Snakes should be kept away from all other animals, including felines. This means that pet snakes, in a multi-animal household, must be kept securely in their enclosure. Likewise, wild snakes may be confronted by predators, such as feral and domestic cats, in the garden or backyard.
Snakes are fearful of all animals that are larger than themselves, including felines. But a snake will still attack (bite) a cat if it feels threatened and is unable to get away. A bite from a venomous snake, such as a coral snake or cottonmouth, could kill your cat.
We will explain the dangers of allowing snakes and cats to interact with each other. Never use cats to keep snakes out of your garden. As natural enemies, these two species will fight. Just because snakes are scared of cats doesn’t mean that your cat’s life isn’t potentially in danger.
Are Snakes Scared of Cats?
Despite an appearance that puts people many on edge, snakes are very fearful creatures. They suspect that anything larger than them intends to hunt and eat them.
In the case of cats, this worry is justified. As cats have natural hunting instincts, they will often stalk a snake. Any home that has both animals must be carefully managed. Ensure that a pet snake does not escape their terrarium, and house them in a room that your cat is never allowed to enter.
Be aware that any snakes in your backyard will be afraid of a domestic cat. This could mean that snakes give your home a wide berth. Alternatively, it may mean that they sneak into your house to avoid a yard-dwelling cat. Alternatively, it could lead to hostility.
Will a Snake Attack a Cat?
A snake will not instinctively pick a fight with a cat. Reptile brains primarily concern themselves with staying safe and alive. This means that attacking a considerably larger animal is not a wise move.
A snake will, however, act defensively if they feel threatened. This means rearing up, hissing, and biting. If a cat corners a snake, a potentially life-threatening confrontation is inevitable.
Can Snakes Kill Cats?
This depends on the species and/or size of the snake, and the cat. A giant snake from the constrictor family, such as a Burmese python or Boa Constrictor, could kill a kitten or adult cat.
You even need to be careful if you keep a ball python in your home. This breed may be able to sneak up on a kitten and crush them to death.
Are Cats Scared of Snakes?
Some cats are more jittery than others, which would imply that they could be afraid of snakes. In most cases, a cat will look to hunt and attack a small snake.
If your cat is afraid of snakes, this may work in your favor. It will prevent your cat from picking a fight with a potentially venomous or aggressive wild snake.
Can Cats Kill Snakes?
A cat certainly can hurt, and maybe even kill a snake. It is not uncommon to see a cat hunting a reptile. If they get the snake where they want it, a cat will attack with their claws and teeth.
The result of this fight will usually favor cats. Even a domestic house cat can be a single-minded and determined hunter.
Couple this with superior agility and there will often be one winner in an inter-species confrontation. Also, a cat’s mouths contain a bacterium that kills most small animals within 48 hours.
Do Cats Hunt Snakes?
Cats will instinctively hunt anything that they consider to be prey. If a snake attempts to escape, it will make your cat more determined to hunt them.
This may or may not be a good thing. It may be initially fun for the cat, but it will terrify the snake. This will, in turn, lead to an aggressive response from the snake. If the snake is venomous, a defensive attack may be fatal for the cat.
Bear this in mind when deciding whether to encourage your cat to hunt snakes. Cats will do whatever they please, but you can judge how carefully to watch them.
If you’re worried about snakes, you can rely on wild predators to pick them off.
Can Cats Sense Snakes?
Cats do not have an innate ‘sixth sense’ that is dedicated to detecting snakes. However, as predators that consider snakes to be a natural enemy, their existing five are heightened.
If your cat appears to tense up just before a snake appears, there will be a rational explanation. The smell, sound, and movement of the snake will send your cat’s hunting instincts into overdrive. Just because you have not noticed it yourself yet, it doesn’t mean a snake is not there.
Can a Cat Keep Snakes Away?
Many people find that keeping a cat as a pet rids their garden of snakes. If you have snakes in your backyard, a cat may be a good way of deterring them. However, think carefully about this option.
Many snakes found in domestic gardens are harmless. They do some good for the ecosystem. These breeds eat common garden pests, ensuring a lawn or flowerbed stays in good shape.
Also, there is a chance that your cat will encounter a fearless snake. While most snakes are afraid of felines, there will always be exceptions to any rule.
Wild Snakes That Your Cat May Encounter
Some of the most common non-venomous snakes found in the USA are:
- Garter Snakes
- Ribbon Snakes
- Corn Snakes
- Hognose Snakes
Meanwhile, the toxic breeds of snake that may interact with your cat are:
- Copperhead Snake
- Coral Snakes
- Cottonmouth Snakes
You can usually identify a venomous snake by their appearance. Poisonous reptiles tend to have diamond-shaped eyes, and fangs. Nontoxic breeds, meanwhile, typically have rounder eyes and teeth rather than fangs.
Are Cats Immune to Snake Bites?
Cats have a high resistance to snake venom, but they are not entirely immune. Cats are most likely to be bitten on the muzzle or the paw and leg. This is because most snake bites are a result of a fight between the animals.
To tell if a venomous snake has bitten your cat, inspect the puncture wound. A non-toxic reptile, such as a garter snake, will leave small teeth marks.
A venomous breed of snake will leave two distinct fang marks behind. Also, the symptoms of a non-venomous snakebite will typically be less pronounced.
Symptoms of Snake Bites in Cats
If you suspect that a snake has bitten your cat, keep an eye out for the following symptoms:
- Agitation and uncharacteristic aggression
- Swelling and puncture wounds
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Tremors, muscle weakness, lack of coordination or temporary paralysis
- Trouble breathing
- Discoloration of the gums
- Drooping eyelids and dilated pupils
- Blood in the urine
Do not take any chances here. If you feel that your cat has been bitten, see a vet. The only first aid that you should attempt in the meantime is to apply gentle pressure to the wound.
- Do not wrap the wound too tightly.
- Do not attempt to suck out any poison yourself.
- Do not place ice on any swelling. This will have no impact on the venom and could harm your cat’s skin.
- Do not wash the venom out with water. This could cause the venom to spread faster.
This is particularly important if you notice any signs of a bite close to the heart. The poison will spread considerably faster if impacted here.
Can Cats and Snakes Live Together?
Cats and snakes are like the oil and water of the animal kingdom. They can live in the same home, but you will need to keep them separated.
To maintain a harmonious home where all pets are safe, remember the following steps.
- House a pet snake in a room that your cat does not, or cannot, enter.
- Ensure that your snake’s terrarium is secure, and the reptile cannot escape.
- Keep your snake’s terrarium elevated. Cats can climb, but they will react less if they cannot immediately detect a snake.
- If your snake does escape, lock your cat away until it’s been found and returned to their terrarium. Interestingly enough, snakes can climb walls.
- If you happen to notice your snake and cat interacting, keep an extremely watchful eye. Your pets may grow to tolerate each other. However, you will need to be prepared to separate them quickly.
Snakes are very nervous and fear that anything larger than themselves is a predator. Cats are apex predators and consider anything smaller to be prey. If they meet, a confrontation will follow.
Ensure that you understand what breeds of snake may be native to your territory. If your cat likes to wander, especially at night, they may encounter a snake.
This rule also applies if you have a pet snake in the home. Your snake and your cat will not get along, and cannot be expected to. To avoid any potential heartache, keep your animals separate.