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Do Cats Keep Snakes Away?

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

cat and snake

Even though they are often feared by humans, snakes are generally shy creatures who serve an important role in ecosystems worldwide. However, that doesn’t mean you always want them hanging around your yard. If you’re a cat owner, you might wonder if your cat can help keep the snakes away? Cats may help keep snakes away, yes, but the risk of bite and injury to your cat is high and there are plenty of safer options to deter snakes if necessary.

In this article, we’ll discuss how cats can play a role in snake control, as well as the risks of them doing so. We’ll cover how to keep your cat safe as well as some other options for keeping snakes out of your home and yard.

How Cats Can Help Keep Snakes Away

Outdoor cats may help keep snakes away in two specific ways. The first is by hunting and killing rodents and other prey that snakes use for food. Snakes won’t want to stay in an area with a limited food supply so a cat controlling the rodent population also works to keep snakes away.

The second way cats help keep snakes away is by killing the reptiles themselves. Snakes are likely to be more elusive than other prey, but cats are top predators for a reason. Your cat may even gift you the dead snake on your doorstep!

Unfortunately, hunting snakes can also put your cat at risk, especially if the snake is large or venomous.

a maine coon cat hunting a mouse outdoor
Image Credit: greg.visuals, Shutterstock

Risks Of Cats Hunting Snakes

Dogs are much more commonly victims of snake bites, but outdoor cats are also at risk, especially if they’re actively hunting snakes.

Bites from non-venomous snakes can be painful and become infected. If your cat is bitten by a venomous snake, the results could be fatal, depending on the type of snake and how quickly treatment is initiated.

Signs that your cat has been bitten by a snake include visible puncture wounds, swelling and bruising, pain, lethargy, and breathing changes.

Besides the specific risks posed by snakes, cats who live outdoors are overall at greater risk of injury and death compared to indoor cats. Rather than put your cat in danger outdoors to keep snakes away, try the suggestions we’ll cover in the next section.

Keeping Snakes Away Without the Help of Cats

There are several ways you can keep snakes out of your yard other than relying on your cat.

One of the simplest is to make your yard an unwelcome environment for snakes by eliminating anything they’d use to hide and shelter. Keep your grass mowed short and trees and bushes trimmed away from the ground. Avoid landscaping choices like large rocks and water features. Place firewood piles away from your house.

You can also keep snakes away by not attracting the birds and rodents that serve as their food source. Don’t feed birds near your home or at all. Store bird seed or pet food indoors or in a tightly-sealed container.

Look for any cracks in your home’s foundation, doors, or windows that snakes could use to sneak inside and seal them. Avoid using chemical repellents, such as mothballs, because they are toxic to other animals and the environment and ineffective against snakes.

black snake crawling on the ground
Image Credit: artellliii72, Pixabay

Keeping Your Cat Safe From Snakes

The best way to keep your cat safe from snakes (and many other dangers) is to keep them indoors. Yes, snakes are certainly capable of finding their way inside your house but it’s uncommon, and inside is always the safest place for your cat.

If you do have outdoor cats or feed strays in your area, keep them safe by following our tips to keep snakes out of your home and yard. Preventing snake encounters in the first place is the best way to keep your cat safe.

Conclusion

While some cats may be eager to assist you in keeping snakes away, not all of them will, nor are they likely to be the most effective form of snake control. In addition, the risk of snakebite is high for cats who hunt snakes.

If you need to keep snakes out of your home and property, consider other solutions besides relying on your cat. Also, consider whether it’s worthwhile to find a way to safely co-exist with any snakes in the area to avoid too much disruption to the local ecosystem.

You might also be interested in: Are Snake Plants Toxic to Cats? Keeping Your Cat Safe


Featured Image Credit: sipa, Pixabay

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