Can Cats Eat Spiders and Do They Like To? 

Written by Katie Downey
Published: November 27, 2023
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Cats may be domesticated for the most part, but that wasn’t always the case. Some cats are still feral and live off the land freely. Those cats eat insects and spiders as part of their diet. What about domesticated indoor cats? They have all they need as far as warmth and nourishment. Eating something as small as a spider might seem pointless when there’s a big bowl of food waiting. Cats will always be fierce hunters at heart. Let’s take a further look into whether or not cats should eat spiders.

Cats Are Hunters

can cats see in the dark

Felines are natural apex hunters, and everything smaller is their prey.

©Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova/Shutterstock.com

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Cats tend to hunt everything indoors and outdoors. This is an instinct that never becomes muted throughout their lives. It doesn’t matter if the cat has plenty of food and treats indoors. If something crosses their path, they will go after it. This could be a puff of hair, a tiny gnat, or a spider. Anything that moves is fair game.

If you’ve ever owned a cat, you would know it to be true. When a kitten can get around and play, they will enjoy chasing and play-hunting anything and everything. They may even “kill” their toys and bring them to you as gifts. The gifts mean you’re a poorly skilled hunter, and your cat is trying to teach you to do a better job. If you have a cat that journeys outdoors, you might receive dead mice, voles, rabbits, birds, or whatever else your cat could catch to leave you.

Spiders are small and not easy to see. If your cat catches a spider, they eat it instead of bringing it for you. They do this indoors and outdoors. If they see something run across the ground in front of them, chances are, they will chase it, bat at it, play with it, and eat it. It is the nature of the beast, and they cannot help it. So, to answer the second part of the question, yes, cats like to eat spiders.

Cats and Spiders

Cats drool when they are nauseous.

Drooling can be a sign of nausea or tasting something gross in cats.

©Schearbl/iStock via Getty Images

The real question is: should cats eat spiders? It will not harm them, though some may taste bad and cause your cat to drool and vomit. Anytime cats taste something yucky, they drool and will typically run and hide, trying to hide from the sour taste.

For the most part, spiders aren’t harmful for cats to eat. Every spider has venom and can bite. They are not, however, poisonous. Typical spiders found in homes are long-bodied cellar spidershouse spiders, and, occasionally, wolf spiders. None of these will cause harm to cats, whether they are bitten or eat the spider. Cats are hunters, and it is what they do.

It should also be fine if you know your cat has eaten a medically significant spider, like a black widow or brown recluse. The venom may upset their stomach and could cause lethargy and vomiting at most. Always consult your vet if you notice more severe symptoms or are worried. When a cat eats any spider, their stomach acid goes to work immediately, breaking it down. There isn’t much chance that an ingested spider will hurt your cat.

Dangers Spiders Pose With Cats

Black Widow spider outdoors on a web

Some spiders can cause life-threatening symptoms for cats.

©Sari ONeal/Shutterstock.com

While ingesting a spider might not hurt a cat, what could have happened before or during the act certainly can. Most of the time, cats play with whatever they’ve caught before deciding to eat it. They could have been bitten if your cat was playing with or batting at a brown recluse or black widow before eating it.

A black widow or brown recluse bite can be very serious for anyone, but it can be fatal if not immediately dealt with by a vet for an animal as small as a cat. A bite from either can result in serious medical consequences and death. Getting your cat to an emergency vet as soon as possible is essential. If they do not receive supportive care and the antivenom, they will die. A bite from a brown recluse spider can be especially deadly to felines.

Seeing a bite on a furry cat can be challenging, but pay attention to areas where they seem to be licking or scratching a lot. If you are highly concerned and do not know if they’ve been bitten, you can take your cat to an emergency vet for observation overnight. It is better to be safe and still have a cat than to be grieving.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Jay Ondreicka/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Katie Downey is a writer for A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on wildlife, arachnids and insects. Katie has been writing and researching animals for more than a decade. Katie worked in animal rescue and rehabilitation with handicapped cats and farm animals for many years. As a resident of North Carolina, Katie enjoys exploring nature with her son, educating others on the positive role that insects and spiders play in the ecosystem and raising jumping spiders.

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