Can a Tarantula Kill a Cat? (And Vice Versa)

Tarantulas can potentially harm a cat, but it’s unlikely that it would kill it. The tarantula would struggle to bite the cat and also, the venom is most likely not potent enough to kill a cat.

If you own a cat and you’re wondering whether a tarantula would be able to kill it, then you’d want to proceed with caution. Even though a tarantula would probably not kill a cat, it could cause a lot of damage to the cat with its venom as well as with its urticating hairs, which can cause a severe reaction in humans and animals.

Can a Tarantula Kill a Cat

Important: This is general hypothetical information only. If your cat has been bitten, you need to contact a vet as soon as possible.

Can a Tarantula Kill a Cat?

Even though encounters between tarantulas and cats are rare, there have been some reports of cats dying as a result of a tarantula bite. However, these are extremely rare.

The venom of the tarantula is designed to work against smaller animals of prey.

This venom will paralyze its target, as it can make the prey of a tarantula unable to move so that the tarantula can slowly start to digest it.

The tarantula venom has very low toxicity to humans, as well as to other pets that we have around us. Dogs and adult cats would probably not feel the effects of the poison as much as smaller, baby cats.

The venom of the tarantula is most effective against insects like grasshoppers and other smaller animals of prey.

If a tarantula would bite a cat, it would result in edema and other symptoms that you would normally experience if you were bitten by a more potent spider. Some of the most common symptoms of tarantula bites for cats include:

  • Muscle stiffness or spasms
  • Fast breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Restlessness
  • Stiffness or tenderness
  • Partial or full paralysis (rare)

If you were to spot any of these symptoms and you presume that they are because of a tarantula bite on your cat, you should contact your vet immediately. Even though most of these symptoms will go away after a while, it would be best to have them treated by a professional.

Related: List of the Most Venomous Tarantulas

Will a Cat Kill a Tarantula?

Yes, this is a real danger if you own a tarantula. Domestic cats and dogs are one of the leading causes of death for pet tarantulas because the tarantula would not be able to defend themselves.

Cats and dogs are playful animals, and some would likely think that a tarantula is a toy. Because of this, the cats will poke the tarantula with its paws, which can cause severe damage to the tarantula, which is very sensitive against such movements.

In addition, if a cat would come by a tarantula, it would potentially treat it as prey. This means that if you don’t protect your tarantula against a cat, you might see your tarantula harmed or even killed by your other pets. It is far more common for a cat to kill a tarantula than the other way around.

That’s why you must do everything you can to protect your tarantula. You’d want to keep a tarantula enclosed in a safe space while also keeping your cat away, which could save both of your pets, not just the tarantula.

Related: Could a Brown Recluse Kill a Dog?

Will a Tarantula Attack a Cat?

Tarantulas normally don’t attack animals that are larger than themselves. They will only attack a cat as an act of self-defense.

Tarantulas are not aggressive towards other animals. When they attack other animals, they will do it when they feel threatened only. Another type of attack will be against its prey, but that will only come against smaller animals that tarantulas consider to be their prey.

Most new world tarantulas use urticating hairs for self-defense. So if a cat would attack a tarantula, it’s likely that the spider would use these hairs to defend itself. These hairs act as an irritant, and if they were to land inside the cat’s eye, these hairs would potentially hurt the cat significantly.

You should know that tarantulas are naturally not aggressive animals. They prefer to keep for themselves and stay in peace, and only attack animals that they see as prey. However, when they have to defend themselves, they can become very vicious. The urticating hairs, in combination with the venom, can create a potent package.

These hairs will then cause edema, which has the potential to be fatal for the attacking animal. So you should keep your cat well away from the tarantula, which could help you save both your tarantula and your cat.

Related: How Fast can a Tarantula Run?

How to Keep a Tarantula AND a Cat

If you have a cat and you want to add a tarantula to your family of pets, then you should be very careful.

These are some important tips for keeping your tarantula with your cat.

  1. The most important thing is that you don’t allow these two animals to meet. You should keep your tarantula inside a tank ideally, especially if you have one or several cats.
  2. Another tip is to keep your cats in separate rooms. The food for cats should never be in the same room as the food of your tarantula.
  3. Make sure that your tarantula cannot escape from its confinement because that will happen quite often.
  4. Also make sure that wherever you decide to keep your tarantula, your cat should have no access to that room.

If you follow all these tips, you should be able to keep both of your animals healthy and happy. Your cat is a curious animal and if it happens to approach a tarantula, it could get itself into trouble. They don’t say for nothing that “curiosity killed the cat”.


A tarantula has the potential to kill a cat, but it doesn’t happen very often. It can kill it with its venom and with its urticating hairs.

If you own both a cat and a tarantula, you should do everything possible to avoid these two to meet. If that happens, it could end badly for either of the two animals, if not both.

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