Skip to Content

Are Snakes Scared Of Cats And Vice Versa?

Are Snakes Scared Of Cats And Vice Versa?

Oh, those snakes. Even when they’re far away from me, and present a zero threat, I’m still not comfortable when I see one of them.

I just find all of them terrifying, regardless of whether they are poisonous or not. Many people living in snake-prone areas share this struggle.

I have heard more than once that having a cat at home can be very helpful in this situation. The belief here is that snakes are afraid of felines, and cats are able to keep them away.

But, is this really true? Are snakes afraid of cats?

It’s kind of hard to imagine a horrifying snake to be afraid of our adorable furry friends. However, there may be some truth here.

Let’s delve into this issue and see whether having a cat in your home could be helpful to keep it snakes-free.

Are Snakes Afraid Of Cats?

cat and python

Yes, snakes are indeed afraid of cats. Cats are natural predators known for their swift movements and use of teeth and claws in hunting.

Also, felines are larger than most of the snakes. They learn how to hunt from their mothers and all of them have hunting instincts in their nature.

Furthermore, cats have an amazing body build that makes them move fast and are very agile. Their flexibility and agility make them a serious threat to snakes.

Cats are very skillful in lurking their prey and will wait peacefully until they ensure the best possible approach for attacking.

They react very quickly and have amazing reflexes. All these factors make snakes afraid of cats.

The video below shows just how fast cats react and why would a dangerous creature like a snake be afraid of them.

Can Cats Kill Snakes?

black cat and dead snake

Cats are both predators and prey, depending on the situation.

Most of them are highly skillful in hunting and are able to catch, kill, and eat different species. Even if your cat is always indoors, I believe it would still highly appreciate a good old opportunity to hunt.

Of course, you likely expect to see your cat killing and eating some smaller prey, like rodents or spiders. Is a snake just too much work for your kitty?

Not exactly. Cats can kill snakes, but, this isn’t the simplest question to give a good answer.

When a cat notices a snake, it’s likely to behave the same way it does with any other prey. This means it will hide, ambush it, and attack it when the right moment comes.

Therefore, your cat will use its teeth and claws in an attempt to kill the snake. The success of this may depend on the cat’s experience. 

A cat is likely to bite down on the snake’s neck and break it. Of course, cats aren’t able to kill absolutely any snake. This can also depend on a cat, its aggressiveness, as well as on the type of the snake.

When a cat encounters a snake for the first time, it could fail to kill it, and even get bitten by it. However, if a cat is already familiar with these reptiles, chances are good that it will succeed in avoiding its bite and kill it eventually.

Can Cats Effectively Deter Snakes From Your Home?

cat playing with snake

Just because cats are able to kill snakes, this doesn’t mean having one in your home guarantees it will keep snakes away.

Not every cat will find a snake as an alluring prey. Some will just not want to even bother to hunt and kill snakes.

Christopher Dickman and Thomas Newsome [1] point out how cats sometimes exhibit marked individual preferences for particular types of prey. They may selectively and efficiently hunt these preferred prey, even when they are scarce.

It’s possible that your cat finds other prey more enticing than snakes. Furthermore, it’s also likely that certain cats play around snakes and chase after them, but won’t kill them in the end.

Therefore, a cat can kill a snake, but this doesn’t mean it will want to do it. This means that having a cat in your home isn’t a guarantee to keep the snakes away for good.

Are Cats Afraid Of Snakes?

big cat and little snake

This question may sound more logical for many of you.

After all, snakes are animals with a reputation for being scary and dangerous. Many of them are poisonous and can put the lives of both humans and other animals in danger.

Snakes will usually try to avoid confrontations with cats, but, once they get close, they are likely to become defensive and try to bite them.

Is a cat afraid of snakes in this situation? Most likely, no. As the Happy Cat Site explains, a snake is unlikely to scare a cat, especially if the cat hasn’t had any previous negative experience with this species.

This is just another prey for them, potentially interesting for some, and not so appealing for other cats.

The snake will typically be the scared one in this confrontation. However, this doesn’t mean that snakes can’t harm cats.

No matter how agile, fast, and flexible felines are, some snakes are still poisonous and could even put their life in danger by biting them.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Snake Bite In A Cat?

cat attacking a snake

Not all snake bites are life-threatening for cats. This depends greatly on the type of snake.

However, there are some typical clinical signs that will help you recognize a snake bite in your pet. According to the Lort Smith Animal Hospital, these are the following:

• Swelling of the cat’s face and head

• Bruising and wounds

• Hiding behavior 

• Disorientation

• Paralysis

• Excess salivation

• Dilated pupils

• Bloody urine

• Labored breathing

Pale gums

• Tremors

What Is The Treatment For Snake Bite?

cat and vet

In some cases, a snake bite can cause coma and even death in cats.

This is why it’s essential to take your cat to a vet clinic as soon as you notice potential signs of a snake bite in it.

The veterinarian will need to administer antivenom to your cat’s body to save it. In severe cases, multiple doses of antivenom will be required.

Additionally, a cat is likely to require supplementary care, such as hospitalization, intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and oxygen.

How To Protect A Cat From Snakes?

cat watching trough window

Cats are born predators and always looking up for some prey.

If your cat has free outdoor access, it’s likely that it will bring the dead animals to your doorstep, snakes included.

Therefore, the only way to ensure that your cat won’t encounter snakes is by keeping it indoors exclusively.

Indoor life is also a better guarantee that you’ll keep your feline friend by your side for a longer time. An outdoor lifestyle exposes them to additional risks, including car accidents, conflicts with other animals, and the potential transmission of viral diseases.

It could seem like you’re depriving your cat of hunting adventures and many other fun activities by keeping it inside.

However, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are still ways to nurture your cat’s hunting instincts, such as by giving them hunting toys to play with.

Also, an animal company, cat trees, and scratching posts are a great way to keep your cat stimulated and entertained and prevent it from getting bored.

More importantly, you will protect it from potentially deadly snake bites.

If you would still like to let your cat feel the outside world at least sometimes, there are some steps you should take in case you live in an area where snakes are a common sight. These are the following:

• Mow the lawn in front of the house regularly to make sure that the snake is not hiding in the tall grass

• Install a snake fence around your yard

• Keep the rodents away, since they are likely to attract snakes

• Plant herbs that are snake-repellent in your garden, such as peppermint 

• Don’t ever leave your cat unsupervised outdoors


Are snakes scared of cats?

Yes, they are. Cats are extremely fast, agile, and flexible. These traits make them a dangerous opponent for snakes.

Many felines will chase and kill snakes. Of course, this can vary from cat to cat, since some will simply not find snakes as attractive prey.

This also indicates that having a cat at home doesn’t guarantee it will keep your yard snake-free.

Cats aren’t so likely to be afraid of snakes, since they are born predators. They have teeth and claws that make them eligible to confront almost any danger.

Still, it’s important to notice that cats aren’t resistant to snake venom. A bite from certain snakes could even put a cat’s life in danger.

It’s essential to take a cat to an emergency vet as soon as you notice potential symptoms of snake bite in it. To avoid this scenario, the best thing to do is to keep your cat inside.

Although snakes are apparently more afraid of cats than vice versa, you shouldn’t take your chances. A snake could bite your cat in defense, which can even lead to a fatal outcome.


[1] Christopher R. Dickman, Thomas M. Newsome, Individual hunting behaviour and prey specialization in the house cat Felis catus: Implications for conservation and management,Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 173, 2015, Pages 76-87, DOI, Retrieved November 9, 2023.