As Californians, most of our clientele at Sunrise Boulevard Animal Hospital know more than their fair share about snakes. From personal safety to basic first aid skills, snake safety is a part of living here.
On the veterinary side, snakes and dogs are often discussed. We may have discussed rattlesnake vaccination with you during your wellness visit and you may have seen tips on how to keep your pet safe outdoors on our blog.
As with many other topics, though, we often neglect to talk about cats and snake safety. It is important to consider cats and snakes, as these encounters can be dangerous as well.
Encounters Between Cats and Snakes
Obviously if your cat goes outdoors, they are at similar risk for a snake encounter as your dog might be. With their natural hunting prowess, though, cats are often more likely to find a slithering friend in places you are not expecting.
Cats are also much more likely than dogs to investigate and even pursue snakes after warnings. Cats have been known to play with dead snakes as well, which could still result in a deadly envenomation under the right circumstances.
This is one area where a cat’s strong prey drive is probably to their detriment. Many dogs can be taught and encouraged to avoid snakes. In cats, though, this is a tall order.
So how can we maintain a sense of safety between cats and snakes?
Many of the same principles apply to cats as dogs. Try to keep kitty safe by:
- Being more cautious with your cat between March and October, when snakes are most active
- Keep your yard and other areas your cat has access to clean of brush and other snake hiding spots
- Be sure that you are keeping food and other items that attract rodents cleaned up
- Taking your cat outdoors supervised on a leash when possible
- Avoid tall grass, rocks, and bushes when out with your cat
- Steer clear of snakes when you seen them
- Not allowing cats to play with dead snakes
If your cat is bitten or you suspect that they have been bitten, it is an emergency situation. Snake bites, in particular rattlesnake bites, can result in shock, bleeding, and other potentially deadly consequences. Any delay in seeking care can mean the difference between life and death in the case of a venomous bite.
Cat’s natural behavior can put them at higher risk for encountering snakes. Of course, keeping them indoors is the safest bet. A few actions on your part, though, can minimize exposure in outdoor cats as well. And of course, don’t forget, that quick action in recognizing a snake bite is key when it comes to cats and snakes.