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!

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  • 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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Lydia

Raise your hand if you think Donna and Beth are the same angry, cat hating person.

Jodi

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… Read more »

Erin

It’s a good thing they are not fighting rattlesnakes. Maybe their instinct is telling them to leave them alone.

Beth McMaster

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

Beth McMaster

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.

Mike T

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… Read more »

Erin

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.

Kara

So your saying a cat is not from nature….that make it supernatural then lol

Angela L English

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… Read more »

Donna Nespoli

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.

Angela L English

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….

Erin

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.