. Seriously, maybe the flies haven’t seen one of these things in action either and sent the word out and that’s why they’re congregating in your home. You’re busy shooing them out and they keep coming back for the floor show. Enough already, I’m done. Obviously, I’m tired, it’s been a long day and I need some rest. — Sorry about the stray cat, Karen; I just discovered/developed an allergy to cats and had to re-home my beloved. Otherwise, I’d be lining up whatever mountain of paperwork it would take to get that “Sugarbear” of yours from Canada to Southern Oregon.

    • Louise Barr says:

      Cindy, I’m not sure why you have flies, but if you had something dead in your house, you’d KNOW IT! The smell is unbelievable! I had something (I think it was a possum) die in my subflooring and neither I or my friends could figure out how to get it out. So I just had to live with the smell, under my KITCHEN! Eyu-AUGHHHH! I basically just lived in the back of the house, and ran through the front part while holding my breath, for nearly a MONTH!

    • Johan says:

      Cindy, they may be cluster flies; google them. It is that time of the year and I am somewhat used to the onslaught. Seems like the older the house the more places they can get in.

    • Deirdre says:

      It may not be dead,,,,
      I had a forgotten bag of potatoes that ended up fly infested and it took quite awhile to find the source. But eventually you Will find the source.

  48. Ellen Partridge says:

    One more cat won’t make you “that person”–you need at least seven or eight for that. If she’s truly one of the sweetest cats you’ve ever met, and she found you . . .

    • Karen says:

      Hah! No. I really can’t. I’ve also promised an elderly friend that if she were to ever die I would take her cat so she doesn’t have to worry about what will happen to it. Frankly I think she’ll live to be about one million, so it isn’t likely to happen but I like to be prepared. :) ~ karen!

  49. devra says:

    i hope he/she (you kept changing gender) finds a good home soon, without maggots. i already have two cats and no job, so can’t afford to adopt he/she.

    thanks for taking care of her/him.

    • Karen says:

      LOL. I’ll rewrite that bit. It confused Marti too. When I say “he” I’m referring to the actual character of Sugarbear on the show Honey Boo Boo. ~ karen!

  50. Marti says:

    Geez, I had Chinese food for dinner. What are you trying to do to me here? Some warning would be appreciated!



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