Cats & Snakes: Are They Natural Enemies?

Cats & Snakes: Are They Natural Enemies?

Cats and snakes are not often associated with each other, yet with cats wandering around neighbourhoods and snakes moving into urban areas, there is a higher chance of conflict. So in this article, we will ask if cats keep snakes away, do cats kill snakes, and what are the symptoms of a snake bite in cats.


Do Cats Keep Snakes Away?

Australian snakes have not evolved with cats around. Cats have been missing from the continent since they separated many years ago. Therefore, there isn’t that much of an instinct to avoid cats predominantly.

But that doesn’t mean that snakes will not keep away. After generations of cats in Australia, many species have learned to stay away, but they don’t tend to not be visible when cats are. What often happens is that snakes are hiding, under buildings, in rock crevices, and in other locations where cats might not get in.

However, there are going to be times when a cat catches a snake moving around in the open unaware. And this is when there can be times when the two groups can come into conflict.

Cats, by nature, are very curious and will undoubtedly try to investigate the snake. And this is where problems can arise. People often ask are cats faster than snakes? And the truth is that they are. Most snakes travel at a speed of just 2-5 miles per hour, with the fastest snake reaching about 15 miles per hour.

However, cats can move at 30 miles per hour. They also have much more manoeuvrability than the snake. Therefore, if the cat wishes to attack the snake, then the snake has little chance of escaping. And this is when bites can happen.

Snakes, having lost all their limbs, have only one defence option, to bite the attacker.

If the snake is non-venomous, then this isn’t going to be much of a problem. Cats can feel a sharp pain, but likely the cat may still kill the snake. But a venomous snake bite on cat individuals can be much harder.

Venomous Snake Bite Symptoms in Cats

There are numerous symptoms of a snake bite in cats. For one, they might display some of these symptoms:

  • Swelling in the face/head.
  • Puncture wounds around the bite site. These can be very challenging to identify.
  • Weakness, which can include a wobbly gait.
  • Paralysis or shaking.
  • Your pet cat might seem depressed or disorientated.
  • Mydriasis (pupils are dilated or fixed)
  • Excessive salivation.
  • Cats may have vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • There might be blood in the urine.
  • Laboured breathing or they might cough.
  • The gums around the mouth might be pale or bluish.

Cats that are excessively affected might fall into a coma or die.

If there are any of these signs in the cat, then you should take them immediately to receive treatment. Cats have a significant chance of survival, especially compared to other pets like dogs. However, this is when treatment is sought by the owner.


Can a Cat Survive a Snake Bite Without Treatment?

Technically speaking, a cat can survive a snake bite without any treatment. However, there are a few things that need to go right for the cat. For instance, the bite must be a low venom yield or a dry bite.

However, it is always better to seek treatment. Even if the snake does survive, there will be long-lasting impacts from the snake bite that can affect the quality of life for the cat.


What are the Long-Term Effects of Snake Bites on Cats?

There are numerous long-term effects of snake bites in cats. For one, cats might be more cautious about going out, preferring to stay inside or near the home. Or they might sustain long-term injuries like the loss of a limb, loss of sight, or something else.

Cats might also suffer from depression.

Ways to Keep Snakes and Cats Apart

There are two things to consider if you want to keep cats safe from snakes. You need to give the snake plenty of warning that a cat is around, to prevent them from being surprised and you need to discourage snakes from your property.

Keeping snakes away from your property can be done as easily as using Envirobug’s snake-repellent technology. This mimics the vibrations of a predator that warns a snake to not go near the area. In addition, you might want to discourage rats and rodents from the area, which are a primary source of food for snakes, and are a massive attraction to them.

In addition, ensure there are no hiding spots for snakes. Snakes like dark areas to hide when resting, somewhere tight that just allows them in. Between rocks or under garden buildings are two favourite spots.

However, you should also try to protect your cat by ensuring that it can’t sneak up on wildlife. For example, adding a bell to a cat means that when it moves, it provides a warning sound that other animals hear and can run away from.

Not only does this protect the cat from getting bitten by the snake, as the snake will immediately seek shelter on hearing the noise, but it will also protect other wildlife like birds and possums. The protection of other wildlife is very important for the success of the local ecology.

Another factor that should be considered is adding plants that deter snakes such as lemongrass or marigolds.

Finally, it might be best to have cats as indoor pets or create a secure outside play area for them to be in. A secure area means that you can protect your cat from harm by other animals, cars, or other environmental factors. At the same time, you are protecting the local wildlife from the cat’s natural instincts.


Final Word: Cats and Snakes

Cats and snakes are not often considered to be great pairings. Cats are usually attracted to snakes and try to play or catch them. Snakes don’t like this and their only defence is to bite. A venomous bite can kill a cat and a bitten cat should always be taken for treatment. However, there are ways to reduce the possibility of this happening, such as discouraging the snakes and making it harder for the cat to sneak up on a snake. This can be done by deterring the snake from the area surrounding your house, in the first place. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a ‘fortress’ of repellers around your house. The vibrations the Envirobug repellers emit are frightening to snakes, as they remind them of their predators. 

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