Are Snakes Afraid of Cats? (And will Cats hunt Snakes?)

Cats will actively hunt snakes, and snakes will actively avoid cats. The slithering motion of the snake awakens the cat’s predatory instincts.

So, yes, in general, snakes are afraid of cats and not the other way around.

Cats are predators, and they will attack other animals around the garden, including snakes. In fact, scientific research, such as in the Journal of Chemical Ecology, shows that cats react to snake scent gland secretions, and activate their predator instincts.

So while snakes might be fearsome to humans, cats don’t seem to have that fear instinct when they encounter a snake. Their predatory genes take over and they will often go after the snake.

Are Snakes Afraid of Cats

Do Pet Cats Hunt Snakes?

Yes, domestic cats hunt snakes. As the snake is aware that the cat poses a real threat, it is afraid of the cat’s presence.

A cat is a natural hunter and will go the extra mile to get its prey.

Even trained and indoor cats tend to capture mice and snakes in the home. It is no secret that cats are intelligent creatures with a natural tendency to seek prey like rodents or birds.

It seems as if hunting snakes is in the cat’s DNA from back when they were wild animals.

Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean all cats will attack snakes. You may even have a cat yourself that’s a bit of a wimp!

Cats have varied personalities, with some being more inquisitive or aggressive than others. The same is true for snakes as well. The more aggressive the snake, the more probable it will turn protective when it encounters your cat.

Related: Are Cats Immune to Snake Venom?

Why Do Cats Attack Snakes?

A cat may attack a snake out of instinct, fear, or anger, even if it has no desire to seek food. Often, hunting is a game for cats.

When a cat attacks a snake, the cat is likely to utilize its claws to get the job done. Using their claws, cats can keep predators at a safe distance. In other words, the snake will be aware that the cat has “sharp claws” that it can use to attack it. It will prevent him from approaching.

Because snakes in the garden, such as garter snakes, are usually much smaller than a domestic cat, there’s a good chance the snake will get frightened of the cat.

Snakes also fear cats because they have great ‘weapons’ in the form of their claws and jaws. It is common for a snake to pretend to bite a cat in self-defense. The goal is to frighten the predator.

Here is a video to show a domestic cat encountering a snake.

Are Cats at Risk when they Encounter a Snake?

When a cat attacks a venomous snake, it may defend itself by biting the cat and injecting poison into the system of the cat.

Most snakes in North America are not venomous enough to kill a cat. Nevertheless, some are. Rattlesnakes, for example, are quite venomous, and while they may not kill a human, they could kill a smaller animal like a cat.

Can a Cat Eat a Snake?

A cat could probably eat a snake without much trouble.

There will usually be no effect of poisons on the cat’s system if he eats snake meat.

But, there is always the risk of salmonella when eating raw meat, no matter what kind of animal it is.

If some bacteria can enter into the cat’s system, then it creates serious health problems. The cat should be taken to a veterinarian promptly if you suspect that it is ill or injured after eating a snake.

Related Article: Are Snakes Afraid Of Fire And Smoke?

Can Snakes Eat Cats?

Larger snakes like boa constrictors and pythons eat cats and make their prey for themselves!

However, most snakes in North America are far to small to eat snakes.

Overseas, snakes such as the boa constrictors and anacondas of South America, or the Burmese python of Southeast Asia, may pose a threat. These snakes are huge in size and length and could even swallow bigger animals like deer and lamb.


1.  Are cats sensitive to snake venom?

It is important to note that cats are not immune to snake poison. They do, however, have a better tolerance to snake bites than dogs.

It is no secret that cats are curious, and during the summer months, there are more snakes about than usual.

Therefore, it’s advisable to take your cat to the vet if it is behaving strangely. It may have been bitten by a snake.

2.  What should a cat owner do in case of a snake bite?

If a cat is bitten by a snake, it’s important to:

  • Do not get near the snake. Steer well clear and allow it space to escape
  • Be cautious when approaching the cat. If your cat is worried or agitated, you may need to restrain the feline friend if required.
  • Immediately take your pet to the veterinarian.
  • The vet will cut the hair from your cat’s bite area, if feasible.
  • The vet will wash the area carefully with a gentle soap and water solution or sterile saline solution

3.  What are the signs a cat was bitten by a snake?

Snake bite symptoms for cats are similar to those for humans. These might include:

  • Bite marks
  • Swelling and discomfort around the bite area
  • Bleeding on the bite area
  • Sluggish or labored breathing
  • Limping (The most common sites for cats to bite is on the leg)
  • Moaning with pain
  • Sedation/sluggish behavior.
  • Nausea.


Because of their strong competitiveness, cats and snakes don’t get along and can even kill one other. Snakes will strike to defend themselves. Cats are resilient, but they are more likely to survive if they’re treated right away.

If a cat eats a snake, it could result in serious complications. Bacteria could enter the cat’s digestive tract if the cat eats contaminated meat. Salmonella is always present in raw meat, so be on the lookout for those symptoms.

As a general rule, it is best to keep snakes and cats apart. If your cat enjoys spending time outdoors, be sure to check your yard for snakes and make any necessary changes to the landscape to ensure your cat’s safety. You could also bell your cat to give snakes a warning.

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