4 Home Remedies for a Spider Bite on Your Cat

Last Updated on: November 18, 2020

Some cats do love to investigate anything and everything, which sometimes includes spiders!

Spider bites can be serious, so while there are home remedies that you can use to soothe any symptoms, we recommend taking your cat to the vet for a consultation. Spider bites can be deadly for cats, so it’s better to be over-cautious.

The good news is that most spider species in the U.S.A. can’t harm your cat, as their fangs are too short to do any damage. Your cat may get a bite, but it won’t cause any long-term harm.

However, there are three types of spiders in the U.S.A. that are venomous, and a bite from one of these can cause serious complications for your cat. These species are:

Cat ball divider 1

What Should You Do If You Think A Spider Has Bitten Your Cat?

If you think your cat has been bitten by a spider, look for any of the following symptoms:
  • Intense scratching at the site of a bite
  • Fever
  • Drooling
  • Excitability
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Labored breathing
  • Collapse
  • Tremors
  • Skin swelling
  • Diarrhea
  • Paralysis

Bear in mind that the symptoms of a spider bite often present a few hours after the bite itself.

Call your veterinarian right away, and tell them that you think your cat has been bitten by a spider. If you saw the bite happen and the spider is still visible, collect the spider in a jar or take a photo. If the spider can be positively identified, it will be quicker and easier for your vet to decide what course of action to take.

While waiting to take your cat to the vet, you can use the following home remedies.yarn ball divider

1. Restrict Your Cat’s Movement 

Bengal cat harness_Teksa_shutterstock
Credit: Teksa, Shutterstock

Allowing your cat to walk or run will increase their blood circulation, making the venom travel faster around their body. Place your cat in their carrier, or keep them in a small space where it’s harder for them to move around.


2. Keep The Bite Below Your Cat’s Heart Level 

Cat Vet
Image Credit By: Maria Sbytova, shutterstock

This can also help slow the spread of the venom.


3. Wash The Site Of The Spider Bite 

Can You Use Human Shampoo on Cats? What You Must Know! Cats are equipped with all the tools they need to bathe and clean themselves, but there may be times when your cat needs some assistance, possibly after they have walked through or played in something particularly dirty. Besides the fact that your cat will probably hate the experience of being bathed, it is important to remember that regular bathing can cause more harm than good, so it should be reserved solely for emergencies. With that said, there is a good chance that you won’t have cat shampoo laying around in the cupboard. So, can you use human shampoo on your cats? Is it safe? The quick answer is no, you shouldn’t use human shampoo on your cats. We’ll tell you more below. Should You Bathe Your Cat? Your cat has a rough tongue and powerful teeth. He has the tools he requires to effectively keep himself clean most of the time. This is especially true of short-haired cats. As such, it is rare that you will even consider bathing your cats. However, it is also true that cats are incredibly inquisitive. Some might say nosey. They want to investigate every portion of every room. They want to know what you keep grabbing out of the cupboard, and what it is that has such a strong smell in the back of the shed. They rub against things, roll in liquids and substances you don’t want them to, and have a seemingly endless list of ways in which they can cause mischief and end up caked in mud and other nasties. There may, then, be occasion when you feel it is necessary to bathe your cat. Occasional bathing is fine. The same natural oils that help protect your cat’s coat from everyday dirt and grime will recover after a bath. Frequent bathing, though, can strip these oils from the fur. This will leave your cat with dry fur. It can also lead to dry skin, rashes, and other problems that not only leave their fur lacking luster but may actually cause them harm. So, you can bathe your cat, but you should only do so when it is absolutely necessary. If you have ever had to bathe a cat, you likely won’t want to repeat the process too often. It tends to result in a lot of soapy water everywhere except on the cat, and a terrified and angry cat warning you off. It’s a lot of water, claws, and hissing, but not a lot of cleaning. You should make the process quick, be confident, and you should have everything ready before you even consider turning the tap on. Should You Use Human Shampoo? Even the most delicate human shampoo contains chemicals and other ingredients that are harmful to your cat. A lot of shampoos contain perfumes and even essential oils, both of which can prove toxic to your cat. The ingredients are effectively absorbed through the cat’s skin and broken down by the liver, but a cat’s liver is not the same as a human’s and it is not as effective at breaking down the chemicals that are found in human shampoo. Therefore, it is safest to use a shampoo specially designed for cats. Using Specialist Cat Shampoo It is worth having a bottle of cat shampoo in the cupboard, ready for any mud-based emergency. These shampoos are formulated especially for use on cats. They have the right pH balance, so are not usually as acidic as human shampoo, and they do not contain the same essential oils and perfumes as are used in our own shampoo. Cat shampoo won’t dry out your cat’s fur or skin as readily. It will contain some natural odor that will help get rid of the smell of dirt and muck, but it uses natural ingredients that are not damaging to your cat. Is Human Shampoo Safe For Cats? Some human shampoo may prove relatively safe for cats, but the majority of ingredients found in human shampoo can prove dangerous for your filthy feline. Stick to cat shampoo, only bathe when necessary, and be prepared before you grab the cat because the process is likely to get a bit scratchy.
Image Credit: Olleg, Shutterstock

Use cold water and soap or an antimicrobial spray if you have it. This can help reduce the risk of a secondary infection developing.


4. Apply A Cold Pack 

tired sick cat_natata_shutterstock
Credit: Natata, Shutterstock

Placing a cold pack on the bite, if your cat will allow it, can numb the pain and help reduce any swelling. The temperature reduction will also slow the circulation in that area, reducing the spread of the venom.


Treatment For Spider Bites 

The type of treatment that your vet will decide on will depend on the species of spider that has bitten your cat.

For any venomous spider, immediate veterinary care is critically important.

Bites from a black widow spider can cause your cat’s diaphragm to become paralyzed. This means your cat will no longer be able to breathe. Your vet may give an antivenin, intravenous fluids, or muscle relaxants.

Brown recluse and Hobo spider bites can cause the tissue surrounding the bite to die off. This can leave a red wound with a pale ring surrounding it, as well as itchiness and bruising. It can also cause nausea and a fever. Left without treatment, deep tissue injury is likely. Your vet may use an antivenin and prescribe steroids to reduce any damage to tissues or remove dead tissue. Antibiotics may be used to prevent additional infections. It can take up to a month for your cat to recover.

cat paw dividerHow to Reduce the Chance of Spider Bites

If you’re concerned about your cat getting bitten by a spider, then remember that most spiders can’t actually harm your cat. Make sure to vacuum corners of each room, both up high and down low, where spiders like to hang out. If you see cobwebs, try to remove them.

Make sure to keep your cat away from areas of the house where spiders may be more likely, such as the basement or attic. If you have a woodpile, keep this away from the house and don’t allow your cat to help when you collect wood, as spiders love woodpiles!

Some spiders like to hide in long grasses, so keep the lawn around your house as short as possible too.

If you spot multiple venomous spiders, there may be a nest nearby. We recommend calling in a pest control company that can remove the infestation for you.


Featured Image Credit: skeeze, Pixabay