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Should You Be Worried If Your Cat Eats A Venomous Spider?

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Cats may be domesticated, but they still have the instincts of a tiny tiger. You may, for example, notice your pet stalking your home in pursuit of spiders and other bugs. While this behavior is typically harmless, it can turn into a problem if your cat starts hunting venomous species. If you saw your cat catch a venomous spider and are now concerned about its health, follow through these four steps to monitor your pet and respond quickly to any worrisome symptoms that develop. 

Understanding Your Cat's Digestive System 

Generally speaking, cats are tough little predators with a digestive system to match. In most cases, your cat's digestive juices should be able to break down even venomous spiders without much trouble. The greater danger occurs when a cat is bitten by the spider, though it is still possible for your pet to experience poisoning from a particularly venomous species. You will need to watch for both sets of symptoms for up to a day after the incident to ensure that your cat is unharmed.  

Monitoring Your Cat's Behavior

A cat that is going through internal poisoning will typically become sluggish and weak, often losing its appetite and drooling or vomiting. If you see that your cat is swelling up, seizing, or having trouble moving or breathing, seek immediate emergency care from your closest animal hospital. Even a non-fatal dose of venom can do permanent damage to your cat's organs, which is why it always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pet. 

Watching for Bite Symptoms

Venomous spider bites occur commonly if your cat plays with its food, and they tend to show more localized symptoms that can be just as harmful, if not more so. Cats are particularly sensitive to the venom of black widow spiders and may succumb to a bite quickly. You may first notice swelling on your cat's face or paws. It is more likely that your cat will experience serious poisoning symptoms after a bite, so be particularly vigilant if you think your cat was bitten. Whenever you see these signs, rush your cat to the animal hospital to begin counteracting the venom and slowing down its progress through your cat's system. 

Treating Spider Venom Toxicity in Cats

Depending on the type of spider or the severity of the symptoms being shown, your cat may be in for a quick check-up or intensive treatment once you arrive at your veterinarian's office. Your cat may require IV fluids, wound cleaning, and monitoring, or it may need to be stabilized and placed on medication to keep its lungs and circulation system functioning. By watching your pet closely and taking action as soon as you notice that something is wrong, you will hopefully be able to save your pet from any lasting damage and counteract the venom of the spider. If you think that your pet is in need of help, don't hesitate to head to your nearest animal hospital immediately.