Lifestyle with Cat

Keeping Snakes And Cats Safely In The Same House

You may think you have to choose between being a cat owner and a snake keeper, but the truth is you can have the best of both worlds! 

ball python
Photo by Davyd Bortnik

While cats and snakes are never going to be best friends, there is no reason why you can’t own both species. How much your cat and snake interact depend on their personalities, but even if they end up as mortal enemies, there are still ways they can cohabitate while both parties stay safe. 

Before you bring a snake into your home, you will probably have a few questions and concerns. You may even be thinking, “could a snake eat my cat?”  Well, this article should answer some of these questions and ease your fears. 

Do Snakes and Cats get along?

Just because cats and snakes will likely never be friends doesn’t mean they can’t coexist in the same home. Cats and snakes are both predators which means there is always a chance they will be at odds. In the wild, cats will frequently hunt and kill smaller snakes. Interaction between your pet snake and cat will depend highly on their personalities. If your cat seems extremely interested in your snake or your snake is easily scared and displays defensive behaviors like striking, they will likely need to remain separated the entire time they are in your home.

If your cat or snake doesn’t acknowledge or care about the presence of the other, there is a better chance you can allow them to be in the same room together though they must always be supervised. Luckily, with the right precautions, there is no reason you can’t keep snakes and have cats! 

cat and brown snake
This is a dangerous situation for a harmless little brown snake

Why are Snakes afraid of Cats?

Your snake will likely see your cat as a threat. Cats move quickly and have sharp teeth and claws that can easily injure or even kill a snake. Cats frequently hunt a variety of animals like snakes, lizards, and small mammals. In fact, if you have an outdoor cat, you may have already noticed them bringing you gifts in the form of small, wild snakes they have hunted. The serpentine motion that snakes use to move can trigger a cat’s instincts as a predator. Once apprehended, the faster a snake wiggles to escape, the more interesting it is to your cat.

Because of the natural predatory relationship, snakes are naturally very afraid of cats and will avoid them at all costs. This can translate into your home with a pet snake. Your cat may be very interested in your pet snake, but your snake is likely afraid of your cat. 

Will a Snake Eat a Cat?

While many pet owners fear that their snake will escape their enclosure and eat their cat, this is a reality that simply doesn’t happen. Your cat is actually much more likely to harm or kill your snake than the other way around. If your snake does escape its enclosure, the only harm it will cause to your pet will likely be in defense.

Smaller snakes like garter snakes don’t have very powerful jaws and usually, a bite will only scare your cat. Larger snakes like Bullsnakes can do a little more damage but it is still highly unlikely that your cat will be injured from a bite. Another way to look at the situation is that most pet snake species are way too small to eat a cat and eat a different prey.

Only large snakes like adult reticulated pythons are big enough to physically consume a cat. In those cases, your snakes should have an appropriately secured enclosure and should never be left in the same room as your cat. Other than large snakes, venomous snakes are really the only snakes that pose a threat to your cat. However, keeping venomous snakes is a whole different ball game and very 4741strict safety precautions are needed to keep both you and your other pets safe. 

How do I keep a Cat and Snake in the Same Home Safely? 

If snakes and cats are kept in the same home, they should always be kept separately. This will keep both animals safe. Always make sure your snake’s enclosure is completely secure and try to place it in areas where your cat can’t easily reach. Cats are naturally curious and can even knock smaller, unsecured enclosures to the floor.

Making sure that your cat can’t easily reach your snake will also make your snake’s life a lot less stressful—as life with a large predator looming above can be rather scary. If you take your snake out of its enclosure, it should never be left alone in the same room as your cat.

These interactions will also highly depend on the personality of your cat. If your cat doesn’t care about the presence of your snake, you may be able to have them out in the same room together but they should never physically interact. If your cat displays a lot of interest in your snake, keeping them in separate rooms will likely be necessary. 


cat and bearded dragon
Cats and bearded dragons can be friends but don’t expect this from cats and snakes.

While some reptiles like Bearded Dragons are known to form friendships with cats, snakes will likely never reach this level. Snakes and cats are naturally at odds with each other and most snakes are actually afraid of cats. While an escaped snake may have you fearing for your cat’s life, it’s much more likely that your cat will harm and kill your snake. Only extremely large or venomous snakes really pose any threat to your cat.

Luckily, it is possible to keep these two species in the same house safely. Making sure your snake’s enclosure is secure, escape-proof, and out of reach of your cat will help keep both parties safe. Keeping a close eye on your pets and even keeping them in completely separate rooms can ensure successful cohabitation.

With the right precautions, you can be both a cat person and a snake enthusiast! 

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