Whether it’s ants, flies, beetles, or any critter that crawls, flies, or darts around your house, your feline friend will chase and scurry across the house in an act to hunt their small prey.
As a domestic cat owner, I have observed many cat behaviors when it comes to hunting—also, being terrified of spiders, I noticed my cat had hunted and swallowed a spider.
It made me think, can cats eat spiders? Are they harmful to them?
Wild and domestic cats are curious creatures, so they eat spiders to tune their hunting skills and work on their physical and mental reflexes.
But, will a cat’s curiosity get the best of them regarding spiders?
Based on my curiosity, I have prepared this article for all cat owners that think alike and wonder the same question—can cats eat spiders?
Can Cats Eat Spiders?
Spiders and insects eat what cats have difficulty digesting, such as plant matter and other insects.
In fact, spiders contain a nutritional value for cats. In short, it’s okay for your cat to eat spiders.
Not only do spiders provide nutrition to your cats’ diet, but they help them get better at their hunting instinct.
Hunting brings your cat confidence, improves their intelligence, provides exercise, and allows your cat to use its automatic senses without taking it out on your or other household members.
Which Spiders Are Dangerous to Cats?
Though it’s a good idea to let your cat eat spiders, and while you should not interrupt their hunting tactics, some spiders are toxically dangerous to your feline friend.
Some spiders like the black widow excrete toxic venom, seriously affecting your cat.
You must bring your cat to the vet immediately if you notice tremors, unexplained diarrhea, vomiting, or agitation.
The most toxic spiders include the following:
1. Brown Recluse
Brown Recluse spiders are one of the most toxic spiders residing in parts of South America alongside the Black Widow.
If you or your cat becomes poisoned by a brown recluse spider, you’ll notice intense pain, fever, joint pain, and other alarming symptoms.
The venom from a brown recluse kills red blood cells and body tissue making the body almost paralytical to respond to fight the venom.
It takes minutes for your cat to feel very ill and lethargic, and up to a year to recover after treatment.
The hobo spider is not venomous.
However, when bitten by the hobo spider, it looks similar to that of a brown recluse spider.
Hobo spiders are not dangerous and will not typically bite unless they feel threatened or their home has been disturbed.
Remember that your cat may not show hobo spider bite symptoms for a few days.
If you notice your cat itching more than usual, a slight fever, and an area with reddened or inflamed skin, it’s a good idea to get your pet cat checked by a vet.
3. False Widow
Another spider species that causes most irritation in cats if bitten is the false widow spider.
Like the black widow, the false widow is a venomous spider though the venom is not nearly as potent.
A false widow is just as harmful as other house spiders, but if your cat does get bitten by one, it may experience skin irritation and symptoms of poisoning.
See a veterinarian for safety measures if you notice any difference in your pet’s behavior.
4. Black Widow
Among the entire spider population inhabiting Northern, Southern, and Western regions of the world, the black widow spider has the most toxic spider venom, alongside the brown recluse spider.
The black widow is the most dangerous spider to domestic cats.
If your cat becomes bitten by the black widow spider, you must seek immediate attention to ensure your cat gets the attention it needs.
A bite on a human or dog may cause allergic reactions that could harm human and cat health.
Why Do Cats Eat Spiders?
Although evolution has domesticated cats, their natural prey instinct has never gone away.
Cats do not look at spiders as something to stray from but rather another fascinating creature they can tune their hunting skills with.
Wild cats and domestic cats have powerful auditory and olfactory senses that they can hear and smell prey from yards away.
If a cat attacks a spider, it’s stemmed from its territorial nature, thus bringing the need to claim its property.
Are Cats Immune to Spider Venom?
No, cats are not immune to spider venom.
However, the chances of a spider actually biting your cat are rare.
On the other hand, if a venomous spider such as the black widow happens to bite your pets, the chances of it puncturing past the hair and skin are not likely.
The worst-case scenario is if a dangerous spider bites the soft tissues and easy-to-pinch areas on your cat, such as the facial and mouth area.
What Happens if Your Cat Eats a Spider?
For the most part, nothing will happen to your cat if they eat a spider except for added nutritional value to their diets, such as taurine, manganese, magnesium, and iron.
All spider species contain a high amount of Omega-3 fatty acids due to the generous amount of insects and plant matter they consume.
Eating spiders will enhance brain and heart functioning for your furry feline.
Take note of the area you live in and which spider your pets consume.
Observe Your Feline Friend
Although it’s not likely your cat will suffer from a spider bite, they may be allergic to some spider species.
Signs of an unwell cat brought on by allergic reactions or a spider bite include:
- Skin lesions
- Swelling or bruising to the infected area
- Digestive issues
In severe and rare cases, your cat may develop organ failure, extreme pain, disorientation, drooling, and abnormal clotting.
Look for Gastrointestinal Distress
Most of the time, vomiting and diarrhea stems from your cat consuming grass or something that disagreed with their stomach, such as a change in their diet.
While an upset stomach is normal, gastrointestinal distress is not normal and includes signs such as:
- No interest in food or water
- Excessive vomiting
- Extreme diarrhea or constipation
It can be challenging to determine cat health because cats do not typically show distress signs when unwell.
If you’re concerned about a difference in behavior, call your vet and explain your concerns as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Cats Eating Spiders
Since cats are natural hunters, you can best prevent spiders from entering your home and create toys that allow them to hunt as a distraction from insects and spiders.
Preventative toys include:
- Laser pointers
- Putting food into unique balls
- Using a bowl that makes them dig for their toys
- Wind up mice
Natural preventative measures for spider control include calling pest control, maintaining a clean household, and using unique scents like peppermint oil outside.
Should You Stop Your Cat From Eating Spiders?
Let’s be honest—even if you stopped your cat once from eating a spider, they’d eat one without you even knowing.
In most circumstances, there is not much you can do if your cat wants to eat spiders.
Most spiders are okay to consume, though if you know your cat has consumed a spider, the best thing you can do is keep an eye on them.
If your cat shows any signs of illness or difference in behavior, you just need to rush them to the vet to help them recover.
So, can cats eat spiders?
Eating spiders is generally safe and even nutritionally beneficial to your feline companion.
Although most spiders are safe to consume, the two main spiders you must watch out for are the brown recluse and the black widow due to their potent venom that will cause digestive issues.
Suppose your cat comes across a poisonous or venomous spider.
In that case, the likelihood of them becoming sick from consumption is low, considering most spiders do not have large enough pincers to break through the hair and skin barrier of a cat.
If you have any questions or concerns not described in this article, feel free to comment.