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Do Snakes Attack and Eat Cats?

Oliver Jones

It is quite plausible that a snake will attack a cat, depending on the location, the snake, and the size and nature of the cat. The reverse is also true and cats will attack snakes. Although cats are quite resilient to snake venom, a bite can still cause serious health problems and should be treated as quickly as possible.

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Cats and Snakes

cat snake fight,PPK studio, Shutterstock
Image Credit: PPK studio, Shutterstock

If you live in an area with snakes and you let your cat outside, there is a good chance that the two will meet at some point. The naturally inquisitive cat will want to investigate the snake, and this can lead to your cat being bitten. Your cat may attack the snake, although they are unlikely to try to eat them. Owning cats may even help keep snakes away from your home, although this is not guaranteed.

Snakes will act defensively and may attempt to attack your cat if they feel threatened. Snakes are opportunistic animals, which means that they will attack small animals if given the opportunity. Domestic cats can qualify, and a snake might kill and eat a cat if they see the opportunity.

Can a Snake Bite Kill a Cat?

Snake bites are actually a common occurrence for both cats and dogs and can lead to death. The primary cause of death after a snakebite is venom-induced consumptive coagulopathy. This means that the animal loses the ability to clot blood and bleeds to death. Cats are more likely to survive snake bites than dogs, but bites do still kill cats.

How Long Before a Cat Shows Signs of a Snake Bite?

The symptoms of a snake bite depend on the type of snake and the bite location on the cat. There will usually be two large puncture marks on the skin from where the fangs penetrated, but these can be difficult to spot unless you are looking specifically for them.

Swelling, bleeding, trembling, vomiting, and diarrhea are the most common symptoms of a snakebite.

Symptoms can occur within minutes of a cat being bitten, or they can take longer to materialize. Remember that the veterinary hospital will want an idea of the type of snake that bit your cat, but do not put yourself in danger trying to identify a venomous snake.

Can a Copperhead Kill a Cat?

copperhead,makasana photo, Shutterstock
Image Credit: makasana photo, Shutterstock

The venom of a copperhead bite is unlikely to kill a cat in most instances. However, the bite site can become infected, which can prove fatal, so you must monitor this. Your vet is also likely to administer painkillers because the bite can be painful. Old and frail cats are more likely to die than young and strong cats.


Can an Adder Bite Kill a Cat?

adder snake,Holm94, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Holm94, Shutterstock

Most cats will make a recovery from adder bites. If the venom remains around the site of the bite, it will cause swelling and redness but is unlikely to prove fatal. If it gets into the bloodstream, however, it can cause kidney and liver failure and lead to death.

Can You Give a Cat Benadryl for a Snake Bite?

Benadryl is an antihistamine and has proven effective in combating snake bites in cats. Give 1ml of Benadryl per 1 pound of body weight, so 8ml would be for an 8-pound cat. If your cat is struggling to breathe or has collapsed, you take them straight to a vet or an animal hospital for emergency treatment.

norweigian cat_Fritz_the_Cat_Pixabay
Image Credit: Fritz_the_Cat, Pixabay

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Cats and Snake Bites

Snake bites can be fatal for cats and dogs, although around half of bites are dry bites, which means that no venom was administered, and cats are surprisingly tough at fighting off any effects. That said, if your cat is showing symptoms of having been envenomed, you should take action and seek vet or animal hospital treatment as soon as possible.


Featured Image Credit: Edward J. Wozniak, Pixnio.com

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.