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Do Cats Eat Spiders – Are They Toxic?

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Just as sometimes keeping your cat inside the house can seem impossible, keeping spiders out of your home is equally unlikely. In truth, there’s not much cat owners can do to keep their felines from chasing after spiders. But, do cats eat spiders?

Cats do eat spiders, along with several other types of insects. Generally, eating spiders (even venomous ones) will not cause felines immediate health problems apart from irritation in the mouth or throat. However, if a poisonous spider bites your cat, it’s best to rush your pet to a veterinarian for treatment. 

Cat lovers are never happy to learn about the potential dangers spiders can pose for their furry family members. Luckily, this article contains helpful pointers and vital information to help feline owners safeguard their fur babies. 

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Why Do Cats Eat Spiders

To understand the fascination cats have for critters and bugs, we have to take a brief walk down memory lane. Before humans did themselves a favor and decided to domesticate cats, felines had carved out a comfortable niche among the animal kingdom’s predators. 

That may be a little difficult to believe as you observe your little fluff ball chasing feather teasers, but it’s true. Even though indoor cats don’t need to hunt to survive, evolution hasn’t been able to do away with their predatory instincts. So, any time your feline sees something wiggling away on the floor or flapping through the air on wings – its hunting impulse goes into overdrive. 

Cats eat spiders as part of the hunting process. It’s not like your fur baby eats spiders because it feels spiders are incredibly delicious or nutritious. Instead, your cat eats what it has ‘hunted’ as a part of the age-old custom of the animal kingdom. 

Is Eating Spiders Toxic To Cats

Did you know the digestive systems of carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores have distinct differences? For example, cats as carnivores have highly acidic stomachs so that any meat or bones they consume can be digested and broken down quickly. 

But, how is any of that related to cats eating spiders? Well, the thing is, cats can kill and eat spiders without suffering ill effects because once the spidey makes it to your kitty’s acidic tummy, its venom is neutralized in the acid. Every other part of the poor spider is digested as usual. 

The result is that the world’s short of one less spider while your fur baby goes on to tackle and terrorize more bugs. 

Even though cats are pretty invincible against spiders, it’s best not to let your kitty cat go after too many of the eight-legged creatures (specifically the venomous ones). While there aren’t many reports of cats suffering from toxicity from eating spiders, a bite from a venomous spider may prove troublesome or deadly – depending on the spider type. 

Can Spiders Bite Cats

Here’s the thing, even though all spiders are not venomous, the majority of them are pretty capable of biting. That’s how spiders catch their prey, after all. So, what does all that mean for cute ole’ Fluffy?

Reports of felines suffering spider bites are rare but not impossible. Some cats were reported to have experienced pain and swelling (at the bite site), vomiting, and fever after being bitten by a spider. Therefore, spiders biting cats and cats suffering the ill effects of their venom are a possibility. 

However, there are external factors to consider. For instance, cat breeds with thicker coats are likely safer from spider bites because of their fur. Conversely, felines with little to no fur are at an increased risk of spider bites. 

What Kind Of Spider Bites Are Dangerous For Felines

Just like most things in life, there’s a lot of variety among the arachnid family in terms of size and, of course, venom. Some spiders are pretty harmless in that their bites can hurt and itch, but that’s it. 

Then, some spiders are renowned for their deadly poison and should be avoided by humans and cats – at all costs! Here’s what a few of them are. 

Southern Black Widow

The Southern Black Widow’s venom is 15 times deadlier than a rattlesnake out of all the black widow species. The slightest amount can bring about side effects like nausea, fever, headaches, hypertension, stomach aches, etc. 

However, a Southern Black Widow’s bite for children, the elderly, the ill, and cats can require hospitalization. Thankfully, there is an antivenom available, but fatalities have been reported. If you suspect a Southern Black Widow has bitten your feline, rush it to the vet asap. 

Brown Recluse Spider

The Brown Recluse Spider has the hallmark violin shape and can range from 1/4 to 3/8 inches in size. These arachnids can live indoors and outdoors and are hardy enough to survive extreme temperatures. 

A bite from the Brown Recluse can lead to subcutaneous tissue damage and necrosis. They are very dangerous to humans and cats. 

These spiders have a range of over 2000 km and can be found in states like Kansas, Alabama, Ohio, Iowa, among others. 

Hobo Spider

The venom of a Hobo Spider is somewhat similar to that of the Brown Recluse. A bite by this species initially leaves a red spot, which develops in a blister and leaking ulceration. 

Besides that, a Hobo spider’s bite can also cause memory loss, blurry vision, weakness, fatigue, nausea, etc. This species prefers to inhabit dry climates and can be found in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, etc. 

How To Keep Your Cat Away From Spiders

Cats with outdoor access are more difficult to monitor and control for safety from spiders (and spider bites). However, you can take some active indoor measures to keep your loved ones, including little Fluffster, safe from arachnids. 

Spiders, much like all things in nature, are good for the environment – so what you’re looking for is a compromise that helps keep both you and the spider safe. 

One of the best ways to keep the spider populations inside your home down to a minimum is to vacuum and remove webs regularly. Don’t forget to clean nooks and crannies because spiders like living in sheltered spots. 

Give your porch, garden, and other outdoor areas a good once over and remove unwanted and old compost piles, bags, firewood, etc. That’s because spiders tend to take over such abandoned items. 

Other Considerations

While you’re working on keeping the spider numbers down, you can also try and tempt your kitty away from chasing insects by giving it a better alternative. 

Cats chase after insects because of instincts and because doing so releases endorphins in their bodies. You can try and keep your cat happy and occupied by creating fun games out of mealtime to keep its interest engaged. 

You can also distract your cat from going after spiders by giving it mentally stimulating toys to play with. Robotic mice are a big hit with felines and can keep them busy for hours.