Do cats eat spiders?

In Cambodia, tarantula spiders are considered as delicacies. Spiders are also eaten in other cultures. Therefore it would not be surprising if a cat owner would see the pet with the long legs of a spider dangling from its mouth. Cats eat insects. Scientists that have autopsied a cat found insects and spiders on the cat’s stomach. Spiders are one of the insects that cats eat.

From the time cats were domesticated. These animals have lived the good life. Cats become valued companions. Cat parents wanting to have the pet as long as possible have made sure that the pets remain healthy. Aside from regular vet care, pets are also provided with enough premium quality cat food. Companion cats never go hungry…companion cats don’t need to hunt. However, hunting is an innate habit. Cats are noted for being outstanding rodent and vermin hunters. The excellent ability to hunt rats and mice has actually paved the way for the domestication of cats. Outdoor cats, even well fed ones, would have plenty of opportunities to hunt. Aside from the rats and the mice which are the cats’ favorite preys, these animals would stalk birds and chase frogs and lizards. What about the indoor cats? Most households have fully controlled rodent population. Indoor cats would still hunt. These pets would hunt insects. Cat parents would notice that the pets would eat practically everything that moves.

Butterflies, roaches, crickets, beetles, scorpions … these are some of the insects that cats hunt. Cats would also hunt and eat spiders. Cats are very curious animals. A rustling sound will be investigated. Cats are also very playful. A piece of paper tied to a string and dangled above the cat’s face would keep this pet happy for hours. Imagine the curiosity a cat would have if it sees a spider industriously making its web. The cat would not stop jumping until it gets the spider. The spider will not be eaten immediately. The cat would paw the spider and when it runs, it will be chased. Cats appear to enjoy the chase more than making the kill. The spider will be eaten when it is no longer moving. Spiders are fun toys for cats. Spiders are also good sources of protein and fat. Cats would only benefit from animal based protein as these animals do not produce the salivary enzyme amylase necessary to process plant based protein. Cats therefore would benefit from eating spiders.

Eating spiders would cause the cat no harm unless the kind of spider it has found is poisonous and the cat gets bitten while pawing the spider. Spider fangs are not very long and cats have thick skins and thick fur thus spider bites are not very common in cats. However, there are reported cases where cats get bitten by dangerous spiders like the black widow, the brown hobo or the brown recluse. A cat bitten by a venomous spider will be injected with neurotoxic venom that will cause muscle cramping as the venom will cause the overproduction of neurotransmitters. The bite itself is not painful and the symptoms will only appear between 30 minutes to a few hours later. Some cats can expire a few hours after being bitten by a spider. Healthy cats may survive but it would take about a month to totally remove the spider venom from the cat’s system.

Cats can and do eat spiders but pet parents must be vigilant. Precautionary measures must be taken to prevent the pet from getting close to a venomous spider. This can be a challenging task given the curious and playful nature of cats. Owners therefore must be aware of the signs of spider bites. Prompt medical attention will give the pet a good chance to survive.