Can a Tarantula Kill a Cat?

can a tarantula kill a cat

Tarantulas make great exotic pets to some people, while others may live in areas that have tarantulas as outside dangers.

Whether you’re a tarantula pet owner, or just trying to keep your cat safe from outside tarantulas, you may have the question of can a tarantula kill a cat? The answer to this question is yes. A tarantula can kill a cat, but it is not very likely.

Vetstreet states that tarantulas are actually more at risk of dying from cats or dogs. Tarantulas can be mistaken as play toys and can easily be bitten or scratched that can cause lethal damage to a wild or pet tarantula.

Are Tarantulas Poisonous to Cats?

Tarantula venom is mainly designed to incapacitate large mice and birds and isn’t considered lethal to a dog or a cat.

According to the American Tarantula Society, there have been a few recorded occasions where a tarantula’s venom was “hotter” or stronger than the normal species and actually did kill a dog. The weight of the dog was about 3 kg which is equivalent to a small house cat.

This indeed does answer the question. Some tarantulas venom are poisonous to cats and can be lethal if the proper precautions are not taken.

Symptoms of Spider Poisoning in Cats

When a cat is suffering from spider poisoning, the symptoms will vary from mild to severe. These symptoms depend on the type of spider that has bitten your cat. Symptoms include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Arrhythmia Pain at the site of the bite
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Paralysis
  • Abdominal stiffness
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Rapid and shallow breathing
  • Muscle cramps
  • Lesion at the site of the bite
  • Red ring around the bite area
  • Fever
  • Vomiting 
  • Seizures
  • Joint pain

These symptoms are in no specific order and should not be taken lightly. If you suspect that your cat has been in contact with a tarantula and is experiencing any of the following symptoms in any amount or order, take them to your vet immediately for diagnosis.

Spider poisoning in cats can be fatal if left untreated. If you ever suspect that your cat may be in danger of spider poisoning, immediately have your cat checked out at your local vet for further exam and diagnosis.

How to Protect Your Cat From Tarantulas

Pet Tarantulas

If you have a pet tarantula in a home with a cat, be sure the tarantula is in a cage or habitat that is unable to be knocked over or opened. This habitat or cage should preferably be kept in a room that your cat cannot get into. This is especially important because it keeps your tarantula and cat safe in the incident of your tarantula getting out.

If your pet tarantula ever happens to escape his habitat, you may need to be worried about your tarantula more than your cat. Cats tend to hit and attack their prey with a hit and run type of tactic, unlike dogs.

Dogs lead with their noses and bite which leaves them more prone to them being exposed to the spiders hairs or fangs.

Cats, on the other hand, mostly hit with their paws and do not lead with their noses. A few good swipes to your pet tarantula and that could be it for him.

Wild Tarantulas

Keeping your cat safe from outside tarantulas is a little bit different since you aren’t keeping the tarantula at bay in a cage or habitat. If you have an outdoor cat, then you should take a little precaution at protecting your home from outdoor spiders and other insects using pesticides.

Indoor cats are still not completely safe from danger. There are many other species of spiders that are a lot smaller than tarantulas that can easily find their way into a home. These include spiders like the black widow and brown recluse which are two types of spiders that are poisonous.

Try to keep your cat away from areas where spiders are known to be present like basements, crawl spaces, and bushy areas.

A Tarantulas Main Defense Is Actually Shooting Hairs From Their Body

This is a fact that is not known by many people. Did you know that tarantulas can actually fire microscopic hairs at their prey or predators? According to Wikipedia, tarantulas are able to eject barbed hairs from their abdomen. These small hairs can embed themselves in other animal’s skin or eyes causing great discomfort.

This is one of the tarantulas primary defense mechanisms when it encounters a supposed danger in the outside world. Your cat is more at risk to having these small hairs lodged in the skin or eyes than an actual poisonous bite.

These hairs are very small which makes it hard to know if your cat may have been struck with them. Lodged hairs in the skin and eyes will cause extreme discomfort and irritation.

This information is great to know, especially if you own a pet tarantula as they can even fire these small hairs at you if you are not careful. There are many recorded instances where owners have no idea where their lingering eye soreness comes from, and after extensive check-ups, they are due to the small microscopic hairs lodged into their eyes from their pet tarantula.

Final Thoughts

A tarantula’s venom is proven to be lethal, but it is unlikely. This is solely due to the fact that your cat must be pretty small and also be in range for a poisonous bite.

Don’t forget to keep best practices for both owning a tarantula and not owning one. Keep a pet tarantula in an isolated room that your cat cannot get into. Make sure the tarantula is kept in a secure habitat or cage to help protect your tarantula and cat.

If you don’t own a tarantula, but live in an area where they are present, be sure to do your due diligence with spraying the perimeters of your home with insect or bug killer to ward of any potential stray tarantulas or other poisonous spiders.

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