Cats are curious and playful fellas. They love to play with all things that move. You would often observe them chasing bugs, insects, rodents, and their toys. Have you seen them chasing spiders—or trying to reach one on the wall?
Your cat playing around would make you happy. But what if her hunting instincts suddenly kick in and she accidentally eats a spider? Can cats eat spiders?
Can Cats Eat Spider?
Yes, cats can eat spiders—as long as it’s not a venomous species. Not only spiders but cats love to eat many other insects like flies, ants, mosquitoes, millipedes, and centipedes. Spiders don’t cause any harm to the cat’s overall health. On the contrary, it may be beneficial for her as cats are obligate carnivores who thrive on proteins—and spiders have got them.
Eating a spider can only harm a cat if a venomous spider bites your little pet, and the bite goes down to the skin.
Why Do Cats Eat Spiders?
When we see our cat eating a spider, we may wonder, why do cats eat spiders’
Cats have been domesticated for years, but their instinct to hunt has never changed. Cats love to chase prey and hunt it. For cats, spiders are just one of the many preys that they need to chase and hunt. Although domesticated cats don’t have to struggle for their food as their wild counterparts do, still chasing and hunting is in their instinct.
Cats also have strong senses. They can hear even a very low sound or can sense a movement in their surroundings. Cats may perceive a spider moving on the floor or on the wall as a threat that needs to be neutralized. And that’s how cats neutralize some threats—eating them.
Lastly, cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need meat not because they like it but because they need it for their survival. Meat is high in protein and taurine. This may be another reason why cats sense and the spiders.
How are Spiders Good for Cats to Eat?
We have seen that cats can eat spiders—and some may like eating them. But what are the good reasons for which cats can eat spiders?
We will discuss them briefly here.
Higher Nutritional Value
Cats are carnivores and require a diet that has high protein content. Spiders have high protein contents in their bodies. Not only proteins, but they contain almost forty different types of other nutrients, and some of them cannot be taken from any other sources. These nutrients are iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, etc., performing many functions like brain cell protection and the efficient production of hemoglobin.
A Rich Source of Taurine
Amino acids are considered the building block of proteins. The bodies of omnivores can synthesize taurine from other amino acids. Taurine is essential amino acid and cats need in relatively large amounts in their body.
But cats being obligate carnivores cannot make taurine in their body, and its deficiency can cause gastrointestinal issues, reproductive failure, and poor growth in the kitten. It is mostly found in animal tissues.
Spiders are a rich source of taurine. They help cats with better vision, heart muscle functions, improved digestion, fetal development, and normal pregnancy.
Source of Essential Fats
Cats need fats in their bodies, but not all fats are beneficial for them. Fats like Omega-3 and Omega-6 are healthy for cats. Spiders contain a handsome amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. The absence of Omega-3 in their diet can cause lack of sleep, depression, and inflammation in cats. Spiders in a cat’s diet can improve these problems and can also improve their brain and heart functioning.
Health Risks of Cats Eating Spider
Although it is thought that spiders are harmless to cats and don’t cause any health issues, in some cases, they can cause some issues, especially if a cat is eating it for the first time or when it is contaminated with toxic chemicals that are used for pest control. It can cause gastrointestinal issues. The symptoms of gastrointestinal issues are common as it occurs in normal stomach upsets.
These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, and abdominal pain. In some rare cases, cats may develop allergic reactions. If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, you should consult the vet, and they would suggest a suitable way forward.
What if a Spider Bites a Cat?
The skin of a cat is quite thick as compared to humans. The chances of cats being bitten by spiders are rare, but it cannot be ruled out. In case a poisonous or venomous spider bites your cat, she may develop some allergic reactions. In some very few cases, spider bites also can even cause death.
- Redness to the skin
- Bite wound
- Inflammation to the skin
- Pain to the touch
- Warmth or hot feeling to the touch
- Necrosis of the skin
- Scabbing of the skin
- Local itchiness of the skin
- Organ failure
- Abnormal clotting
If you find out any of these symptoms, you should take your cat to the vet for advice and further treatment.
Poisonous Species of Spiders
House spiders are generally harmless to cats, but there are some venomous species of spiders. Some of the spider species that can be harmful to our felines are:
- Brown Recluse Spiders
- Black Widow Spiders
- Hobo Spiders
These species may vary in colors and sizes.
If your cat eats a spider, the venom present in them is unlikely to cause any reaction, as the stomach would neutralize it. But if there is still a reaction, or if your cat is not acting fine, take her to the vet.
Can Kitten Eat Spiders
As we have seen that it is totally fine for cats to eat spiders. But is it okay for kittens to eat spiders?
No. Kittens should not eat spiders. Let alone spiders, kittens should not eat anything other than their mother’s milk—or Kitten Milk Replacer. Cats can safely consume spiders and certain human foods like cucumber, avocado, spinach, etc. But even they are not safe for kittens, as their stomach is sensitive and cannot digest spiders, it can cause gastrointestinal disorders in little fellas. Similarly, if a kitten is bitten by a spider, it can be more problematic than biting a cat.
Can cats eat spiders? Yes. It’s quite okay for cats to eat spiders. But we must keep an eye on our cats and what kind of species they are eating and also try to minimize their exposure to insects, as we don’t know exactly which species can be harmful or venomous. If we notice any unusual symptom, it’s time to visit a licensed vet.
Read: Cat Care and Feeding