Can a cat kill a snake?

It’s sometimes hard to imagine our fluffy little companions who can be incredibly needy and helpless to actually be competent killers in the wild capable of both hunting their prey and defending themselves.

In the wild, your little ball of fur is actually both prey and predator.  They’ve got a lot of fight in them.  Through generations and generations of having to hunt or defend themselves from snakes, cats have developed their natural instinct to attack anything snake-like.  Will they always win though?  Today let’s take a look at the strange and dangerous relationships between cats and snakes.

So can your cat end the life of a snake? Yes, actually! But certainly not all snakes. Keep reading and find out more.

Wild instincts

Cats and snakes are natural enemies in the wild.  You can see their natural instincts working with how cats attack anything that moves in a snake-like manner — from their stringy cat toys to your shoelaces.

Cats love to catch, kill ,and eat snakes — as long as they are small enough.  When faced with a garter snake, corn snake, or even a rat snake your usually meek and gentle kitty will show no fear.  Their instincts will kick in and suddenly they know exactly what to do to catch and kill the slithering reptile.

Bear in mind that this is only true for smaller snakes.  Bigger snakes can totally turn the table on the cats.  Constrictor snakes like boas, pythons and anaconda can swallow up your cut in one gulp.  Unfortunately, when faced with a big snake predator, your cat may not be able to gage just how much trouble they’re in and think they can take the snake down. 

What happens when a poisonous snake attacks a cat?

Cats who are given outdoor access run a risk of crossing paths with snakes.  Knowing just how enthusiastic your cat can be when they see something wiggling, it’s not impossible for them to get into a fight with a snake — sometimes, this snake just happens to be the venomous kind.

Venomous or not, if your cat is bitten by a snake, first aid must be administered to make sure that your cat survives this ordeal.  Carefully approach your bitten cat.  They may be anxious and jumpy.  Restrain them if necessary.  Clean your cat’s wounds with 3% hydrogen peroxide and then swiftly take them to the vet.

Can snakes and cats be friends?

It’s unusual, but yes, it is possible for a cat and a snake to be friends and even live in the same household without problem but it is definitely not recommended.  Yes, there has been well documented anecdotes about snake and cat friendships — however it is not really recommended for these two animals to live together.

This is because cats and snakes are natural competitors.  You know very well how quickly your cat can destroy their toys — don’t think it above them not to attempt to do the same on your snake.  For the safety of both your cat and your snake, please keep them separated.  Don’t let any accident happen before you take action.

Common questions about cats and snakes

How can I protect my cat from snakes?

Most cat-snake encounters happen outdoors.  To lessen your cat’s risk of meeting a snake on one of their adventures outside, don’t let them out.

If you live somewhere known to have a lot of snakes but you just can’t keep your cat indoors all day, consider building your cat their very own snake-proofed outdoor enclosure.  Keep your grass mowed down and remove all potential hiding spaces snakes could use.  Be sure to not leave any food outside that may attract snakes.

Why do cats and snakes have similar eyes?

Other than their instinct to hunt and kill, cats and some species of snakes have at least one more thing in common: their slit pupils.

These slit pupils actually give cats and snakes a huge visual advantage.  Slit pupils can close much tighter than round pupils — allowing both cats and snakes the ability to handle a broader range of lighting conditions.  This ability helps cats and snakes ambush their prey much more effectively especially.

Are snakes afraid of cats?

Admittedly, there is no solid evidence of whether snakes are afraid of cats or not.  Something we know for sure is that cats and snakes are natural competitors.  There are some snakes that eat cats, and there are cats that eat snakes.

So, having a colony of cats in a community could potentially drive snakes away — however, keep in mind that in any scenario where cats and snakes interact, there is a big chance that cats get bitten.


Depending on the size of the snake, cats can definitely inflict damage on them — probably enough to actually kill said snake.

Still, it is not recommended to pit cats against snakes as both of these animals can kill each other.  Bigger snakes can even go so far as eating your whole cat.

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