Cats have a natural instinct for predation. Plus, they like to run after anything that moves, especially if it moves fast!
It is therefore quite natural for them to hunt down the different types of insects that roam our homes. Among them is a spider, commonly called “daddy long legs”.
In addition to being funny toys, these little animals can also be prey for our friends with mustaches, who, let’s not forget, are carnivores!
But what can be the consequences if your cat eats a daddy long legs? Are these toxic for our little felines?
Keep reading this article and you will know everything!
So: Can Cats Eat Daddy Long Legs?
Let’s be clear: Yes, cats can eat a daddy long leg without it being toxic to them.
The arachnids that we call “Daddy long legs” are of 2 kinds: the Opiliones, which do not produce venom, and the Pholcidae, which produce a venom which is harmless to animals and humans.
Daddy Long Legs: What Are We Talking About?
As we said before, the expression “daddy long legs” refers to 2 different insects.
Also called harvestmen or harvesters, they have a small, ovoid-shaped body, as well as four pairs of long, slender legs, extended to either side of the body and squeezed together when at rest.
Their abdomen is segmented and fused to the thorax. Body length ranges from 1mm to 22mm. Their maximum wingspan is 185 mm. Their body is brownish to greyish. Opilions do not weave webs.
They do not have venom-producing glands. They are therefore absolutely harmless.
There is an urban legend about them: they are said to have extremely poisonous venom, but their fangs are too short to bite a human. This legend is completely false.
They are also called daddy long legs spider, cellar spider, carpenter spider, vibrating spider, gyrating spider or skull spider.
Their body is cylindrical in the male but more globular in the female, but it is especially the very long thin legs that we notice. An important criterion for determining spider families is the arrangement of the eyes: here there are 8 in 3 groups.
The coloring is variable, but there are often 3 spots on each side of the abdomen.
They build webs to capture their prey.
They produce venom, but it is harmless to humans and animals like cats. It seems that their venom can only cause damage to their prey.
Are Daddy Long Legs Poisonous to Cats?
Have you ever caught your cat playing chase one of these insects, or even seen him staring at you with just his paws sticking out of his mouth?
If so, you probably already have the answer to the question: No, daddy long legs are not toxic to cats. Either they do not produce venom, or it is harmless to “big animals” and is only dangerous for the prey of these arachnids.
Opiliones only produce chemicals to discourage their predators from eating them. Maybe your cat thinks they have bad taste? Or, try eating one yourself! In that case, don’t hesitate to tell me how they like using the comments 🙂
Are Daddy Long Legs Good for Cats?
Daddy long legs contain protein, so we can say that it is quite good for cats, but the amounts are negligible, so it cannot replace the food you give him…
Can the Bite of a Spider Be Dangerous for a Cat?
If your cat were to be bitten by a truly poisonous spider, rest assured: a cat’s skin is too thick for the fangs of most spiders to penetrate. It is therefore very rare for a cat to be bitten by a spider.
If ever a spider managed to bite your cat, small pimples would appear with some signs of itching. This situation usually goes away within a few hours. at worst, talk to your vet, who will prescribe the appropriate medication.
What Would Happen If my Cat Ate a Poisonous Spider?
Again, no need to worry: the proteins contained in the venom are digested, making them harmless.
Spiders That Are Dangerous for Cats
Most spiders, especially small house spiders, are generally harmless to cats. However, any poisonous spider that can harm humans can harm your cat as well.
Because your cat is much smaller than you, the venom from a spider bite can cause them more harm than it could to you.
The Black Widow
The black widow, very present in the United States, is very dangerous for cats as for humans. The female is recognizable by her shiny black body and the red hourglass markings on her abdomen.
Its venom is fatal if the bite is left untreated. Its symptoms are stiffness, vomiting, loss of coordination, difficulty in breathing, as well as excessive salivation.
The Brown Recluse
The brown recluse (or fiddleback) is very common in the United States in the Midwest. This spider prefers to hide in areas where there is wood, which makes its encounter with a cat quite unlikely.
However, a bite can cause white lesions in cats with dark scabs. Cats can also have fever, nausea, and rash. If left untreated, the bite can cause serious skin damage.
The Hobo Spider
The Hobo spider bite is a bit like the Brown Recluse bite, but can have more serious consequences. The site of the bite is marked with a red and white itchy lesion.
If left untreated, the infection spreads and kills cell tissue over larger and larger areas.
In the United States, they are found in the Pacific Northwest, although they are more present in Europe. We recognize them by their funnel-shaped web.
Can Cats Eat Daddy Long Legs: The Conclusion
If you suspect that your cat has been bitten by a poisonous spider, contact the vet immediately. If your cat ingests a spider, the venom is unlikely to be a problem, as stomach acids tend to neutralize the venom.
However, you should still observe your cat closely for a day or two in case any signs of illness appear.
Daddy Long Legs Photo by Daina Krumins from Pixabay