Your cat is an adventurous explorer of your backyard and has the free reign to run around to her heart’s desire. As you watch her bury herself in the grass, you notice that your cat is actually watching a snake! Immediately, you’re worried about her. Can cats kill snakes or can snakes kill cats? Is your cat in danger? Snakes are a common backyard creature that your cat might encounter and it’s important to understand how to deal with interactions between your cat and snakes.
Can cats kill snakes?
Yes, cats can kill snakes, as shown on the videos below. Cats have an advantage on a snake when it comes to speed (Cats can reach 30mph at top speed. Rattlesnakes, a common backyard snake, can reach speeds of up to 3mph while other snake species can reach speeds of up to 12mph). Snakes have fast reflexes and can attack back, but cats have better agility. Cats can also use their paws to defend against a snake attack. Even though cats have an advantage in a cat vs. snake showdown, it’s best to not put your cat in that position.
Watch this amazing video below of a cat fighting – and killing – a snake: (keep scrolling to learn how snakes can also hurt or kill cats)
You can also watch this video showing the cat pawing at – and eventually biting – the snake:
What kind of snakes will a cat kill?
A cat may attempt to kill a snake that it feels is not a massive threat. Smaller snakes and thinner snakes are more likely to garner the attention of a housecat. Snakes that are large in length and circumference will create more caution in a cat. Cats tend to enjoy hunting garter snakes, gopher snakes, and king snakes.
Do cats keep snakes away from their owner’s house?
We’re all familiar with the stories of cats keeping mice away from their owner’s house, but what about snakes? Cats can keep snakes away from their owner’s house because many snakes prefer to be in backyards without cats. They feel threatened when cats are around and often leave those backyards alone. However, we still recommend maintaining your yard by keeping the grass cut short and clutter to a minimum to keep snakes at bay.
Cats are also in danger around snakes
Your cat can find themselves in danger around snakes if they are the curious type. Most snakes will avoid animals and if they feel threatened, slither away. Cats tend to be curious and interested in backyard snakes. This curiosity can place them in danger if they start to play with the snake or attempt to attack it. Either option can trigger the snake into reacting aggressively, possibly biting and killing your cat.
Cats can also hurt, and kill, cats
Venomous snakes can bite and kill a cat. The outcome for the cat will depend on how venomous the snake is. Cats getting bitten by rattlesnakes – one of the most common snakes in the US – will experience swelling, intense pain, may become paralyzed, and can eventually die from the bite if not given very quick veterinary treatment.
Watch this video showing a cat fighting with a snake & getting bitten. The video also shows the almost-instant effects of the poison on the cat:
Cats can die from snake venom if the venom is poisonous or if they bite a snake that is poisonous. This condition is called venom-induced consumptive coagulopathy and a cat with his condition cannot clot blood. Cats tend to die within ~15 hours of a poisonous snake bite. If your cat was bitten by a snake, you need to take your cat to your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian can provide an antivenin treatment that will stop the venom from killing your cat. Without this treatment, most cats will die.
Venomous snakes will sink toxins into your cat’s skin when they bite. Poisonous snakes are poisonous throughout their body and when a cat bites them, the cat will inject poison. Snakes can also hit and strangle your cat with their bodies though bites are more common.
Most frequent signs of snake bites in cats include:
- Blood in the urine or feces
- Dilated pupils
Learn more with our page: Cat Bitten by Snake – Symptoms and Treatments.
What are the most common types of snakes that a cat might encounter in the wild?
Cats tend to encounter garter snakes in the wild. These are by far the most common snake in most areas of the world. These snakes are nonvenomous but can harm pets. The most common venomous snakes that cats encounter in the wild are rattlesnakes and copperhead snakes.
What are the most common types of snakes that a house cat might encounter in the backyard?
There are many different kinds of snakes that visit backyards across the world. The most common backyard snakes are garter snakes, gopher snakes, watersnakes, king snakes, hognose snakes, and rat snakes. Depending on where you live, you may also encounter copperheads, rattlesnakes, and common tree snakes.
Can cats and snakes get along fine?
Cats and snakes encounter one another in the wild all the time. Some times, both cats and snakes will avoid one another even when in the same vicinity. There are many reports of housecats ignoring pet snakes and both living peacefully for years. However, in most cases, snakes tend to attempt to slither away when they sense that they are in danger and cats tend to want to pounce anything they see slithering away. Cats will also tend to hold on to the snake and play with their prey first. This can lead to snakes whipping their bodies around and biting. Both animals often end up hurt. It is best to keep these animals separated.
Will a snake try to eat a cat? Will a cat try to eat a snake?
Most snakes will not try to eat a cat. They will attempt to slither away or attack if they feel threatened, however. A cat might try to eat a snake but most cats attack snakes without an intention to eat them. The two may try to bite one another and a cat may also attempt to use its claws to strike the snake.
Will a snake attack a cat? Will a cat attack a snake?
Yes, these two animals will attempt to attack one another in most cases if they feel threatened. If they do not feel threatened, they may choose to ignore each other or move away from each other. In most dynamics, the cat will move in closer and strike the snake starting a fight between the two. Even if the cat wins the fight, it may end up with bite marks and poisonous venom injected into its body as a result.
How can I protect my cat from snakes?
The best way to protect your cats from snakes is to take care of your lawn. If your cat is an outdoor cat or spends time outdoors, your yard is most likely where your cat will encounter a snake. Snakes like tall grass so keeping your grass short year round can make a big difference. We also recommend keeping your backyard clutter-free so that snakes are less likely to hide in piles of things around the yard. Snakes enjoy hiding in places such as underneath a pile of lawn chairs, boxes, or bikes. Simply keeping grass short and your outdoor space tidy can deter snakes from visiting.
What do I do if my cat has been bitten or injured by a snake?
If your cat has been bitten or injured by a snake, then you need to act quickly in case poisonous venom is involved. Be careful when approaching your cat so that it will not run away. Bring the cat indoors, gently trim around the bite site if possible (if the cat will not sit still, let the vet do this). Wash the area with soap and water or with a saline solution, then place your cat in its carrier and head to your veterinarian immediately. You should not attempt to treat a snake wound at home.
What do I do if my cat has bitten a snake and may have injested venom?
Gently collect your cat, wash any open wounds with soap and water or saline solution, and then bring your cat to the vet. If your veterinarian’s office is closed for the evening, head to an emergency vet. Time is of the essence if you think the venom was poisonous and you need to move quickly.
If my cat has an altercation with a snake, is it an emergency?
We recommend taking your cat to the vet immediately if your cat has an altercation with a snake. Most cats are bitten by snakes that are non-venomous but it can be difficult to know whether or not venom is involved. Even a non-venomous bite usually requires medication and wound treatment. Take your cat to your vet immediately and try to remember as many details as you can about the snake (take a photo if possible once your cat is safely out of the vicinity).
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