Australia is home to many different types of snakes, some extremely venomous. How many you will see in your garden during your lifetime depends on many factors including how and where you live.
It’s not just humans that are at risk of snake bites; your cat could be too. His natural feline instinct is to hunt prey, and if a snake slithers past him in the garden it has prey written all over it. So how can you prevent your cat getting a snake bite, and what should you do if the worst happens?
Snake Bite Symptoms in Cats
If your cat gets bitten by a snake, it’s often life-threatening, so it’s essential that you learn to look out for the signs and symptoms of snake bites in cats, particularly if he’s an outdoor cat and you have snakes in your area.
Snake bites on cats are usually around the head and face (if he tried to bite the snake or pick it up with his mouth) or around his legs (if he walked past the snake). Symptoms can vary depending on the type of snake, and the actual bite wound will probably be hidden by his fur, so watch out for these other signs of snake bites:
- Collapse, weakness or shaking
- Dilated pupils
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Involuntary urination and defecation
- Paralysis – this will sometimes start in the area of the bite, and spread through your cat’s body
What to do if You Think Your Cat has a Snake Bite
- Take your cat to the vet immediately.
- If you saw the snake, try to identify what type or take note of any distinct colouring or markings, as this information could be helpful to your vet. Don’t go near the snake or try to catch it yourself as you could put yourself in danger.
- On the way to the vet, try to keep your cat as still as possible to avoid the venom travelling throughout his body.
- If you know where the actual bite is on his body, (you might have seen the snake bite your cat, or be able to see the bite wound), apply a tightly wrapped bandage to the area. This will also help to prevent the venom spreading.
How to Prevent Snake Bites in Cats
You’ve probably heard the saying that ‘the best medicine is prevention’, and as snake bites are a very serious risk to your cat, it’s crucial to do whatever you can to avoid the possibility of him being bitten.
If your cat spends a lot of time outdoors, make sure your garden is tidy and free from rubbish. Be careful of leaving items or clutter lying around that snakes could hide under, and keep your grass mown especially during the hot summer months.
Personally, I recommend leash training your cat, and only letting him out to explore the garden when he’s on the leash and under your watchful eye.
It can also prove invaluable to educate yourself on the types of snakes that are common in your area, so you can be on the lookout for them and avoid them where possible.
Do you have snakes in your garden? Has your cat ever been bitten by a snake?