Will a Cat Keep Snakes Away?

Since the beginning of “feline domestication”, cats have been rewarded for keeping pests out of homes, restaurants, and beyond. A question some people may wonder is if they can do this job outdoors as well. Most areas that are surrounded by lots of trees, creeks, and wildlife or desert areas like in Arizona have one thing in common: Snakes. Will a house cat keep snakes away from your home?

The Simple Answer Is Yes, but Not Always Yes

While most cats love to hunt and play, others are more passive and less likely to interact with mice, insects, birds, and yes, snakes. So how can a pet cat keep snakes away from your home?

  • Lower Mice/Large Insect Population

Both cats and snakes hunt mice and larger insects. Because of this, the cat will be competing with the snakes directly, hunting and scaring off their food sources, which in turn means fewer snakes.

  • Marking/Spraying

If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, they are still likely to spray even if fixed. The smell of the cat’s urine is not only displeasing to rodents and some bugs, but snakes don’t exactly care for it either. The strong ammonia in cat urine is enough to send most small animals packing!

  • Playing/Hunting

We all know how much cats love ribbons and string. Well, what does a snake remind you of? While most cats won’t eat a snake, they will hunt, chase, and play with them. This can either lead to killing them, damaging them, or at the very least – scaring them away.

Have you admired a cat’s quick reflexes lately?

The bottom line is that cats do wonders for pest control. Just be sure if you allow your cat to roam the outdoors they have a collar with contact information, they are protected from fleas and ticks, have shelter from the heat and cold, and always have fresh water available. I advise bringing them in at night as well just to keep them safe from larger wildlife like dogs, stray cats, raccoons, and the like. Be sure to be very cautious if you live in an area with large hawks. They have been known to grab small cats and kittens.

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17 thoughts on “Will a Cat Keep Snakes Away?”

  1. I live at almost 8000 feet in a mountain town.i am a care giver to 25 feral cats who are in a colony of a one block radius.i have been conducting trap neuter return since 2009.and have had great success.one thing is for sure,the rattlesnakes show up in my driveway,scaring myself and my son.even my indoor outdoor ex feral cat,Mrs.Brown who is an amazing Hunter,hasn’t stopped the rattlesnakes.she has brought me numorous bats,mice,etc.and loves to challenge the deer in my garden .but it may be that she isn’t around when they are present,I don’t know,but the other cats are often in the same area I have seen the snakes in.so I would say,no!they don’t help.

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  2. The snakes are extremely efficient rodent killers. Cats are not. Get rid of the cats and accept the snakes as nature’s rodent control.

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      • You are delusional. Nature put snakes, fox, hawks, owls, and other predators in the environment for pest control. Cats are NOT a creation of nature but of man. They kill whatever is easiest to catch and that is usually nestling and fledgling birds and slower moving creatures like lizards and snakes. It’s just plain irresponsible to let a domestic animal run amok.

      • Watch the video. It will explain everything in detail and even use Australia as a prime example of how important they are to our Eco-system. Further more, this article is meant to inform people that cats will keep snakes away from their homes and how they do so. I am not sure why you are so angry at cats.

      • Firstly Snakes are cold blooded, this means that their food consumption ratio is far lower than a warm blooded animal, this means that even if you had a snakes that weight the same as a cat it would eat far few rodents than a cat.
        Second cats love to chase and hunt fast moving prey, snakes on the other hand don’t have the speed to catch fast prey, so are far more likely to hunt and kill fledgling that can’t escape them. in fact many snakes will deliberately search out nests for exactly this reason.
        thirdly any diseased animal can spread diseases that is not unique to domestic animals, however domestic animals are more likely to receive treatment or be put down than a wild animal. which removes the disease from he food chain
        forth “cats are not natural” do you think a scientist popped into a lab and mixed some vials together and out jumped a cat? we may have used selective breeding to tailor some of the traits of a cat to better suit our desires but on the whole the domestic cat is the least domesticated animals humans have been involved with, this is proven by how easily they go feral and thrive, they are not a native animal to many places(ie North America) but natural and native are not the same thing
        it sounds like you just hate cats and are prejudiced against them and like any bigot are too absorb by your hatred to form a rational argument and there are many rational arguments against introducing non native species into a closed environment unfortunately in the case of Felis silvestris catus the horse has already bolted so shutting the door will not help

      • Man made creations?? Not accurate. And from my experience with many cats, they kill plenty of quicker animals. They like challenges and do not just seek slower moving prey.

    • Cats are considered an invasive species by most authorities but let’s think about this our domestic cat is much closer to its ancestral origin than dogs are domestic dogs are hardly recognizable to their ancestors while cats have not been “domesticated” or interacting with humans nearly as long and are virtually identical to their wild cousins ( in all except coat pattern) that live on every continent to this day. So know we didn’t “create” them. They are varacious hunters and NON venomous. I’m not hating on snakes but no one particularly wants them roaming city streets at least not the venomous ones. Yes cats are the apex predator in these environments and yes they kill snakes. and rodents. The plague that killed half of Europe was caused because cats were killed off because people believed they where witches familiars. Rats flourished and there fleas carried plague. So really it’s more of a symbiotic relationship we have with a adapted wild animal than an invasive domestic pet… dogs dont do well on their own they pretty much die cats on the other hand manage just fine they go back to their wild roots and become feral. Now there is no doubt that their mutually beneficial relationship with us has made them thrive and attain numbers to the point of tipping the ecology in their favor somewhat detrimentally to their prey species and other competitor predators owls hawks snakes but my sister found a rattle snake today in her yard right where there 4 year old daughter routinely plays. I told her to go get 4 feral cats from the pound spayed and neutered build them a cat house with straw rattle snakes and they prey they are hunting in her yard will be no more… So we all have opinions and literally every action humans take change ecology. There is no way to exist and not change things but trading a NON venomous superior predator for a venomous one to check rodent populations and stop disease spreading that’s a win we do need to do it reponsibly and spray and neuter and keep populations in check so we dont completely eliminate food sources and habitat for snakes hawkes owls ect… but choosing which predators we have close to our homes and children well we live on this earth too and while I respect all other creatures right to live WE also have that same right. Every other species kills or runs from species that are a threat to them. Why should we be different?

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  3. What a ridiculous article. Cats are a non-native, invasive species that kill billions of native animals each year. They also spread toxoplasmosis around. Read about it, it will make you sick. I’d rather have ten rattlesnakes in my yard than one cat spreading disease, urine and feces everywhere. Snakes keep the population of mice and rats under control and we need more of them.

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    • It’s important to note that rats spread disease faster than any other animal, and without cats keeping their population under control, humans would be suffering from a lot more diseases.

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    • Oh good God toxoplasmosis is only dangerous to pregnant women. And only if they come in contact direct contact with fecal matter…. which cats very neatly bury unlike ANY other animal. You think snake poop doesn’t have some kind of pathogen in it? Or how about the salmonella they carry on their skin? and potentially lethal neurotoxin is better than a mostly benign parasite??? That can actually kill ANYONE. Poop is basically poop and no matter what creature it belongs to it UNCLEAN and dangerous I dont recommend rubbing your face with anyones. Lord please bring common sense back….

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    • It’s highly unlikely you’ll hear of many people contacting toxoplasmosis. It affects only pregnant women who have never had cat exposure and it’s rare and treatable. You’re acting like cats are big disease carriers, when nothing is further from the truth.

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